This post offers an introductory guide to using “Mapmaking” outlining techniques to key in to what inspires you and extend it to become the foundation for your writing.
Here is a tip I have used in my own writing, and in writing workshops I’ve offered through my Centering Tools practice. It can jumpstart taking one idea which can then become your article/book, called Mapmaking:
Focus on your idea, and then settle back and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths.
1) Start With Establishing An Idea “Center”
Then consider a title that is just a phrase which describes your idea. Open your eyes and write that phrase in the center of a blank sheet of paper.
Continue putting all the thoughts which follow as further describing your idea, one thought at a time, anywhere they seem to want to “fit” on the same paper. Stay with this process until you feel complete with it for now.
2) See Your Diagram as a “Map Hologram”
Now settle back, close your eyes once more, and again take a couple of deep, cleaning breaths. Then open your eyes and view your “map”, taking all the time you need to “take it all in”.
Record, after you’ve finished, any additional insights that occur. If any of these involve additional ideas related to your “map”, put each one of those ideas as phrases wherever they seem to “fit” on it as well.
3) Let It Become Your First Draft
We can only be sustained creatively when we are imaginatively engaged in a “free flow” organic process…
Now look once more at your whole map, and put the number 1 with a circle around it by your center phrase/title. Then similarly number, in the order in which your ideas first came up, each “thought” on your map.
Now you can begin your first draft. Each consecutive numbered idea on your map will be each consecutive “chapter” that you will write – the chapters may be very short – or you may be surprised as you simply let your imagination playfully lead you into creating these mini-stories, to see how long they become!
4) Your Completion Forms the Foundation for Your Writing
When you’ve finished this draft, which will take some time – no need to do this in “one fell swoop” – read your “book”, and see where it all takes you as a reader. View this creative vision as your imaginary guide to then further develop your idea into a finished product!
We can only be sustained creatively when we are imaginatively engaged in a “free flow” organic process that manifests through its own order, based on how we inherently connect and relate one idea to the next, and so on. This engages us emotionally/passionately; and takes us beyond whatever may be stuck processes we may experience as writers, being able instead to feel we can “partner” with whatever core idea turns us on to begin with as the sustaining center of our writing.