Free resources are fantastic for boosting your creative juices while making friends with your wallet. Here is a list of five epic resources I’ve tested out to help you brainstorm.
This tool kept me sane during the initial stages of Ridgeline brainstorming.
Trello is a collaboration program that lets you create boards and fill them with cards. While brainstorming Ridgeline’s plot, I could create a board for each scene, add a few cards, and rearrange them with a simple drag. Trello lets you upload documents, pictures, add comments, and more. It was a massive help for organizing my scattered ideas.
Tip: I’m obsessed with personalizing my accounts. I discovered early on that Trello lets you change the pictures behind your boards. Though it doesn’t let you upload your own, it gives you a nice selection to choose from. All you have to do is open your menu and find the “Change Background” option.
This app has saved the lives of hundreds of ideas. I’ve used Color Note at all hours of the night when that annoying burst of inspiration hit and I needed to write down my idea.
It’s a rather simple application with a color coding system of organization. It allows you to create either notes or lists and can be synced to other devices. Overall, it’s a handy tool for when inspiration strikes and pen and paper aren’t within grasp.
Tip: Each color in Color Note can be labeled as a category. You can then filter your notes by selecting a color.
This simple program lets you create fun, professional-looking graphics for free!
I won’t go into detail about how Canva works, but within the program, it’s easy enough to create mock book covers, collages, or social media graphics for your WIPs. Though I use it for promotional graphics more than anything else, I’ll occasionally get in the mood to create a fun collage to send to a friend or use as my desktop background.
Tip: A recent Canva upgrade lets you nudge elements using your keyboard arrows, a feature I sorely missed from working with Adobe Illustrator.
If you don’t have a few boards dedicated to your WIP, make some. They are invaluable for story inspiration.
*whispers* I’ll let you in on a secret. The main premise of Ridgeline was inspired by a prompt on Pinterest. You can create boards for anything from character models to cool outfits you want your characters to wear.
Here’s my Pinterest account if you’re looking for some ideas.
Tip: If you’d rather not create seven hundred boards dedicated to one story idea *cough* like me *cough* you can organize a single board into sections. For example, my Ceasefire Characters board is divided between the book’s different characters.
The desktop version of Spotify is perfect for compiling songs into WIP playlists. It’s also great for finding nice, ambient music to set the mood while brainstorming. Though the ads in the free version are annoying, creating playlists is easy, the dark theme is awesome, and the songs take up less room on your screen than YouTube.
Tip: Again, I love personalization. For each playlist, you can upload an image of your own to serve as the cover.
Have you ever used the resources mentioned above? What’s a program you enjoy using while brainstorming?
May the words be with you.
The Introvert (A.K.A. Gabrielle R. Pollack)