How to Use Mind Mapping for Your Next Writing Project
04
DECEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho

In 2008, when I fell in love with reading, I was scared of voluminous books. Have you seen the Complete Sherlock Holmes book authored by Arthur Conan Doyle? I love crime novels and I have a soft spot for the ingenuity of the extraordinary sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. I have always wondered how authors like Stephen King, John C. Maxwell, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling generated those storylines and lengthy texts. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers and Tipping Point, carved a mysterious niche for himself by building navigable bridges between scientific theories and real-life situations.

The scary point is how do they come up with these ideas? How do they find the time and energy to write those books? The mind is a treasure trove of ideas but pushing them out as books and articles can be a daunting task. Everyone makes use of different paths in scripting their articles but one method that really works for me is called Mind Mapping. It is a form of intense brainstorming for ideas that resonate with a topic you have in mind.
“The power of the writer is to capture the thoughts live and present them as they appeared in his mind.” – Bangambiki Habyarimana

In mind mapping, the first step is to set a time limit (usually 15 minutes) while you start creating a map of your ideas on a piece of blank paper or a blank whiteboard. Setting the time limit happens after you have concluded about the main idea you want to make the subject of your brainstorming. Perhaps, the writing of a novel, or a blog post or a non-fiction book. The rules for the mind mapping exercise are very simple.

 

Five Simple Steps

1. Visualize Your Desires

It’s all about brainstorming for paths and processes that can aid the development of an idea until it becomes a powerful and presentable product. Imagination creates room in the brain for the reality of your ideas. It’s more like setting those ideas and desires in motion through the eyes of the subconscious mind.

 

If you have a plan to write a non-fiction book on how to live a healthy lifestyle, you need to visualize how the book looks like, turn the pages and see how one chapter leads to the other. Everyone has the power of imagination but only a few harness it for the creation of innovative products.

2. Embrace all ideas

This is the time to write everything that comes to your mind. Create a room for all the words and phrases that come to your heart, allow them to find a space where they can call a home.

If you want to create branches, please don’t hesitate to do so. If you want to make a map or a web showing your thoughts, please go ahead. If there is anything you must do at this stage, you must write down everything you can remember about the subject matter.

3. Don’t judge yourself

Experts say that the creative part of your brain and the one for editing cannot work at the same time. If you attempt doing that, one will be to the detriment of the other.

 

Don’t judge or censor these ideas and don’t start giving them pet names. In this freedom of expression, your creativity will blossom beyond your imagination and you will be amazed.

4. Stick to the time

The essence of using a stopwatch is to help shut out all distractions and tell your brain that you are focused on achieving a single task at hand. Your productivity can take a quantum leap if you learn to do one thing at a time. Focus on the blank paper or board and fish out all the ideas swimming in your unique pool of intelligence. You can do this for 15 – 20 minutes.

5. Grouping your ideas

After the allotted time for brainstorming, you can be more critical in the choice of ideas that goes through the next stage. Remove all the irrelevant ideas and phrases. Create groups of ideas, phrases, and thoughts that are similar. And you can work on from here and make considerable progress.
To learn more about the act of mind mapping, let me guide you into the safe hands of bestselling author Tony Buzan. Another method, some writers employ in generating ideas is called free writing. This is a form of brainstorming process where you write all that comes to your mind during a time frame.
There is an example of a Mind Mapping exercise (pictured above) that I did for fifteen minutes; I used a whiteboard, you can use A4 paper and you can also tow a deeper path with your brainstorming exercise.
Have you used mind mapping in your previous writing projects?
In what other ways do you think mind mapping can help writers?

Also published on Medium.

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