Brainstorm Short Circuit
When my right hand shaking started to affect my hand writing, I converted fairly easily to keyboard writing. I’d been programming a computer since my early 30s. Yet when the shaking worsened and I could no longer draw boxes, label them, and connect them with arrows, I lost a lot of brainstorming ability.
I had always started projects, program designs, and personal projects with free-hand sketches on a large, white, desk pad sheet.
Free Flow from Brain to Paper
Brainstorming was freeing because I could ignore niceties of perfection: spelling, precise word use, and draw breakout chunks without worry if the entire universe of action was covered. It just needed to be sensible to myself, not other people. Those niceties could came back into play when the idea is complete and the essay is being written.
Brainstorming Diagram Example
To make this concrete, here’s a brainstorm about personal choice from five years ago. As you can see, it’s preliminary. I am just analyzing into pieces and trying to arrange pieces together.
I could sketch an initial diagram such as the example above in 15 or 20 minutes. With a computer tool, attending to the requirements of the software, it takes me an hour or so. Why so much longer? Primarily because I have to switch from brainstorming to typing and tool sets to enter a chunk and then back to brainstorming. Each switch taking time, effort, and refocus.
When I got a bicycle, I noticed something. Places that I liked that before I went to once a year because they took 45 minutes or an hour to walk to, now I would go to one or twice a week, because suddenly they were but 15 minutes away. When it took 1/3 the time, it suddenly was visited 50 times more often.
I’m brainstorming fewer problems now. The increase in time to scope and frame issues blocks some initial investigations. I’ve developed some computer brainstorming tools which I find useful.
And I’m happy to find such a clear example of a particular aspect of the finite mind. My brainstorming is less productive because part of my conscious attention is demanded by computer tasks which previous had be automatically satisfied with attention by pen and paper.