If you are a writer afflicted by writer’s block, I’ve earthshakingly good news for you.

From this moment on, you can say goodbye to writer’s block and revolutionize your writing life by using a simple technique that’s free, fun, easy, fast, and flexible.

You can do it on paper (recommended) or on your computer using free online tools.

You can do it before you start writing or whenever you are stuck.

You can use it if your mind is paralyzed and completely clueless or
if it’s frenetically racing out of control and distracted by a zillion ideas.

Best of all, this technique hardly takes a few minutes but it will help you to write faster and way more effectively because it combines creative thinking, brainstorming, and visualization.

This technique that unlocks your mind and unleashes your creativity is called mind mapping (blinding flashes of lightning and deafening rolls of thunder).

How to create your first mind map

Take a blank sheet of paper and turn it sideways (landscape orientation).

Next, write the title of your article or book in the middle of the page in block letters and draw a circle around it.
For example, “BENEFITS OF HUMOR”.

Next, write down whatever occurs to you on the page, circle it and link it to the central idea with a line.

Continue to do this for a few minutes.

Most important: don’t try to judge, evaluate, edit or arrange your thoughts.

Write down your thoughts whatever they may be, even if they don’t seem to be connected to your subject or don’t make any sense.

If you wish, you can set a timer for five minutes and mind map until you hear the beep.

Free Resources:

Online examples of advanced mind maps: http://www.tonybuzan.com/gallery/mind-maps/

Free e-book on mind mapping: http://www.publicationcoach.com

(You’ll have to subscribe to Daphne Gray-Grant’s blog to get the e-book but it’s worth it.)

Free downloadable mind mapping online tools:

Freemind : http://www.mapyourmind.com/freesoftware.htm

XMind: http://www.xmind.net/

Most important takeaway

Tony Buzan, one of the champions of mind mapping, advises you to use mind maps not just to jumpstart your writing projects but also for studying, visual note-taking and all kinds of projects.

The more you mind map, the more you will get from it.

You may have read about mind mapping before.

Either you haven’t tried it as yet or you may have tried it once or twice and felt that it doesn’t work for you.

Do yourself a favor – stick with it for a while.

You will be richly rewarded.

Take action now.

Stop reading and do your first mind map right now.

  • Take a sheet of paper and write down anything that’s on your mind in big bold letter in the middle of the sheet.
  • Circle it.
  • Write down the next word or phrase that reverberates in your brain.
  • Circle it.
  • Link it to the central word.
  • Repeat.

So how did it go? What dramatic new insights did you get?

And if you haven’t done this yet, what’s stopping you? What’s your excuse?

Let us know in the comments below.

(4 September 2013)

Rohi Shetty is a medical doctor, Vipassana meditator, writer, editor, translator and blogger. His short stories and articles have been published online and in print. He blogs at http://rohishetty.com.

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