Author Stuff · Writing Tips

Mind Mapping for Writers

I love mind maps. Countless times have they helped me figure out ideas that I was struggling with.

Here are a few ways that you can use mind maps:

  • Details for your story: this is the biggest one. I’ve used many mind maps to help me to discover detail about my story without feeling like I have to be strict or neat. I put settings or characters or plot points in the centre bubble, and then I branch out every which way to develop detail about that thing. And it totally works! Try it!
  • Plot: people mind map in all sorts of ways but if you want to do a more structured mind map but still have creative freedom, it can help for things like plot. You can start one place then branch off and out for subplots and main plots and potential ideas and “need to happens” and so on. Before you know it, you’ve got potential plot items all over your page!
  • What you should do next: this works in terms of writing as well as life. Mind maps are great for getting all possible ideas out and being about to explore those ideas without worrying about sticking to them. Whether it’s for a story or your own life, use mind maps to get all potential ideas (silly or not) out on the page for you to have a big creative offloading session!
  • Character details: as I said before, I use mind maps for my characters too. This works whether you know a lot about your characters or not. I find them great for the beginning stages of a manuscript but also great for gaining more random details about your characters. Doing character profiles can feel a bit creatively restrictive (I find) so sometimes just having the freedom to write any and all ideas about your characters on the mind map can go a long way to understanding them better and in more depth.
  • Problem solving: if you have an issue with your plot (or something else) mind maps can really help. Put the problem in the centre and then branch off any and all ideas that could potentially solve it. There are no bad ideas because even the things that won’t work will help you get the ideas rolling for what will work. It’s a great way to see the problem as less scary.
  • Creative inspiration: sometimes when all you need is ideas and detail but about nothing in particular, then mind maps can be your go-to. I’ve simply put “fantasy elements” in the middle of a mind map one time and let my ideas just roll off and branch out and develop from there, and it helped think of so many things I could put in my book series or at least mention throughout. It got my creative ideas flowing in a general, less strict manner.
  • Idea dumps: basically, as I’ve said, mind maps work for just getting ideas (any and all) onto the page. Whatever the topic, it can get your ideas out of your head for you to then take and leave as needed.
  • Life decisions: mind maps aren’t only for story development. They work for life, too. Stick the problem or decision in the middle and branch out with all the options open to you and then branch off each of those with the pros and cons and potential developments from each. As you do it, you’ll see what you really think and what to go for. Boom, easy!

Now, get mind-mapping and brain storming and creating, friends! Have fun, it makes writing so much more enjoyable!

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