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Entries in mind mapping (2)


How Can Writing Change Your Life?

You want to write that novel that has been rattling around in your head for years. Or, you know you should write that non-fiction book for your business because you understand the principle that it is important to be seen as a business expert and a published author. But the idea of writing a 200-300 page book seems so overwhelming and intimidating that you just can't seem to get going. Besides, your book will be a success only if someone wants to read it, it is well written, and provides enough information that your potential readers want more. How do you do that if you don't even know where to start?

My suggestion would be to take a writing class, or an online writing course or a writer's workshop. Even if you don't think you can write a single word, or don't have a clue of what to write, or think you hate writing, if you get connected to people who know how to write, you will learn tips and techniques that will take your ideas and turn them into something worth publishing and maybe even learn to have fun when you write!

When I run an Our Little Books' Writer's Workshop, I have people set out their intentions for the day before we even start. I feel that if people put what they want to accomplish out into the nethersphere, then they are more likely to focus on what they want to do with their writing all during the day. I always include myself in this intention stating process as my intentions as the writing guide, are small. All I really want to have done by the end of the day is to change everyone's lives, even if just a little! As I said, nothing too big...

I don't expect major life altering shifts (although that has happened), but rather I want participants to walk out of there thinking a bit differently about themselves. I want them to be more aware of their writing and their ability to write. I want them to realize that writing will change them as a person and that what they write will change others. People don't write in a vacuum. You not only write for others, you write for yourself, and that process has to change you in some degree.

In an Our Little Books Writer's Workshop, we walk through connecting to your deeper self because before you can write for someone else, you have to know who you are. We talk about why YOU are specifically the one to write YOUR book. We spend a lot of time on stories because stories are the key to connecting you to someone else. We connect our stories to our passions and what we may be passionate about. We talk about publishing and spend time really defining who we are writing for (and it's not 'anyone breathing'!). We mind map our book, getting at least 10 chapter ideas to start. Throughout this whole process, we write, write and write. It is a writer's workshop after all!

What this process accomplishes is a much better understanding of who you are, how your stories connect you to everyone and how you can change someone's life with your book. That is a very powerful process. Going through that process can not help but change you in any number of ways, certainly the least of which is having you feel like a writer. Then you only have to take the next step and finish getting your book written!

Candace Davenport is a Writing Mentor and Publishing Consultant for Our Little Books. For those of you who would like to work with her 1 on 1 on how to write your book, or would like to explore how you can publish with Our Little Books, please contact her for a free consultation. For those interested in getting started writing, the next one-day Writer's Workshop will be on 5/16/15 in Alameda, CA.


How to Use Mind Mapping to Outline A Book

When I wrote my first book I used index cards. I wrote one element or idea on each card; such as, a topic, question, quotation, or a reference. Once I had all of my cards written, I sorted them into stacks of related topics. Within each stack, the cards were sorted into a logical order. Each stack eventually was a chapter in the book. Sometimes it was helpful to tack them on a bulletin board so that I could see them easily.   

A linear outline is often used listing the main topics with relevant information under each topic. From there you can form the paragraphs. The main topics could be the chapters in your books. This is more challenging for me since I am very visual and I don’t always see an immediate relationship to my ideas. I prefer to start with the cards and then move to a linear outline.

I recently came across mind mapping.  (The Mind Mapping expression is a registered trademark of Buzan Centres.) I have used the technique for several posts and a book that I am currently working on. A mind map is a perfect tool for a visual learner like me. I was using a form of mind mapping when I organized my cards on a bulletin board. It is easier to connect ideas and see what doesn’t fit or what should be moved to a new area. The more detail you include the easier it will be when compile your final document. The more you planning and research you do before you write the faster you will complete your book.


Diagram via flickr

Studies have shown that people don’t think in a linear manner. Thoughts often pop into our head and we jump from topic to topic. Mapping your thoughts will help you pull them together in an organized manner while cultivating your creativity. You can put all of your ideas down without worrying about how they fit together. Writing your ideas down in this way will lead you to think of unrelated ideas that may fit in another area.

Mind mapping is a fast way to create material because you write key words and ideas so when you sit down to write your ideas will already be organized. If you are organizing a lot of material for your book, mind mapping will make it easier to see your ideas and how they fit together. If you are suffering from writers block, mind mapping will stimulate creativity through brainstorming. Mind mapping is an effective way to start, organize and finish your book.

Windows has a free and premium version of mind mapping software. Of course you can find a more expensive version if you find it helpful. I have created my own mind map on paper or a dry erase board. 

How do you outline and organize your material for your book? Do you start with an outline or do you have another method?