Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to create a mind map

For last week's Blogging 101 assignment, we were asked to create a mind map for our blogs. It wasn't super hard, I plopped some lines, circles, and text onto a page and began labeling each of my thought categories. I did notice, though, that others seemed to struggle a bit with creating the structure of the mind map.

SO, along with the actual theory of mind mapping and why it's helpful, I'm going to post about how to actually get a pretty neat mind map onto your paper.

Why is a mind map helpful?
Do you ever sit down to blog and just CAN'T COME UP WITH ANYTHING? Then this will be helpful to you... Say that I want to blog about learning how to write (which I am), I don't have to constrain myself to JUST learning how to write, I can actually post samples of my writing, I can blog about the other sides of writing that don't get as much attention (editing, getting an agent, writing query letters, things to consider during publishing, marketing, etc.)

How do you get started?
Easy. Start with a circle in the middle of the page with your blog topic.

My topic is writing YA fiction. Actually, mine is more like a Venn Diagram. I want to write about writing, I want to write about YA fiction, and I want to write about writing YA fiction. So now I'm going to brainstorm topics around the three categories.
Writing: Short stories, editing, publishing, things I'm learning
YA Fiction: Book reviews, authors, movies
Writing YA Fiction: Excerpts and short stories from my own books, challenges around writing YA fiction
Expand on these a little bit and play with the shapes and lines until it looks good to you and you get something like this.
Okay, I get it, but how do I actually get those shapes on the page?

I did mine in Microsoft Word, there are several tools out there that are much more efficient, but this is easy and simple, so I did it this way. To get the shapes (circles and lines), at the top of your Microsoft Word document and click Insert --> Shapes --> Select your shape. Draw the shape (you can adjust the size and dimensions of your shape by dragging the ends/corners/circumference of the shape. Once you get a circle on the page, click the shape --> right click on it --> select "Add Text"

You can rearrange your shapes by dragging them, you may have to play around with this until you figure out which drags adjust the shape and which drags move the shape, but you'll get it.

To adjust the color of your text, the outline of the shapes, or the fill of the shapes, click on one of the shapes and a "Format" tab will appear on top, click on that and you will see options such as shape fill, text fill, shape outline, text outline. Click on one of these to adjust the color!

It may take some playing with if you're not familiar with using shapes in Word, but ultimately you'll get a mind map that you can adjust easily and looks nice!

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