I am going through years’ worth of Romance Writers Reports. Some of you know, I am completing my second year of getting rid of one thing a day, every day, for 365 days. Last year, I got rid of over 1,000 things. This year, it has only been about 500, but hey, that’s 1,500 fewer things in the house. It’s very liberating. I’m starting on the years’ worth of Romance Writers Reports that have come in the mail and I’ve just stuck on a shelf in the office, and a pile on the desk, and a pile on the floor . . . you get the idea. I found an interesting article on learning styles and productivity. As my husband is a life-long educator and currently a professor in the College of Education at a state university, I hear a lot about learning styles. This LaQuette feature was in the November 2019 volume but can also be found here. It focused on brainstorming hacks according to your learning style. I’ll condense the article here.
The basis of the article is that knowing your individual learning style(s) could be the means to making brainstorming easier. She follows the educational theory that there are seven different learning styles and gives examples of how those types of learning styles can be used to enhance creativity.
Visual learners use imagery and spatial stimuli to process information. Visual learners might find inspiration for writing from pictures or spatial landscapes that create imagery, like a scenic mountain view. Brainstorming for a visual learner might include drawing images to conceptualize your story idea. Recommendations:
• SimpleMind (free and pro version for iOS, pro version for Android), a mind-mapping app that lets you organize your thoughts in connected clusters.
• Graph or drawing paper where you can draw clustered ideas and tether them with connecting details
Linguistic learners learn by employing speech and writing to process information. These are people who need to both hear the lecture and take detailed notes to commit the details to memory. If you’re a linguistic learner, to brainstorm your story ideas, you might need to first talk through them (either by yourself or with a friend), then write them down somewhere. Recommendations:
• A voice recorder or voice recording app can be a great tool for linguistic learners.
• Phoning your agent, editor, or a friend to develop ideas and take notes.
Kinesthetic learners learn through stimulation of the senses. Kinesthetic learners literally process information by either doing something with their hands or engaging with new material on a sensory level. Recommendations:
• Create a questionnaire about your story idea and answer each question to help develop the thought into something useable.
• Storyboarding. Get a poster board or dry erase whiteboard and pin or post notes in clusters, so you can see your story unfold before your eyes while you’re physically creating it.
• The Pomodoro Technique, where you set a timer and work in twenty-five- minute intervals.
Logical learners are people who learn through observation, experimentation, reasoning, and calculation. They basically watch, gather information, hypothesize, calculate, and then practice. Brainstorming for this type of learner almost always begins with research. An idea pops in their head, and before they can flesh it out properly, they must investigate the topic and create a plan for its execution. Recommendations:
• Mapping/clustering or creating graphs and listing.
• Create an “if/then/ therefore” list. If A happens, then B must happen next; therefore, the resolution will be C.
Musical learners process information through hearing it. These learners benefit from being read to or reading aloud. They also do well with using sound to help them focus. Recommendations:
• Playing music or some sort of white noise, either aloud or in headphones, can help focus on the task at hand.
• The Natural Reader app (or any text-to-speech app) reads text to speech, which reads your written thoughts back.
Interpersonal learners are social learners. This is someone who likes to learn in groups. Recommendations:
• Google Docs is a great app for group brainstorming.
• Skype and Google Hangouts can work, too.
Intrapersonal learners prefer solitary learning conditions. They process information better alone, without the distraction of other people around. They’re often very self-motivated and goal oriented and able to create an action plan all on their own. Recommendations:
• A note-taking app on your phone or tablet.
• A word-processing app with the capability of creating bulleted lists.
• Evernote is a well-known journaling app designed for organizing notes.
Multi-modal learners are people who employ more than one type of learning style at once. Recommendations:
• Pull from some or all of these learning styles until you find the perfect, unique mixture that suits you and your learning needs.
In the end, LaQuette says however you process information or break down your thoughts is right for you. There is no wrong way to do this but knowing which method or mixed method works best for you might help you harness your creativity so you’re not at the disposal of your muse.
Do you know what works best for you?