26: Mind Maps for Authors

Mind maps are a powerful way to think about story writing, so today, we are looking at mind mapping software for writers.

https://www.coggle.it

https://www.ayoa.com

https://www.mindmeister.com

Links:

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Three Story Method Certified Editor

KathreseMcKee.com

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YourFirstChapter.com

Transcript
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Authors are thinking all the time about their writing about

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marketing strategies about their next book, but we frequently overlook

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one of the best tools we have for thinking clearly

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for thinking about all the details we need to remember

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and that is mind maps. So today, in episode 26

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of writing pursuits, we're going to talk about mind maps

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for authors. Welcome to the writing pursuits podcast where authors

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like you discuss writing, craft, author life and book marketing

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strategies. I'm your host, Katherine's Mckee. I own writing pursuits

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and write and produce the weekly newsletter. Writing pursuits tips

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for authors. In addition, I am a speculative fiction author.

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Writing pursuits is for authors who drink too much coffee,

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endure judgmental looks from their furry writing companions and struggle

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for words. If you are a writer seeking encouragement, information

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and inspiration. This podcast is for you. Let's get to

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it. Hey, writing pursuits authors Welcome back to the podcast.

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To those of you who are new. I want to

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extend a special welcome. My name is Katherine Mckee and

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I'm glad you're here. Please leave a comment of star

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rating and follow the show to help others find writing

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pursuits. I will do my best to communicate on this

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visual topic in this audio format of the podcast. However,

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if you want to see what I'm talking about, then

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go to www dot writing pursuits dot com forward slash

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podcast forward slash 26 you will find a link for

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the Youtube episode. See you there today. We're gonna talk

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about what a mind map is. We're gonna discuss reasons

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to use mind maps and cover some ways. Authors can

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use them to their advantage. We're gonna go over the

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pros and cons of paper and digital mind maps, check

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out a few digital options and then end with a

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few tips for using using mind maps. And the first

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thing we need to do is describe what a mind

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map is so that everybody is on board and you've

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probably seen them, you may have even used them if

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you've been a student in the last few years. I

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did not grow up using mind maps but I think

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they're a great idea. They very much go with brain

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science and use it to our advantage. So a mind

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map is simply a graphical representation of related ideas and

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topics around a central topic. So the central topic for

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this mind map is Mind maps usually traditionally has bubbles

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like this one. Right here. Lines connecting things together, drawings

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or doodles. I have embellished this mind map with art

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and they are hierarchical in nature just by the way

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they are drawn. So you start with a central idea.

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You come up with big ideas around that and then

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you break those big ideas into smaller ideas and keep

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branching until you're done. So suggested direction is clockwise. That's

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kind of a tradition. Start at one o'clock and work

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around to 12 and there you go, that's what a

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mind map is. Now, let's go over reasons to use

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mind maps first. it's fun that can't be overemphasized. Who

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wants to outline? It is more engaging than writing words

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with numerals and letters in a strict formal list and

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people love to doodle when you're using a paper format,

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it's easy to doodle when you're using a digital format.

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It's a little more intentional, It is more fun. It

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boosts memory and recall. Humans think in imagery, not printed

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words. Use that to your advantage, studying and revising my

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maps, racist retention by 10-15% according to a couple of

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studies. Mind mapping helps you learn new concepts by providing

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context and connections and strengthening the depth of understanding my

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maps break down complex ideas great for planning and if

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this improves structure, work is more coherent, you're literally connecting

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the dots, improves productivity, especially in a team setting, you

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brainstorm faster, think efficiently, communicate effectively and when it comes

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time to present your ideas, makes the presentations more dynamic,

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brings concepts to life and increases credibility. And finally it's

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more flexible than an outline because you're just drawing links

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between ideas with the digital software, you can move stuff

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around very easily. It's non linear in nature. So when

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an idea occurs to you and you don't know where

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to put it, you can just write it off to

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the side and then plug it in later revision. Izzy's

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it encourages creativity. So those are the reasons to use

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mind maps and they're very powerful. Let's go over some

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uses of mind maps for authors. These are just things

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like brainstormed. Um there are probably hundreds more characters. So

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if you're going to map out your characters, you can

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talk about their goals and motivations, their wants, their needs,

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their physical attributes, and anything else that you think of

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related to. Your characters, settings and world building, culture, history,

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technology, language names, clothing, etcetera, all the things you put

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into your settings structure. If you're a plotter, this is

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particularly applicable. Um you could use your three act structure

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and map it out, Snowflake plotting, hero's or heroine's journey,

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three story method. You could do all of those things

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or none of them just depending on who you are

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and what you like to do marketing plans. Sometimes these

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are really dry, hard work for people to do and

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I can see putting in all kinds of artwork, links

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to things that you like for promotions, launches, ad campaigns,

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your social media campaigns, all the things that you need

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to to do in your business. But I tend to

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put off so use mind maps for marketing plans. Thinking

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things through. This has been a very big value for

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me this week. I've gone through a lot of my

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systems and the way I do things mind map them

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out and had some very big moments of clarity. So

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it's been very valuable exercise for me. Content planning. Yes,

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well, but need, need we say more your content calendar

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could go in here and lastly collaboration. So I think

