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Mind Maps in Action: Mapping for Writers

In this 'Mind Maps in Action' story, we talk to author Tom Evans about his use of mind maps in his own writing work, and the potential benefits for other writers.

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I am an author, writer’s unblocker and the creator of Living Timefully, a time management programme with mindfulness at its core.

How were you first introduced to mind maps?

I went on a course run by Andrew Wilcox on Mind Manager and got hooked. I was drawn though to the progenitor of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan, and trained as an iMindmap Instructor.

What do you perceive to be the greatest benefit of their use?

I like them because they get both hemispheres of the brain working on the same task at the same time - i.e. Whole Brain Thinking. The analogy I give in my talks is this.

The left brain says, “Aha, a map! I do the navigation around here, leave this to me.”

Then, seeing that the left brain is busy, the right then sneaks under its radar and is allowed to do what it does best by seeing the whole vision.

What role do mind maps play in your life and work now?

Every creative task I do starts with a Mind Map. I map out any talk or workshop I am working on. My personal and business goals are all mapped visually. Perhaps a little geeky, but bigger shopping lists and DIY tasks get mapped too!

What do you think are the best uses of mind maps for writers, and why?

I use them for all aspects of the life cycle of a book writing project. Initially, I will map out my goals for the book and an outline of the marketing plan. I also map the profile and demographics for my ideal target readers.

Next I map out all the themes and ideas I want to explore in the book. This is free form and often this is hyperlinked to research. Then I create a storyboard with the reader in mind. This is the journey I will take the reader on and it works equally well for fiction and non-fiction.

Then when the book is finished, I use a Mind Map to list all my tasks to get the book into publication and out to the market. Each task gets a nice tick when I’ve completed it so I have the whole plan captured in one image.

What is your proudest achievement that has been enabled or assisted by mapping?

I was stuck when writing a chapter of a new book so I did a free association Mind Map based on some key words. I documented the process in more detail in this blog :

http://blog.thinkbuzan.com/imindmap/light-bulb-moments-mind-mapping-for-inspiration

As a result of that map, I ended up writing two spin off books that I hadn’t planned and creating a whole portfolio of online personal development tools that I didn’t plan to create. That one map has led to a whole business model, which means nowadays my income is mainly created from online revenues. Thank you Tony Buzan as this leaves me free to write and create even more.

Would you like to add anything else?

Yes, I recorded a visualisation that takes any Mind Map and embeds it in the visual cortex at the back of our brains. This makes it easier to remember and helps us spot information and serendipities associated with the map.

It’s available by clicking here.

A huge thank you to Tom for sharing his experiences with us! Find out more about Tom Evans, his books, online courses and trainings by clicking here. You can also follow Tom on Twitter.

If you have a mind maps in action story you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you! Get in touch via Twitter, or by commenting below.

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Barney is Community Manager at Biggerplate and shares user stories, mind mapping tips, and other news and updates from our global member community!
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