Using Maps to Enable and Improve Writing
In the last week or so, I have had a strange (but entirely positive) chain of events that have highlighted how some people are using mapping (and specifically MindManager) to help the process of creative writing. Seeing as I had previously never really considered using mapping in this way, I thought it would be worth talking about it a bit here as it may get a few more people thinking about how to write the novel they have always had inside them!!
I had not previously considered MindManager as a creative writing tool, probably because my experience of the programme started at university (where I used it for analytical essay writing) and then moved into a business and project planning tool (for the creation of Biggerplate). Despite the amount of creative thought gathering, brainstorming, idea development etc I had done with the software, it never really occurred to me that people could be using it to assist them in writing novels.
A short sequence of events over the last week or so has very quickly made me realise I was missing something quite significant!!
First of all, Dermot McCabe emailed us to ask for a to be added to the library. Sure that we had already originally included it, I was surprised to discover such a glaring omission from our map categories. We immediately added the category, and Dermot immediately uploaded a number of very interesting maps onto the site that help people with things like , , etc, all of which can be viewed at , and also on Dermot's site
Shortly after, as I looked at the analytics for our site, I noticed a little spike of traffic coming from a site called , where I discovered a number of map examples from Michelle who was writing an article on . I thoroughly recomend taking a look at this post, if only to learn about the concept of a "Pod Novel", the one you write before your proper novel, which you know you will hide under the bed or in a drawer forever!
Less than a day after this discovery, Tom Evans then kindly uploaded his map (with my favourite map title so far) which he uses to help writers deal with creative blocks. Tom's site is all about unleashing the book inside you, and there are a great many tips to help you along, whether you are trying to get off the blank page, or trying to finish your masterpiece!
All in all, these three people/sites really made me think about what a useful tool mapping must be for those trying to write creatively. Personally, I have never really felt I have a book inside me, I can barely make it through most books (as any of my friends or school teachers will testify) let alone dedicate the time and effort to writing one! But as soon as I started to read these posts/websites, and exploring the maps, it became extremely clear to me how useful maps must be for this process; the gathering of thoughts, the organisation of structure, the gathering of research, and the explorative nature of the map format. All serve to greatly enhance the imaginative process, whilst continuing to hold it all together in a usable structure that can be developed into the final product: Your Epic!