Nature operates by profusion. Think of the nearly infinite number of seeds that fall to the earth, only a fraction of which take root to become trees...Similarly, human beings engaged in the creative process explore an astronomical number of possible patterns before settling on an idea. Novelist John Gardner suggests that writers need some magic key for getting in touch with these secret reserves of imaginative power. What we lack is not ideas but a direct means of getting in touch with them.
Clustering is that magic key....It is the crucial first step for bypassing our logical, orderly Sign-mind [left brain] consciousness to touch the mental life of daydream, random thought, remembered incident, image, or sensation.
Clustering is a nonlinear brainstorming process akin to free association. It makes an invisible Design-mind [right brain] process visible through a nonlinear spilling out of lightning associations that allows patterns to emerge...It is the writing tool that accepts wondering, not-knowing, seeming chaos, gradually mapping an interior landscape as ideas begin to emerge.
Gabriele Rico, PhD; Writing the Natural Way
I thought you could beat, pummel, and thrash an idea into existence. Under such treatment of course any decent idea folds up its paws, fixes its eyes on eternity, and dies.
To me a cluster is an expanding universe with each word a potential galaxy capable at each moment of throwing out universes of its own.
A Reno teacher after a workshop
WRITING PROMPT: To create a cluster, you begin with a nucleus word, circled, on a fresh page. Now you simply let go and begin to flow with any current of connections that come into your head. Write these down rapidly, each in its own circle, radiating outward from the center in any direction they want to go. Connect each new word or phrase with a line to the preceding circle. When something new and different strikes you, begin again at the central nucleus and radiate outward until those associations are exhausted...This relaxed receptivity to ideas usually generates another spurt of associations until at some point you experience a sudden sense of what you are going to write about. At that point, simply stop clustering and begin writing.
Gabriele Rico, PhD, Writing the Natural Way