Monday, November 22, 2010

What marries well with my writing?

When I read Damyanti's post on how cooking combines well with her writing career, I was wondering about what actually works for me. You may find this funny... I find my writing to be best when I am looking after a kid below a year old.

Sleepless nights patting and walking up and down with a wailing kid in my arms puts me into an 'artistic' coma the entire day that seems very feasible for my writing career. I land up with loads of fresh ideas and thoughts for stories and poems when I nurse my son in a half-dazed state. The only problem is with writing them down. Where's the time?

And, even if I do find the time... I lose out on the flow! Just as I am coming to an interesting part, the baby wakes up or wants to be picked or has had an explosion in his diaper. Distractions are just too many...

This is when I stumbled upon Tony Buzan's Mind-Mapping Strategy.

Image source : (Google Images)

According to wikipedia, a mind-map has been explained as follows:

'Mind maps are, by definition, a graphical method of taking notes. Their visual basis helps one to distinguish words or ideas, often with colors and symbols. They generally take a hierarchical or tree branch format, with ideas branching into their subsections. Mind maps allow for greater creativity when recording ideas and information, as well as allowing the note-taker to associate words with visual representations. Mind maps differ from concept maps in that mind maps focus on only one word or idea, whereas concept maps connect multiple words or ideas.
A key distinction between mind maps and modelling graphs is that there is no rigorous right or wrong with mind maps, relying on the arbitrariness of mnemonic systems. A UML Diagram or a Semantic network has structured elements modelling relationships, with lines connecting objects to indicate relationship. This is generally done in black and white with a clear and agreed iconography. Mind maps serve a different purpose: they help with memory and organisation. Mind maps are collections of words structured by the mental context of the author with visual mnemonics,and, through the use of colour, icons and visual links are informal and necessary to the proper functioning of the mind map.'

Also, Wikipedia gives guidelines to create mind maps:

'In his books on Mind Maps author Tony Buzan suggests using the following guidelines for creating Mind Maps:

1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
2. Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
4. Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
5. The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
7. Use multiple colors throughout the Mind Map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

This list is itself more concise than a prose version of the same information and the Mind Map of these guidelines is itself intended to be more memorable and quicker to scan than either the prose or the list.'

Image Source: Wikipedia

Now days, when I land up on a great idea, I mind-map it on a huge sketch pad. This way, at least it is down before I forget it. Then I work on it in peace whenever I have the time. The flow is also not disturbed as the mind-map is a beautiful visual reminder that gets me back to where I left. Why don't you try it out too...

Image Source: Wikipedia

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