One of my favorite steps of the writing process is brainstorming. Sometimes I will have an idea strike out of the blue (which is why carrying a notepad or even just having a place to take notes on your smartphone is so helpful), and brainstorming is how I develop it. It’s fun to jot down ideas as they come to you – how you might develop a particular plotline or what details might be crucial to your story.
I find that brainstorming is most effective when you just let it happen. One of the easiest ways to staunch creativity is try to self-edit as you write. Let your thoughts flow. Once they are down on the page, you can examine them to see how they might fit together in a broader context.
And all of the pieces don’t have to be there as you start writing. You will discover quirks about your characters or unexpected shifts in events. Let that happen as you write. Writing is not always a linear process. You may find yourself revisiting stages you thought you had left behind. But brainstorming creates a store of ideas that you can pull from – a way to create a plan for your writing and where it might go once you start drafting.