Why authors should use Mind Maps

I use Mind Mapping daily to organise, store and expand my thought processes. My current novel exists as a wall sized mind map which I add to as new research and knowledge comes my way.

Mind Map templateSo when I started mentoring authors, it was only natural I used them – both over the Internet using desktop sharing and in the workshop using good old paper and coloured pencils.

It got me thinking though as to why they were so good as tools in the creative process & here’s what came to me.

Mind Maps are about more than just getting your thoughts down on paper in an organic fashion.

The left hemisphere is known as the logical controlling part of the brain – it has it’s uses but can suppress the creative right hemisphere. Perhaps it does this like the devil on the shoulder whispering internally things like, “Don’t be stupid, no-one will want to read your book.” or “When are you going to find time to write?”.

Mind mappingWhen presented with a Mind Map, the left brain can be tricked into thinking that there’s a logical problem to tackle and may say, “I like structure, let me deal with that.”

The right brain can then seize it’s moment and while the left brain is busy analysing the size, shape and detail of the map, it can unleash it’s full creativity – sort of under the radar.

What actually happens is slightly less subversive. The map encourages the two hemispheres to operate in harmony – in ‘whole brain thinking’. When the map is complete, you get even more benefits.

The map itself becomes not only committed to memory but is actually stored in the brain as a neural pathway.

This pathway radiates out to the cosmic mind with it’s full intention and then the coincidences and enlightenments start to happen ….. and where it gets really funky is when you embed your timeline into the map – more on both of these subjects later …

Click here to get a mind map that describes this article diagramatically

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If you are interested in mind mapping and want to do it on computer, I use and recommend iMindmap which is available as a free trial download for both PC, Linux and Mac

Download a trial version here

How to remove writer’s block in two days

The Book InsideBudding authors in Guildford are invited to join a unique workshop which promises to give them the tools to start their book within two days, and help kick-start a new career as a published author.

The innovative workshop, Unleash the Book Inside You, is being delivered for the fifth time in the area by author, poet and mentor Tom Evans on the 20-21st October in Guildford.

Tom created this successful workshop with the aim of helping would-be authors overcome some of the commonest obstacles to launching their career, the difficulty focusing the mind and the dreaded writer’s block.

Tom said, “They say there’s a book in everyone but, for most people, the thought of writing their best seller is so daunting they simply never start. Another reason people don’t pick up their pen is because they think they simply don’t have the time. There is a way though. The human mind is so powerful that your book can virtually write itself without your conscious control.”

He became fascinated with the phenomena of the ‘light bulb moment’ which set him on the creative road to publishing success. As an engineer, he started to research where they came from and how the mind generates them.

With what he then learned, he discovered how he can teach others so they can tap into those precious and magical ‘light bulb moments’.

He said, “The key to getting your book to write itself is to engage in “whole brain thinking”. Tom uses mind maps extensively to help authors synchronise both brain hemispheres. The left hemisphere is great at being logical and saying things like “don’t be stupid, you don’t have time to write a book and who would be interested in reading it anyway?”

“By mind mapping, this logical left hemisphere is kept happy as it has a structure to deal with. The right hemisphere can then unleash its creative juices while the left is kept busy. “

“With both hemispheres working in harmony, authors are then helped even further by introducing them to guided meditations to quieten the conscious mind and give them access to their unconscious.”

With the whole mind working in harmony, Tom then weaves some more magic to get the authors to tap into inspiration.

The whole process, which can sometimes include techniques such as Time Line Therapy and even Past Life Regression, helps authors find their guiding motivation, book title, plot lines and ‘words that write themselves.

The positive feedback to date for the course has been outstanding.

One client summed up the experience thus, “There is no other way to write a book. Tom injects a certain magic to the whole process. From thinking I couldn’t write a book to suddenly finding the words flowing was fantastic. An excellent balance of structure and creativity. Loads of practical info on how to write and get published.”

Details and registration here

Note that the workshop is also available as a correspondence course at the same price – and the course can of course be taken anywhere in the world.

The spirit of collaboration

An increasing number of people are going it alone, leaving the supposed safety of corporate life and setting up shop by themselves.

