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Mindmapping - Another Way to Outline Your Book
Judy Cullins
2001

What is Mindmapping?

Mindmapping is a color-coded outline of main ideas, sub topics and details, printed on different colored branches connected to the center. In the center in a circle, you will list your main idea, such as your book's title. For The One-Minute Sales Person, Spencer's mindmap would have had seven different colored vertical branches coming from that center, so details can be put on connected horizontal branches. (much easier to read)

What are the advantages of Mindmapping?

First, a mindmap is open-ended and open-minded. No more squeezing new "ahas" or ideas into the strict, tight form of the linear outline. You can make mistakes in your mindmaps. Imperfection leads to creativity. When you get an idea for chapter one, you can just add another branch off the main one. Mindmapping expands flexible thinking, making for better writing.

Second, mindmaps use only three to five concrete or color words on a branch. These key words help jog our memory. Under Chapter One "Attracting Passion," I added several horizontal lines that represented the content that follows. One line had "opening quote," the next one "introduction," the next one "Jerry's Story," the next "Food for Thought and Action," the next, "Passion Hot Line," the last line, "practice."

Third, mindmaps speed up your writing because you only write key phrases. When you sit down at the computer, from your color-coded map, the answers will flow naturally. If you need to fatten up your chapter, just go to your chapter file folders where you keep your research.

Fourth, in mindmaps you see the whole related to the parts. Your thesis, chapter titles, chapter contents all flow because you answered each question your readers had. This fast-forward technique allows me to write at least two or three books each year, and makes each book more organized, more focused and clear, easier to read, and finally brings more sales because people can understand the information quickly and easily.

For a picture of a mindmap of "Your Book's Format" click here!

How Do I Create My Mindmap?

Use a large sheet of paper, at least 8 by 11 inches, but I recommend a large square of butcher paper or poster board, so you can spread out and enjoy the process! Have at least six or seven colored felt-tip pens in primary and bright colors ready.

In the center, encircle your title. Arrange your chapter headings, each on a different colored vertical branch, around the center in any order (you can number them later) If you can't think of a title, put a few key words. Use only one color per branch. Off each main branch, put five or so other horizontal branches of particular chapter parts.

Even though you later change your mind about the contents, this initial mindmap gives you the overall picture of what your book is and what it will share with its readers. I made several mindmaps of my Passion book before I settled on the best information to include.

Practice: Create your book's mindmap on a separate piece of paper

Practice: Create one chapter's mindmap on a separate piece of paper now.

Wow! You are up to speed. You have your thesis and main question to answer, your chapter working titles, your rough draft evolving with a Table of Contents, and you have questions to answer in each chapter.
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Judy Cullins: author, publisher, book coach
Author of Ten Non-techie Ways to Market Your Book Online
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