Why A Mind Map Just Might Save Your Life

I’m a guy.

I don’t like asking for directions, and maps are a kaleidoscopic distraction.

Real men find their way by putting their ear to the ground, picking up scents, and following whatever star happens to be in the sky.

The above sentence is bullshit, of course, unless you live with the Aborigines.

Truth is, maps can be extremely useful, and I sometimes forget the advantages of a good ol’ map when I’m planning a project, writing my novel, or trying to solve a problem.

I recently came across a post from a blogger who recommended storyboarding as a way to get a grip on your novel; you know, the technique used to plan scenes in movies. However, his suggestion, while good, was based on several color coded index cards with plot points, characters, revelations, etc. It seemed way too convoluted to me.

So I searched online for an alternative, a way to throw thoughts against the wall in a more organized way.

Lo and behold, I found Mind Meister. It’s a website that allows you to store mind maps online where you can retrieve them wherever and whenever you need them.

What’s a mind map? It’s a visual web of ideas that you can continually build upon. It’s like the old brainstorming exercises you did in school except this is actually useful. Take a look:

Pretty slick, eh? You can add sub ideas to a central idea and keep branching out from there.

You can put notes on each idea (like I did with Chapter 1), change the font and color of those ideas, and even add links and media to an idea (I wrote “idea” quite a bit in that last sentence, eh?).

I’m in the Free Basic program, which allows me only 3 mind maps, but I may just hop in and pay for a person account (about $49 a year).

Of course, mind maps could be used for anything you can imagine: art projects,  recipes, shopping lists, jokes. Mind Meister even provides templates for different needs like project plans, to-do lists, and more.

So far, I’m impressed, and since I don’t like planning out my novels in excruciating detail (I prefer to develop the story as a write), these little mind maps would be a perfect compliment to my style. I can fill in each idea in the mind map after I write them in my novel instead of beforehand to keep record of where my story is going.

Oh, and the saving your life part? Hmm. Well, um, if you stress out about planning your novel or you have an overwhelmingly big project to plan, then you risk raising your blood pressure. That’s bad. And, er, you might also . . . get angry at people around you who love you, and they might kill you.

The End.

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11 comments on “Why A Mind Map Just Might Save Your Life

  1. Thank you so much for this link. The notecard or notebook was just do disorganized for me. So I tried to keep it straight mentally and always forgot something major.

    • Always glad to help. The cool thing about this is that it’s cloud based, so you can work on it from wherever.

      It’s one of the main reasons why I use Dropbox for my documents too. Gotta love the convenience of being able to access your work even on your phone. 😛

  2. I love a happy ending! I am somewhere in between a plotter and a seat of the pantser, so a loose outline tends to work for me, but I will take a look at this link. I will confess that I’m a little technophobic, and new programs make me shiver, but I’m getting better at picking stuff up. I just learned how to create a link last week!

    This was a great post–very funny. I like your voice and look forward to your next post. Oh, yeah, and thanks for following Writing Between the Lines.

  3. I had my comment all typed out and then clicked away to view the site your rec’d and lost it! Bummmmmmer!

    This post made me laugh. Especially that bit about real men (solid line). And as a medical professional, I enjoyed that last paragraph thoroughly.

    Additionally, I need to look into this program. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants type of writer, but maybe this would help me keep my thoughts straight at least a little as I right. It’s made it into my read list on my computer. Thanks

  4. Pingback: A Problem of Perspective: Who’s On 1st? What’s on Third? « Mike_Reverb

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