One of the best brainstorming techniques is the mind map. A versatile tool, you can use it on your own or with a partner, or as part of a group of people. This is because a mind map is a collection of associated words or phrases created from a single word or phrase. That’s an over simplification of course. All you do is write down a word or phrase. Then you circle it. Then try to come up with more words and phrases that you associate with the initial word or phrase. It’s a great method to use to generate ideas when when you need one.
There are several mind mapping apps out there. I can’t speak for phone apps, but android has good number of them. I have used Word’s drawing feature to do a mind map. It transfers between my phone and laptop with ease. When creating a mind map on the computer, though, I use Scapple. The people who gave us Scrivener, which I also use, created that software. This software has several advantages, including copying the notes you write. You can import it into the scrivener file as well. It’s drawback is the lack of an android version for my phone. But, it does have an app for the iPhone or iPad. You can use it for mind mapping, character creation and plotting. The easiest and cheapest way to mind map is with pen and paper. Or a dry erase board. It’s easy to do
No matter how you do it, or what tool you use to do it, mind mapping is one of the best tools you can have in your writing tool box. It’s also one of the easiest to use and format. You can put your initial word or phrase in the center and surround it with the associated words and phrases. You can put them on the side of the paper and send the associations to the other side of the paper. If you wanted to, you could color code your associations.
The mind map is an individualized tool. Its output is unique to each person who creates one. Once you get the basic thought down. You follow it with the associated ideas, you can pick and choose the best ones in the mind map.
Make no mistake, you will not get all terrific ideas. There will be a mix of them, good and bad. It’s going to be your choice. The goal here is to generate the ideas. The best way to do that is to list all the ideas, good and bad. Save the judgments until you finish the mind map. Then look at each idea and judge it on its merits. That way, you can weed out the ridiculous. That narrows your choices down to the one that you feel will work the best.
Creating a mind map is useful, easy and cheap. You don’t need expensive software or apps. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. If you have a mind, you can map it. Try it. It works.