Part 1 of the 3 posts expanding on the above-listed question can be found here.
You can insert any images or drawings that support or enhance the ideas in the map. This is where it gets creative. Imagery helps to remember the contents and add depth to it.
I also find that adding so-called “call-outs” to the map can help to visually emphasise something.
A call-out is a departure from the basic branches/nodes/leaves structure and could be implemented in the form of e.g. a “floating topic” or text bubble.
Colour can be added to set one branch or leaf apart from another.
Mindmaps can be anything between tiny and very elaborate. I didn’t verify the accuracy of the mindmap shown below on parts of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, but it shows how easy it is to cover a complex subject.
The process: zigzagging
Thus far we’ve looked at the “grammar” or properties of mindmaps. But that’s pretty static and says very little about the dynamics involved in mindmapping. And yet, to me this is their most appealing aspect.
Mindmaps generate a kind of internal electric storm, which i find intriguing: One word leads to another, associations emerge, specifications are added, and context is created with each pen-stroke.
It’s chaotic in one way, because that’s how thought-patterns emerge: randomly. Thinking isn’t linear. But it’s self-contained as well in that there’s a way to channel the useful albeit random ideas: it’s by adding them to the mindmap, at their appropriate place. It’s growing a piece of coral if you will.
I’d certainly zigzag through most mindmaps that i make; my monkey mind is leaping from one branch to another, something that’s very difficult (if not impossible) with list-building without creating a big mess. I regularly zoom-in and zoom-out in my mind’s eye. And if i somehow (quite literally) observe “incompleteness” anywhere, i’m prompted visually to further add to the map.
Asking yourself questions is an effective way to stimulate your own thinking. So i keep on asking myself questions such as: What? With whom? How much? When? Where? and above all… Why? This helps me produce valuable mindmaps.
In spite of the seemingly random order in which the mind map is produced, it is often read in a clock-wise order, particularly if the reader isn’t the creator of the map.
My next post will also address the question: How to make a mindmap? It’s Part 3 of a 3-piece blog post and will explore a practical example.
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