Mindmapping is all about avoiding the disadvantages of making a list i.e. thinking in a non-creative, linear way. It’s about emptying your brain to get ideas which you can tidy up later. This is what makes it such a great tool for creative people e.g. authors. It’s inspirational and keeps those brainwaves pulsing.
If you’re not sure how to construct a mindmap, then look here for a walkthrough. Using colours and little pictures along the way keeps both sides of your brain busy and therefore you’re working more efficiently.
How many mindmaps do you need? As many as it takes. Perhaps one for the overall plot, and then more detailed ones for each main facet of the plot. I do one for the overall dramatis personae of the book I’m working on, and then one for each character so I know him or her inside out and will always give the correct shoe size or hair colour when it crops up! The moment writer’s block threatens to descend, I rustle up a mindmap to keep me functioning.
Non-fiction benefits as much from mindmapping as fiction, and it doesn’t end there. Do a mindmap for marketing ideas and another for promotion strategies. A third for publishers and agents to contact.
Once you start using mindmaps to help your writing, it’s hard to stop. They’re a very valuable, effective tool that give a great boost to your creativity.
Here’s a list of some mindmapping software packages.