We’ve talked about research and brainstorming, basic steps for starting your book. Seems like we put those backwards, didn’t we? We’re going back again one more step. Hold on.
Before brainstorming with your colleagues or friends, discover the delight of brainstorming with yourself with only blank paper and colored pens or pencils.
Tony Buzan, a British psychologist and educator, developed the idea of diagramming our thoughts the way the brain creates them, that is, radially. Start with the core idea and let it explode and blossom on paper. For examples of expressive mindmaps, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map or http://www.tonybuzan.com.
Buzan says: “A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which …harnesses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness – in a single, uniquely powerful manner. In so doing, it gives you the freedom to roam the infinite expanses of your brain. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance.”
Sounds pretty heavy? Actually, it can be quite simple. Think of doodling on paper and letting your mind make all the associations it wants. Start in the center of the page with an image of the topic, using color(s). Or maybe just a word. I can’t draw even a crooked line so I use words and labels as my symbols.
Print key words or images that describe your idea, each symbol sitting on its own line. Most important – the lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The lines become thinner as they radiate out from the center.
Each image, symbol, label, or cartoon you add stimulates the three pounds of whoopee cushion between your ears. Your brain is meanwhile creating relationships visually and kinetically as you draw connections. In a relaxed way, you unearth ideas and associations that are lurking below your conscious level.
Give it a try. Have fun. Don’t judge yourself. Then proceed to brainstorming with others if you wish. And then do your research. That’s a good order for writing your book.
Alert: if you search online the word “mind mapping,” you will find many software companies that want to sell you their programs. Really, you can do this by yourself. But do visit these sites to see how they illustrate the process.
NEXT POSTING: Now that I have a mind map, how do I proceed to write?