Yeasty Mosaic at Disney's California Adventure

Yeasty Mosaic at Disney's California Adventure
Yeasty Mosaic at Disney's California Adventure

Monday, April 25, 2011

Creativity Tip No. 24

Mind Mapping

You have probably heard of Mind Mapping, which is sometimes called Radiant Thinking and brainstorming. It was created by Tony Buzan and is a way to allow your creative mind to get past your inner editor, not an easy task.

The editor is that voice in your head that talks trash to you when you come up with a Big Idea and are feeling excited. The voice immediately tells you that you can't accomplish anything, that your new idea is stupid, or asks: what makes you think you can write a book? Host both of your families for a dinner party? Clean up the basement?

To begin mapping, write down the subject you want to brainstorm about in the center of a big piece of paper and circle it. Some examples could be Chapter Ideas for a new book; Baby Shower for the party you are going to host or what needs to be done to keep your Garden from resembling the Rain Forest now that the weather has finally warmed up (see my example below).

Then you draw spokes off this main circle for all of the areas that  need to be dealt with. Circle these and then draw spokes off each of them to explore your subject even further. For example, my map starts with the word "Garden" in the middle, way too broad a task for me to tackle at once. So I continue drawing spokes and adding subjects to them: Porch, Herbs, Weeds, Plants, Furniture and so on. Then for each of these spokes I drew smaller ones: under Plants: annuals, Perrenials, look for 3 hanging baskets, buy soil -- all to remind me what I need to do.

After the map is finished I can make a list and figure out a schedule to get all of these tasks done one at a time.

The Mind Mapping concept is simple, although there are ways to make it a little more complicated if you like. You can add colored pens, photos, illustrations and more to your mind map, but if you don't have those things, do it anyway. All you really need is a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. (To see examples of more complicated maps, search for "mind mapping" under Google images.)

The important thing to remember with this technique is to get down on paper ALL of the thoughts you are having on a subject. Once you start writing, don't stop. Keep going and going until there isn't a smidge of paper left bare.

I used this technique when I taught writing to fifth graders a few years ago. They liked the idea of "drawing" their ideas out, but tended to pause a lot in between items. With our adult brains, there is almost never a pause when we are working on a map. We carry around so much clutter in our brains it will be such a relief to get it all down on paper, you won't believe it.

I have used this technique for a long time, and found these maps to be useful. From my Garden map, I can see what I need to do to whip my garden into tip-top shape this summer. And it only took a few minutes of my time.

Give Mind Mapping a try. I think you will be glad you did.

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I am the creator of the web's premiere Baby Boomer site: Boom This: A Generational Thing!(