I like to brainstorm on a whiteboard. In my dreams, it’s 6’x4’, rolling, and two-sided. In reality, it’s 16”x23” and lying unmounted on the carpet.
There’s something about using a dry-erase board that taps into my creative side. I can use colors, make connections, write upside down if I want, and—probably most important—easily erase at will. It’s kinetic and unboxed. I can stand and move while capturing my thoughts.
Yes, I could do this on paper, but I think the sense of permanence (and probably the sense of waste) stifles my creativity in comparison to the whiteboard. On paper, my ideas are not so easily erased or rearranged. My efforts become messy and require more paper. (I do have a stack of scrap for this purpose.)
The computer makes up for paper’s disadvantages, but requires a more linear approach without some kind of special software or mouse for freeform expression.
For some reason, when I use paper or the computer, I feel like I’m tied to the ideas previously written, and I tend to get stuck in a thinking rut. It’s purely psychological, but why fight it?
I also like the large space afforded by a board. I can write in big, bold strokes, change colors, draw lines and symbols, and just…spread out. With a big enough board, I can make notes on several different areas of the story at a time. Character stuff over here, plot ideas over there, and GMC notes at the bottom.
I use the computer to capture my freeform notes before wiping the board clean, and once I get to the writing phase, I prefer the computer. With Scrivener, of course. 😉
But for now, in my pre-writing phase, I’m getting a headache from the smell of dry-erase markers.