Tuesday, 5 August 2014

How to Improve Your Writing with Mind Maps

When I first learned about mind-mapping in school I must admit I thought it was utter rubbish. It wasn't really a great help to me and I always believed in a good list, rather than a mind map. Exams rolled around and I was blue in the face of staring at my textbooks and outline notes and I ran back in to the welcoming arms of a mind map. After exams I realized I performed my best in those subjects that I did mind-maps in due to how they let me view, analyze and retain the information, so I'm officially converted !

When you're writing they can help you in a number of ways too.

Before You Write:
  • Collecting quotes, ideas and pictures in a mind map can be a good way to record a building idea that doesn't necessarily come to you in nice sequential list-able notes. 
  • Word Association Maps help if you want to start from a one word prompt or a word stuck in your head. Write down that word and branch off from it and see what directions you can take from it.

 During/After Writing:

There are a few types of mind map that will be helpful to you when you write.

Type 1: Chapter Summary or Plot Outline Mind Map

 Type 2: Character Mind Map

 Type 3: Theme Mind Map

  • Plot Summary Maps make it simple to see what's going on throughout all of your chapters in basic form. You can also add sub-plots
  • Character Mind Maps can help when you want to get down the basics of all the characters of your story. It also helps if you add different character relationships and other tid-bits such as their emotional motivation etc.
  • Theme Mind Maps allow you to take the simple recurring themes that are within your story line and expand on them. When you do a theme mind map it's possible to see all the different routes your themes may take and inspire yourself as to creating multiple endings.

How Mind Maps Help:
  • Mind Maps Utilize Color; allowing your brain to compartmentalize a certain color with a certain aspect of your story or novel.
  • They allow you to add to your plan in a non-sequential order, because creativity isn't always linear.
  • They allow you to have a branched chain of thought, that sometimes listing does not allow you to do. Therefore you can come up with ideas you might not have been able to had you just done a list.
  • The artistic like nature allows you to use both your left & right brain.

What to Use to Mind Map:
  • Pen and Paper; can work just fine. Cheap and easy to do.
  • Free online software that creates multi-colored very customisable maps which automatically sync to your Google Drive. You also have the option to download it as an image, text file or pdf.
  • Whiteboard; Very eco-friendly. Can be re-used multiple times and it is easy to wipe off. Only downside being that if you want to keep the maps for future reference then you would need to take a picture. 

Can you see yourself incorporating a mind-map into your writing process?


  1. Who know you could use a map to help put your thoughts together then down on paper? Thanks for the helpful tips.

  2. I wish I would have seen this strategy when I was in school! Really helpful!

  3. I LOVE mind maps. Because the brain remembers them as both an image and text you have twice as much chance of remembering the information. I use magazine cut outs, drawings and photos to help mine along.

  4. Very interesting...I've never used them before for blogging but I might now!!

  5. These are great tips. Thank you for sharing!


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