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it would be very fun to have a partner or

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a team to collaborate with and to to map it

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out on a mind map and have good discussions around

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that and bring together some plans. That really makes sense

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to everybody. And then people could use the mind map

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as a point of reference to stay on track. Anyway,

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those are some uses for mind maps for authors. Let's

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compare paper versus digital mind maps, you can always do

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both. Paper is readily available and so that is one

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of its pros is it's there, it goes anywhere. And

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also handwriting information helps with retention. So that is a

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big plus. If you're a student, it enables doodling and

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artistic expression only limited by your ability and really who

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cares, as long as you can remember the information cons

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of paper is the canvas is automatically limited to the

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paper size that you're using, paper is fragile, it's easily

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lost, easily torn, you can smudge it, you can get

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it wet etcetera. If you put it on a corkboard,

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people might think you're making a conspiracy board or a

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murder map, but I'm only sort of kidding. It is

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harder to make copies, edit and revise a paper. Mind

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map for digital. The pros are, it's easy to create

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and revise. You have an unlimited canvas. Usually you can

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decorate it with art links, notes, no artistic ability required.

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Digital my mats are great for presentations. They permit collaboration

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and in fact they enable collaboration. That's a big plus,

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templates are usually available in digital apps. The cons of

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digital mind maps are that you need online access. It

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is not as engaging as doodling by hand. So it's

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more like work, it's not as much fun in some

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ways. In some ways it because it's easier, it might

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be more fun to you. You get what you pay

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for and what I mean by that is in the

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various applications, the pricing tends to include or exclude based

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on the privacy of your mind maps. The number of

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boards you get the themes that are available types of

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mind maps. Like if it's speedy organic or radio. Like

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we we discussed in the other topic, export formats and

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how many templates are available? So those are the cons

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of digital mind maps. That's how these two compare. Neither

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one is necessarily better. It just depends on your situation

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and what you're trying to accomplish. Okay, as I talked

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about earlier, we're going to go to look at some

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of the digital options. One of them is Kagle more

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expensive one is AOA and this one you're looking at

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is Mind meister will come back to it. So let's

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switch over to Kagle. Kagle is a good beginner package.

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Um it's less expensive than the others as you see

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on the right here. They have some shortcut keys, all

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the packages seem to have that. So that's a good

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way. The good thing to learn to make your work

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easier and faster. Let's go look at a o for

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a minute AOA has an option, I didn't find anywhere

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else. And that is a radio map which is kind

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of cool for demonstration purposes. This is the speed map

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view and as you can see, I have customized it

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a little bit. Let's scroll out a little bit. So

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this is the whole thing, it's quite large. Let's go

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to the organic view. That's kind of nice. It looks

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just like it says to me, it looks like arteries

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or nerves diagrams or something like that. And then back

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to the radio view, let's see if it fixed, it's

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little memory problems. Yes, there we go. So now we

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have the seven universal conflicts, it is more expensive, it

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has a lot more functionality. Um you may not need

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it. I found that I liked Mind Meister the best.

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So we're going to switch to that. One of the

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reasons I like Mind Meister is they have this little

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theme button over here with several different themes, both light

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and dark. This is the default is called Mind Meister

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Meister theme and then they have the dark Meister theme

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and as you can see I have decorated this one

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up with icons and a photo for the central idea

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and a hand drawn mind map and then they have

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some quite beautiful themes. Here's one called a Quarrel which

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is beautiful. Maybe my favorite is black board which looks

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like white chalk on a blackboard. And then when you

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expand, let me get rid of this. When you expand

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it looks handwritten. So that's really pretty. One other thing

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it has the others don't that I didn't find anywhere

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else anyway is a way to display it in a

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different way. So you can see it as an orc

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chart and then you can expand downward or as a

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line ah sorry a list which is like an outline

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and you can keep going down the page like that

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and then it has several ways to export your mind

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map. So you can export it as a portable as

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well as a pdf or as an a rich text

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file or a Microsoft word PowerPoint image. You can also

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print it so I find that this one meets my

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needs more than meets my needs. And I have been

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pulling it up multiple times this week just to doodle

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around in there and figure stuff out. And it's been

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a big help. So by all means go out and

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test a lot of them. Most of them do have

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a free trial. So give them a try and get

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my mapping. Finally, let's go over a few tips for

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using mind maps for creating them. The very first thing

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you need to know is that you need to zero

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in on a central idea once you have your central

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idea, as in this case it's mind maps. Then you

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can begin branching, let the ideas flow, just brainstorm green

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light, everything, put it out there. If you don't know

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where it connects, just leave it hovering out there on

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the periphery, then move stuff around. Keep branching until you

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exhaust your topic and then edit, connect maps if necessary.

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If one topic leads to another that needs to be

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explored, then you can link the maps together. I encourage

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you to try mind maps. I think that they will

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change the way you do um your thought processes and

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maybe speed up your work and certainly help you write

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your books. Thank you for joining us today. If you

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enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment and follow the

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podcast. If you're new around here, I hope you will

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sign up for the weekly newsletter. Writing pursuits tips for

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authors. That link and all the links mentioned in today's

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episode are in the show notes at writing pursuits dot

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com. Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and

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