Either they practice their corporate skill in a private setting or do something completely tangential like setting up a surf shop or feng shui practice for dog’s kennels.

Either way, working for yourself can be a lonely existence. No water cooler at which to bitch about customers, suppliers or fellow employees. No gossip and no shoulder for support in times of strife.
When you are delivering your product or service, you’re not spinning the sales and marketing plate – and vice versa.

When you come up with that “Great Idea”, you may be daunted by the size and scale of the opportunity. It’s better to have 25% of something big than 100% of something small or non-existent.

Great idea
These are situations where collaboration comes into its own. Collaboration allows small, medium and micro businesses to think and act big.
One such collaboration was a book called BusinessWise that shot to the number 2 position for business books on Amazon when it came out. In itself, it’s a collaboration too – with one chapter each written by 20 authors.
The brain child of Andy Coote and Mindy Gibbins-Klein of Ecademy Press – again a collaborative business that in itself sprang from a rich resource of potential collaborators – the Ecademy social business network.
Here’s what one reader said about it:

“It’s great to get a perspective from so many contributors who write such “easy to understand” yet “extremely informative” words. My favourite chapter is “The Spirit of Collaboration” by Tom Evans. His words of wisdom make so much sense to me . . it almost feels like he knows my own thoughts really well. This is definitely a “MUST BUY” book for anyone with a small business and BIG ambitions. “Karen Maskall, Ecademy


Read this sample chapter and introduction to the book to find out how you can work smart by collaborating.
Download your complimentary copy of The Spirit of Collaboration here

And if you like it and want to read loads more gems of wisdom, buy a copy of the book here

Embedding Personal Timelines in Mind Maps

Each of us operates in a three dimensional world. Our sense of up and down, backwards and forwards and left and right is embedded deep in our neurology and something we share with most of the animal kingdom. In evolutionary terms.

This sense must have evolved millions of years ago, probably in sea life that had more need for a 3-D map of the world than us land based creatures.

With the appearance of our conscious minds and our self awareness, a sense of time emerged that was not just linked to the diurnal rising of the Sun and Moon or the seasons. It’s probable that this facility is just a million or so years old. The fact that ancient astronomers could make amazing forward predictions like predicting the precession of the equinoxes means that is must have been fairly advanced by the time we came down from the trees. It’s possible that homo sapiens is alone in having this facility but perhaps a sense of the future, and the past, is something we share with elephants and cetaceans. This is a sense of time not to be confused with your dog simply wanting to go for a walk.

TimelinesWe not only have this sense of time but it appears we map it into our spatial dimensions. If you close your eyes and imagine where your past is, you are likely to say either behind or to the left of you. Or somewhere between, perhaps pointing downwards or upwards too or even in a three dimensional cone. Likewise, most people say that their future is to the front or right of them. Note that other strange spiral or reversed timelines also crop up.

Several therapeutic techniques, such as Timeline Therapy®, make use of this phenomenon. You can take a person back into their past to help clear current emotional issues relating to past experiences. Psychological trauma also occurs while in the womb. If the therapist is so trained, this doesn’t even have to be limited solely to this lifetime.

Likewise, you can take a client into the future, get them to anchor the feeling of achieving a goal or success and then bring them back to the present. This seems to somehow entangle the present with the future and help people reach said goal. Amazing transformations can be made by a skilled practitioner using these techniques.

In our writing workshop and home study course, we make use of the tendency of the brain to encode time into our spatial awareness when constructing any time-based mind maps.

For example, when an author needs to change their schedule to generate time (or is it space?) to write, we find it useful to put the goals and change in behaviour into the position on the map corresponding with their future and past as seen in their personal timeline.

Using our visualisation techniques, the resulting map seems to embed itself into not only the memory, as all maps do, but into the neurology actually encouraging the behavioural change necessary to generate quality writing time.

yourtimeline_450

Other map layouts suit other time based activities. For example, if you are project planning a sequence of milestones, where there is no real emotional context, a clock face map seems easy to commit to memory.

For details of our writing workshops and home study courses, click here