Do you find yourself stuck? Are you finding it difficult to get your thoughts into words on paper? Are you unable to see the connections between your ideas on a topic? Did you make a good start on your paper but then ran out of ideas and don’t know where to go next? Are you unclear on your central theme?
One way to get your creative juices flowing and to get ‘unstuck’ is to make a Mind-Map. A Mind-Map requires you to use both sides of your brain – the creative, free-flowing, inspired ‘left-brain’ and the logical, analytical, organized ‘right-brain.’
In the process of making a Mind-Map you will place the results of your creative ‘brainstorming’ onto paper in such a way that – after you are done – you will see an emerging visual, colorful but also logical and organized pattern of ideas and connections between those ideas. This pre-writing exercise can spark insights into your topic and help you organize your writing.
1. Blank, unlined paper – the blank sides of scrap paper works fine
2. Colored pens, pencils, markers, crayons – whatever you have handy
The text below is reprinted from the tonybuzan.com Website. Tony Buzan developed the Mind Map in the sixties and wrote many articles and a book to explain and promote the technique.
1. Start in the CENTRE of a blank page turned sideways. Why? Because starting in the center gives your Brain freedom to spread out in all directions and to express itself more freely and naturally.
2. Use an IMAGE or PICTURE for your central idea. Why? Because an image is worth a thousand words and helps you use your Imagination. A central image is more interesting, keeps you focused, helps you concentrate, and gives your Brain more of a buzz!
3. Use COLOURS throughout. Why? Because colors are as exciting to your Brain as are images. Color adds extra vibrancy and life to your Mind Map, adds tremendous energy to your Creative Thinking, and is fun!
4. CONNECT your MAIN BRANCHES to the central image and connect your second- and third-level branches to the first and second levels, etc. Why? Because your Brain works by association. It likes to link two (or three, or four) things together. If you connect the branches, you will understand and remember a lot more easily.
5. Make your branches CURVED rather than straight-lined. Why? Because having nothing but straight lines is boring to your Brain.
6. Use ONE KEY WORD PER LINE. Why Because single key words give your Mind Map more power and flexibility.
7. Use IMAGES throughout. Why Because each image, like the central image, is also worth a thousand words. So if you have only 10 images in your Mind Map, it’s already the equal of 10,000 words of notes!