The nine best resources for learning creative writing techniques to generate ideas. Using a new way of thinking about your topic is an essential skill for all aspiring writers of both fiction and non-fiction.
You can use the ‘three hat method’ to develop plenty of ideas, no matter what piece you are working on. Remember, the aim is not to develop the concept but to generate a picture. So don’t worry if it doesn’t work out; try another approach.
Writer’s block happens to all writers at some time. It’s frustrating and debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. We all know writer’s block is emotional, not a rational problem. It is not a ‘rational problem’ but a non-rational one.
Many writers find that the most challenging part of writing is not knowing where to start. You may have spent time researching your subject, noting down ideas for your story or article as you go, but still find it hard to get going.
Wise ideas from your research material or taking notes is the first stage. The second stage is turning these ideas into narratives. The third stage is bringing the story to life. There’s no reason why you can’t also use the three hats to generate ideas for other uses, such as problem-solving.
Next time you have to start writing a piece that you have much difficulty working out, use the three hat method.’ You’ll likely find you can better identify where you should go with your writing and what approach to take. Do you have a problem with procrastination?
The ‘three hat method’ requires you to:
1. Write down your three topics.
2. Put on the Red Hat. This is your ‘No No’ hat. When you are in the red hat, you are not allowed to think about your chosen topic. You can only think about why you should not write about the subject. Do this for a minimum of ten minutes.
Suppose you have read my article on ways to develop ideas. In that case, you will know that getting various opinions on any topic is essential.
Creative Writing Techniques
You will also know that there are four primary sources of ideas. When you generate ideas for a piece, it’s essential to use various sources.
The method I’m going to show you is compelling and can cause many good ideas for your writing. If you can generate good ideas, you will be able to develop your piece better.
3. Put on the Green Hat. This is your ‘Yes Yes’ hat. You can think about your chosen topic when you are in the green hat. You can only think about why you should write about your case. Do this for a minimum of ten minutes.
4. Put on the Blue Hat. This is your ‘No No’ hat.3. Put on your Blue Hat. When you wear your Blue Hat, you are only allowed to think about what you want to write about.
You will probably find that you come up with many ideas and get good material to work from.
5. Put on the Green Hat. This is your ‘Yes’ hat. You are allowed to write about the subject.
6. Write about the subject. The best way to find good ideas is to brainstorm (use my brainstorming method).
You can use many sources to help you with your brainstorming:
1. Books, magazines, and newspapers.
5. Movies, TV & radio.
9. Interviews. This hat is your perfect cure for procrastination.
Put on the Green Hat. This is your ‘OK’ hat. This is the hat where you think about the topic you were given or are working on and think about the subject’s whys, hows, and where’s. You can think about all the pros and cons, the various aspects of the topic, and all the related factors.
Put on the Blue Hat. This is your ‘yes and no’ hat. You will write down the ‘and’ but’ ideas in this hat.
Let’s take an example. Your topic is the future of American democracy. This is a complex topic to write about. However, when you put on your blue hat, here are some of the things that you would write: YES:
America has free elections.
America has a free press.
America has free speech.
BUT: Creative Writing Techniques
America has a vast wealth gap.
America has increased incidences of racial tensions.
America’s prison population has increased dramatically. You will be ‘putting on the hats’ as you read and research, so you can begin to make connections in your head.
You will learn more about the topic as you ‘put on the hats,’ and your brain will make connections between the information you understand. There is a great deal of critical thinking in this process.
Now have a look at the summary at the end of this page. Notice that there is a ton of information in just a few sentences. It will take some time to process your thoughts on this. You have to make sure you can get your ideas down in writing.
So, you start by thinking about what American democracy is and what this means. You have to consider the idea of democracy in general and the type of democracy practiced in the US.
Maybe you think about how the US is different from other countries. You write down your thoughts in your blue hat. While in your Green Hat, you could discuss its history, the founding fathers, the influences of culture and religion on the country’s founding, and the influences of the citizens on the country’s current status.
You could think about the past, present, and future of the American democratic system. However, the ‘and’ ideas don’t tell a story, and the ‘but’ ideas divert from the focus of the topic. You put on your Blue Hat and start listing all the critical issues related to this topic.
Democracy is good.
People should be allowed to vote.
It’s fair for everyone.
The candidate with the most votes wins.
People should have a choice on who runs the government.
Interest groups can have their say.
We can have peaceful protests.
Freedom of speech.
Freedom of the press.
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