If you want to learn how to write a book outline, mind mapping is better than linear outlining because authors can use flexible thinking and creativity for their book outline. One can add and subtract a thought or phrase from a mind map easily. This is an excellent way to start, organize, and finish your book–fast!
Mind mapping 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 or chapter title.
For “The One-Minute Sales Person”, Spencer’s mind map would have had seven different colored vertical branches coming from that center, so details can be put on connected horizontal branches. For most of us, mind maps are easier to read than the typical list outlines. For all of my 14 business books for authors and small businesses, I mind mapped each book title in one mind map of 20″ by 36″ and others of 8 1/2″ by 11″ of each chapter title and its related chapter titles. I taped them to my office walls where I could see them every day. Then, I could add on new points, and clarify other key words on the branches coming from the middle subject.
No more squeezing new “aha’s” or ideas into the strict, tight form of the linear outline. You can make mistakes in your mind maps. Imperfection leads to creativity. When you get an idea for chapter one, you can just add another branch off the main one. Mind mapping expands flexible thinking that makes for better writing.
These key words help jog our memory. Under Chapter One “Attracting Passion,” I added several horizontal lines that represented the format 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.”
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.
Your thesis, chapter titles, and 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. Mind maps makes each book more organized, more focused and clearer, easier to read, and finally, brings more sales because people can understand the information quickly and easily.
Use a large sheet of paper, at least 8 ½ 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 book 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, place a few key words. Use only one color per branch. Off each main branch, put five or so color coded horizontal branches of particular chapter parts. (One chapter=one color of main line and those connected to it.
Even though you later change your mind about the contents, this initial mind map gives you the overall picture of what your book is and what it will share with its readers. I made several mind maps of my Passion book before I settled on the best information to include.
Practice: Create your book’s mind map on a separate large piece of paper.
Practice: Create one chapter’s mind map on a separate piece of paper now.
Practice: Create the rest of the chapter’s mind maps on other separate pieces of paper.
Wow! You are up to speed. You have your thesis–what challenge your book will solve, your chapter working titles, your rough draft evolving with a Table of Contents, and you have questions to answer in each chapter.
Mind mapping is an excellent way to start, organize, and finish your book.
Need free help writing a book? Want the tools and skills necessary to start your book now to promote your business and brand yourself?
Judy Cullins, 25 year veteran book coach who has published over 14 books to help authors make profits including “Write your eBook or Other Short Book Fast “and “LinkedIn Marketing–8 Best Tactics to Build Book and Business Sales.” She has coached over 80 authors to publish, and 1000′s to market their books with social media and blog writing. Join her site to receive free weekly fresh tips.
Published by Judy Cullins