For about ten years now, I’ve been using a semi-unconventional brainstorming technique. I write directly on my wall. I can’t tell you why it helps so much with my brainstorming process, but it does. This all started when I learned that chalkboard paint existed. At the time, I had two whiteboards that I used for brainstorming, but they always filled up too quickly. I was planning on using the chalkboard paint until I got to the store and saw the whiteboard paint sitting on the shelf. As you can probably guess, I have always been more of a whiteboard girl, so when I saw that this was an option, it was a no-brainer.
I wanted to take this post to share a little bit about how I use my whiteboard wall for writing and give you some product pros, cons, and application tips in case you want to give it a try yourself!
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How I use it
Typically when I have a story idea, I play around with it in my head for a month or two before I ever start writing anything down. (I like to think of it as letting my story “cook.”) Then when I’m finally ready to get some ideas out, I go to my whiteboard wall. I’ll use it as a mind map, or sometimes a freewrite. I can’t tell you why it’s more helpful to freewrite on a wall than it is in a notebook, but it is! I also feel like it makes me a more active participant in my story. It gets me up and moving and I feel like it makes the whole process more hands on.
And because I’m completely engaged, it can be especially helpful when I’m having a hard time focusing or when I’m struggling with a project. Being able to slow down and see my project off the page and computer screen stimulates my creatively in a way I never expected when I first decided to invest in this paint. It’s also just a lot of fun to write on the wall, which I think helps the process–especially when I’m hating my project with a passion.
- If you follow (all most all of) the directions, it’s a simple application. Once the paint is cured, you’ll have an entire wall of space to map out and brainstorm your stories.
- This paint has been on my wall for nearly ten years and I have yet to have an issue writing or erasing. (I did repaint it once, but only because I was painting the rest of the room. The wall itself still worked great.)
- I use standard Expo Markers, so once the painting is done, you don’t need anything fancy to write on it.
- If you’re a whiteboard brainstormer, this is a one day project that your creativity will thank you for every time you use it.
- Like any whiteboard, it can get a little discolored over time. However, I honestly didn’t notice this until I was repainting the room and decided to repaint the whiteboard wall too. When I had an “after” to compare the “before” color to, it was clear that it was discolored. But had I not decided to give it a fresh coat, I never would have noticed.
- You’re sacrificing a wall of your house. (I consider it to be a worthwhile sacrifice, but it’s something to consider.)
- If you don’t choose your wall carefully, everyone who comes over will be able to see your ideas/what you’re working on.
- If you aren’t careful in the application, it won’t work like it’s supposed to.
I have done this process twice and never had a problem. But if you read the Amazon reviews, you’ll see that it can be hit or miss. Here are three things I did that I think made it work:
- Follow the directions. Use the specific type of roller and other tools they suggest. Give enough drying time between coats. Don’t write on the wall until they say it’s safe to. It will be torture to wait, but try to be patient.
- Don’t mix the paints like they recommend. This is the one direction you shouldn’t follow. The paint kit comes with two cans. A larger can of what appears to be regular white paint and a smaller can that “activates” the whiteboard quality. The directions say one of the first steps is pouring the small can into the large can and mixing before you start. I didn’t do this. Both times, the directions said I needed three coats of paint, each of which had to dry for 20 minutes. It also said that once the paint is mixed together, it will only be good for an hour. It knew it would take about 15-20 minutes to do a coat. This meant once I considered the time to dry, I would need the paint to last more than an hour. Because of that, I poured about a third of each can in a paint tray and mixed it there before each coat.
- Check the expiration date. Each kit has an expiration date. If the paint is expired, it won’t work like it’s supposed to, and you may have a problem erasing. The image above in the “Product” section is an Amazon link, but because of the expiration date, I would strongly recommend going to your local hardware store if you can. If you can’t (or they don’t carry it), make sure you check the date before you open the product and be prepared to exchange it if it’s out of code.
The process may have changed since I last did this. So if you have any questions about the application, you might want to think about calling the company for clarification before you start.
Full and happy whiteboard wall (blurred to protect ideas).
As always, I hope this helps!
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Now it’s your turn: Do you use a whiteboard to brainstorm? Have you used whiteboard paint before? If you have, what’s been your experience? Tell me about it in the comments!