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How to use mind mapping for creative writing

If you are a writer (or trying to become one), you have probably already experienced a swarm of ideas all buzzing in your head when you are trying to write blog posts, think of a plot for your new story or produce other types or writing. A great way to get better organized would be to start using mind maps as the results of your brainstorming will end up neatly laid out on a sheet of paper (or your computer screen, if you are using mind map software). In case you are wondering about the other advantages of mind mapping for creative writing, this article will give you a better picture of everything you could achieve with this amazing tool.

What is mind mapping?

Mind maps are diagrams used to visually organize information, focusing on one central idea. The technique of mind mapping goes back to the 3rd century, but was popularized in the 1970s by Tony Buzan, who was a keen supporter of the benefits of mind maps for academic, business, as well as personal use.

If you want to create mind maps, you would normally start with one central topic, depending on what you are working on. For this, you could simply take a piece of paper or use various online mind mapping software, such as Creately, Cacoo, Bubbl.us, and others. The best idea is to first think of your needs and then choose the most appropriate online mind mapping tool for you. Your next step would then be to kick start your writing process by adding your ideas and connecting them to the central concept. Each node would represent a specific subtopic that you can then further elaborate and expand into various child topics until you have exhausted your flow of imagination.

The advantages of mind mapping for creative writing

There are numerous advantages of using mind mapping for writing purposes. The most obvious one is definitely that it will help you stay better organized. Writers are rarely known for their organizational skills and if you are one of those who want to keep it at least a bit under control, mind maps could be of enormous help to achieve that. However, you can still make them as chaotic as you wish if that is something you might need to get your creative juices flowing.

Secondly, if you are procrastinating to make the first step in your writing process, it could surely help you to finally sit down and think of all the plots, characters etc. Mind maps can also guide you to establish the relationships between individual characters, create chapter outlines and similar. You do not have to create only one mind map, but could opt for a general one and various additional maps for different stages of your writing.

Moreover, if you have already started writing and feel a bit stuck, you could retrace your moves to the very beginning by the help of your previously created mind map and see where your creative flow started to weaken. You should also have a look at your map(s) multiple times during your creative writing process to freshen your mind and keep on track with your plans. However, it is not called creative writing for nothing, so if your imagination wants to take a different turn during your writing process, you should by all means let it do its thing. You never know, maybe it could lead you to your very own Pulitzer.

A big advantage of mind mapping done with the help of online tools is that they enable you to collaborate with the other people involved in your writing process, for example, your editors or co-authors. The majority of mind mapping tools allow real-time collaboration, meaning that everyone can contribute their thoughts and comments, resulting in much more productive communication.

To conclude

Regardless of whether you decide to stick with traditional paper mind maps or are willing to take a step further and embark on an online mind mapping journey, your efforts will definitely pay off in the long run. You will be better organized, able to retrace every step of your creative process and will never have to face hectic situations like when you were desperately trying to find that little piece of paper with a great idea you once had. Everything will be laid out for you, which will definitely save you some time and first and foremost, a great amount of your sanity.