Many times when I sit down to write, many thoughts and ideas come quickly and become a jumbled mess in my head. Some are popcorn thoughts that I really want to capture, but they are coming so fast and so randomly, if I don’t grab them, they will escape. I begin to feel overwhelmed so I try to jump into writing as fast as I can or wish the ideas to slow down. Before I know it, the thoughts and ideas have dwindled to a mere trickle, if any at all – and many have vanished into thin air. Have you ever experienced that?
To help with organization of ideas, I would recommend mind mapping. Mind mapping is a technique that I use to capture and organize my thoughts. This helps to not only corral my ideas, but also helps create structure allowing me to see connections in my ideas that help me as I write.
Ready to Give Mind Mapping a Try?
- Start with your main topic, theme or message in the middle.
For example, let’s say we wanted to do a mind map on Summer Time.
- Now begin to add thoughts, ideas and examples that support your theme around the outside of the main topic. Add lines to connect these thoughts to not only the main topic but to the other thoughts.
You might add food; hot dogs, BBQ, Popsicle, potato salad, watermelon, etc.
Then add another section of activities; amusement park, concerts in the park, hiking, swimming, etc.
Then a section of sounds you might hear; SPLASH!, “I’m bored!!!”, the bang of fireworks, the hum of the motor boat.Get the idea?
You can get more elaborate by using different colors, shapes, and even pictures and icons to distinguish different concepts or secondary thoughts that are related to your main topic. You can even go on to create a mind map for each chapter of your book, drilling down deeper into the content and the connections between topics.
- Keep going until all of your thoughts have been captured. Let the mind map rest for a day or so and then revisit it. Are new thoughts coming to you? Do you see connections in the map that you didn’t see before?
Paper or Electronic Mind Maps
If you are more comfortable with a pen and paper, grab what you need and get started. You might want to get some different colored pens to help in the process!
If you like working electronically, there are several different mind mapping software programs, both online as well as application based programs. Select one and give it a try! Here is the link to the one we used to create the mind map about Summertime! You can get started for free!
Organization Brings Clarity
Painting a picture, telling a story, or explaining a concept clearly with your words is the main objective of any writer. It doesn’t matter if you are writing fiction or nonfiction, if your reader can’t follow you or can’t connect with the story or characters, they will abandon your book. Mind mapping is one powerful tool to help you as an author to organize your thoughts, the characteristics of a character, or the connections in a story line to create a rich and cohesive book.
Give it a try and let us know how it goes!