We’ve explored, in recent posts, some technological tools to help you organize your memoir or family history book project. Today let’s look at a low tech, or even no tech, approach to the organizational process.
“If you are serious about writing and have a “visual mind,” says Hobart Swan, a writer and for 20 years a producer for host Charles Osgood at CBS, “then mind mapping might be a refreshing way for you to brainstorm new ideas, capture and organize those ideas, manage complex content, chunk up your writing, and add new flexibility and freedom to your writing process.”
What’s a mind map? It’s been described as a graphic organizer, a visual outline and a creativity tool among other things. I first learned about it in a seminar presented by the Bay Area Writing Project back in the late 70s.
Clees van Halen at 12Manage-The Executive Fast Track offers this description of how mind maps work. “Most people are visually oriented. Using structure, words, color, images and hyperlinks (and sounds) to bring concepts to life, Mind Mapping links a central concept or issue with related concepts or issues. Unlike linear thinking modes…it stimulates imagination and creativity. Thus it is believed to harness the full range of your analytical and thinking skills.”
(The image above was created by Pietro Zanarini and is displayed through rights granted under Creative Commons.)
The concept of combining words or phrases with images to explore or organize complex ideas goes back thousands of years. Its modern popularity dates to the early sixties when the process of semantic webbing first appeared. British pop psychologist Tony Buzan claims credit for coining the term mind mapping. He certainly became its evangelist. In the You Tube video below Buzan gives a short explanation of the process of creating a mind man.
In our next post we’ll look at some of the specific ways you might use mind mapping to help you achieve your writing goals.