Mind Mapping for Rich Creativity

Hello Writers and Creators,

Brainstorming is a critical piece of writing and creativity.  Mind mapping is one of the best ways I know to brainstorm effectively and quickly.

You can use the traditional pencil and paper for mind mapping, but if you want to be even faster, and have a neat presentation that you can use easily to develop your product you can use an app.  There are various apps that can be used for mind mapping, my favorite and the one I use regularly is Scapple.

On Scapple your mind maps are customizable, flexible, and you’ll have endless space, as well as the ability to create as many mind maps as you’d like.

Here is a quick and simple example:

Scapple is made by Literature & Latte, the maker of the amazing Scrivener.  It is available for $17.99 on the Apple App Store if you a Mac user here:

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/scapple/id568020055?mt=12


One of the great features of Scapple, is it’s seamless compatibility with Scrivener.  More on that next time.


Do you use mind mapping?  Let me know how it helps you in your writing?  

Thinking Like a Writer

It sits on my desk, keeps me company, and it’s one of the best and most inspirational books I’ve read.  Bird by Bird by the amazing Anne Lamott provides “Some Instructions on Writing and Life.”  

Besides Anne’s amazing insights that come from real writing and life experience (seasoned with fantastic humor), I found the book helpful when I am stuck, when I am not sure a particular morning of writing is going too well.  In fact, most mornings are difficult, hard to wrap my head around the writing.  When that happens, Bird by Bird is one of several books I open, read a few lines, and I’m back on track.

If I cannot possibly get back on track, even after reading those lines, and no matter what I try, simply does not work, and I see my fingers hover over the keyboard, muted.  Then I take one of her pieces of advice that are just genius. They really work!  

One of the most insightful revelations for me was about when things don’t go well, and how it’s just ok sometimes to do something else, until your thoughts settle enough and you can go back to your work, all refreshed and ready.  The ideas sometimes come when you don’t expect them too, on a walk, while taking a bath.  And then you have this moment in which you run to your desk, because something happens in your brain that simply cannot wait, you put it down on an index card, and…  You’re on track again.

Anne’s advice about index cards has been the most life changing for me.  I buy them in bulk now, different colors, I love the 4×6 size, and I just scribble away whatever comes to my mind.  You just never know when you’ll use it, or where it would lead.

So if you are like me, you get stuck often, you stare at your computer screen or notebook, and nothing happens.  It may not help to tell you not to panic, but it might help you to open Anne’s book and read a few lines.  The ideas will flow, your fingers will type words and sentences, Bird by Bird, you’ll get your writing done.

“One of the things that happens when you give yourself permission to start writing is that you start thinking like a writer. You start seeing everything as material.” ~Anne Lamott

7 Things to Inspire your Writing

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else.”
Gloria Steinem

 

A dark smokey morning welcomes me, eerie and quiet, an orange halo wraps around my city. It’s been six months since the initial shelter-in-place order, followed by alternately relaxing and tightening the guidelines; I am no longer able to keep track of those. I drag myself out of bed and walk into the kitchen where my husband hands me a hot cup of coffee in a red mug, the word love is scribbled on it with soft white letters. The warm liquid revives my senses, I rely on it now more than usual to whisk myself into my work.

At my desk, still wearing my pajamas, my brain feels dull, the blinking cursor an endless reminder that I am at a loss for words, any words. Normal life may not return until 2021. Dr. Fauci’s words ring in the room like a nagging mosquito, invisible, whistling in my ear. On the edge of town, people are being evacuated to safety, some will never return home, fear is a normal part of our lives. We fear the virus, we fear the fires, the once-in-a-generation afflictions. I turn on Mozart Requiem, I don’t know what else to listen to while I’m trying to settle my mind. Mozart is reliable, promising concentration, but not too much stimulation. After six months of working from home without more than grocery store curbside pickup once a week, I miss the occasional eavesdropping in my favorite hipsterish neighborhood cafe, a steamy latte next to my open laptop, waiting for that one word from the adjoining table that will jump start my verbal exploration. But today, those small ordinary artist dates like taking myself to the art museum or a mindful stroll in the neighborhood have halted in the distant past. Our lives simulate a scene from Don DeLillo’s postmodern novel White Noise. A sigh escapes into the room, mixes with the laments of Mozart’s vocal lines , I take the last sip of coffee to rid myself of the smoke that settled in my throat, in spite of the shuttered house.

My brain is uncooperative, the routines of my morning ineffective, my fingers are frozen on the keyboard, even my expensive fountain pen reserved for such an occasion is not doing the trick. Outside, ash falls from the darkness, flakes of dreariness get lost in a chasm of denials. Requiem mourns the loss of logic. I need to switch gears, to escape a reality that is more bizarre than the fiction I will write today. I am depleted of my creative vitality, craving an external source of replenishment to breathe life into my work. And so I shuffle my index cards, a well of ideas to choose from (click on the images):

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My fingers are in position on the keyboard, energized, ready to go. I write, I print, I love the scraping sound of my pencil scribbling frantically on my WIP. Requiem’s dramatic final note resounds with a proclamation, the darkness and the rain of ashes stay out of my work for a little while, long enough to write a word, a paragraph, a page.

Photo on Visual Hunt