Sunday, April 19, 2009

Listing Facts About A Subject

Suppose I want to improve my blog. To kick off my thinking -- and before I get creative -- it's a good idea to list as much information as I can about blogs and blogging. My aim is to make a list of 100 facts about blogs and blogging. Here's a way to quickly list such information.

I'll start out with a title: blogs.

I need to start listing information and I can do this by using the letters within the title word - blogs - to create words. Using the "b" and the "l" I list a couple of one-syllable words that start with those letters. Say, be and like. So the first item on my list reads:

1) Be like...

All I do now is complete a sentence about blogs that starts with those words:

Blogs

1) Be like...a kind of journal you write online.

Now I've started out it gets easier; I can pick one of the words from that sentence and use it as the start of my next item on the list. I choose "Online":

2) Online...

and I can then use that word as a trigger for more information:

2) Online...blogs are very popular.

Then I continue the process, selecting a word from each sentence and using it to help me list more information. (I've highlighted the chosen word in blue.)

3) Very...many blogs are listed on Technorati.

4) Technorati... tells you the latest about what's being talked about in the blogging world.

5) Blogging...can be addictive.

6) Can blogs replace books?

7) Books have been written based on blogs.

8) On a blog, you can talk about any subject you want.

9) You can blog twenty-four hours a day.

10) Hours can fly past when you're blogging.

11) Hours can be spent reading blogs.

12) Reading blogs is easier if the layout is nice and the font easy to read.

13) Fonts can be difficult to choose.

14) To start blogging requires a site like Blogger.com

15) Like a blog and you'll visit again.

As you can see, this is quite a nifty way to list information. It's important to write down the information (not just do it in your head) and set a quota of 100 items -- to take you beyond the obvious. To sum up, there are two ways to use information to trigger further items:

1: Use the letters from a previous word to list words, then use those words to trigger the listing of information.

2: Select a word from a previous item and use that as the first word in a sentence that triggers the listing of more information.

These are the first two techniques that I'm adding to my brainstorming template that will be specifically used for the listing of information.

Example: 100 List, "Information about blogging"

Current creativity projects...

I've become both a keen student of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and a prolific writer of jokes. Inspired by the lessons I've learned in the Medici Effect, I've been thinking about ways to fuse CBT techniques, joke-writing techniques, and creativity tips (especially those generated in the BrainReactions challenge: 100 Tips for Improving your Creativity.)

I'm thinking this will be a kind of brainstorming template where the idea is to create 100 ideas, with each entry on the list being guided by prompters within the template (Such as "Name something that won't work", or "How would you achieve the opposite?"

I'm thinking there could be different templates for different tasks -- such as: problem solving (and definition), creating ideas, and the listing of information and facts. I will start blogging about some of the techniques I've used so far and see how it works out.


Thinking about thinking...a great blog

If you're like me and enjoy thinking about thinking - and thinking of ways to improve your thinking - then I highly recommend Luciano Passuello's Litemind site.

The site has a simple mission:

To explore ways to use our minds efficiently.

The site is full of information on creativity skills, memory skills (including such methods as the Major system and Roman Room system), self improvement strategies, and Mind Maps on well-known books (such as The Medici Effect). There are also some wise words on overcoming "the dreaded P" - procrastination!

I can't recommend this blog highly enough.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Word Games To Help With Spelling

I've been creating these word games to help with the spelling of difficult words. The idea is, you generate a sentence that provides clues for the correct spelling of the word. It's also a fun creativity exercise.

Example

Word = exaggerate. They key thing is to create a sentence that highlights the hardest part of the word to spell. In this case it's the double G. So the clue-sentence I've created is:

I'm not exaggerating when I say I must have lost a million pounds on the GGs!

More examples
(the words to spell are in bold, and the spelling reminders are in red):

Definite is hard to spell, init?

Dissection separates a rat.

I can crash over my mum's for accommodation.

I walked past the cemetery: eeek! (or Eeek! Eeek! Eeek!)

Super spelling's always necessary.

Misspelling: (Ji) m is spelling words incorrectly. (Or (the) m is spelling.)

Let me know what you think and if you can think of others.