I wrote this guide for the audio transcription service Rev. Below you’ll find the outline and excerpt; read the full version on their blog.

Writing a book is not as simple as getting your ideas down on paper or into a word processor. Typing or writing by hand, you won’t be able to keep up with the speed of your thoughts running through your mind. Transferring the contents of your head into a cohesive book begins before the first draft. Brain dumps are an essential part of an effective book writing workflow.

There are several ways to unload information through a brain dump. You can jot down bullet points or keywords, or record your thoughts out loud and dictate what’s on your mind. You’ll want to block out on-screen distractions and keep your inner editor in check. Dictation enables you to enter an ideal flow state or a steady stream of consciousness.

We’ll show you how to achieve impressive results using this brain dumping method. But first, let’s clarify: what exactly are brain dumps and how do writers use them?

What is brain dumping?

A brain dump seeks to empty your mind without losing any thought or information you hold inside. Imagine a box of clutter: you won’t be able to sort through, make sense of or work with what’s inside if you don’t take it out. A brain dump does exactly that: it clears your mind while making the contents of your head accessible. As a result, you can be more productive, focused and organized. This productivity hack can jump start creative projects such as writing your book. You can use brain dumps to guide your writing process or inform future mind map and brainstorm activities.

Why record spoken brain dumps as part of the writing process?

There are many benefits to audio brain dumps and writing your book with dictation and transcripts. Recordings let you create anywhere. Unlike with typing or writing by hand, you can avoid strain on your eyes, hands, and back. You can lose the inhibition of the blank page staring back at you and rid yourself off the nagging temptation to edit as you go. Speaking your thoughts is much better suited for capturing spontaneous ideas and flow, stream of words and natural dialog.

It’s also a tremendous time-saver. Typing and thinking at the same time slow down your output. Recording yourself at average conversational speed yields approximately 150 words a minute. With a word-for-word transcript, you can then revisit all the details of your ideas. Speech-to-text technology is a true game-changer for authors of fiction and non-fiction alike. It enables you to optimize your workflow with efficient brain dumps and increase your productive output.

How to brain dump for writing a book

If you don’t know how to start writing a book, listen to successful authors: brain dumps with recordings and transcriptions are the fastest way to write a book! Our writing tips will help you use the brain dump method effectively in your writing process to get your ideas out of your head.

1. Start with an Overview


2. Interviews


3. Sketch chapters or scenes


4. Interpret the Research


5. Organizing the Outline


What are the best practices for brain dumps?

There’s hardly any threshold to successful brain dumping, but the following tips make the method even more effective:

1. Focus on one topic at a time


2. Limit yourself to a set amount of time


3. Refine and repeat


4. Keep pen and paper close


5. Order Transcripts of Your Brain Dump Recordings


This is an excerpt from a guide I wrote for the blog of the audio transcription service Rev.