Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mind Mapping, Fun with Right and Left Brain

Years ago I was introduced to Mind Mapping as a creative exercise. I'm not learned enough to tackle the scientific data that asserts the brain can only consciously use one hemisphere. Is this an inviolable truth or are there other scenarios?

Could there be sequential, delineated brain activity, simultaneous synapses firing from both hemispheres existing other than in consciousness or subconsciousness? I do not know but it would be fun to explore these questions another time.

This is what I have experienced and know about mind mapping. For me and some others: Mind Mapping is a drawing/thinking technique that uses the right and left brain hemispheres.

Mind Mapping is a way to develop, articulate, and explore possibilities. I think of it as visual free association. The goal is to think laterally, to let your creative self tap into your wondrous brain and its delightful hemispheres to journey, to explore.

I have used it for personal evaluation, growth, and to examine specific problems. It has helped me breakdown and understand everything from emotional reactions to relaxation theory, wiring the dryer, to gardening alternatives.

At its most basic - paper and pen are required. I've used typing paper, colored papers, envelopes, a large 18"x 24" pad, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and inks. I confess I still like to color and yes, I still have some coloring books.

Until recently, I have not considered using mind mapping for writing. This is my Ah Ha moment! I am excited about using it for writing because of what I have experienced with mind mapping. I don't how I missed this- it now seems like such an an evident progression. Ah well...the mysterious workings of the mind, at least my mind, have to include when it apparently doesn't seem to be working on an obvious level!

Thanks to the Internet, mind mapping can also be done using free software. offers a basic explanation and has a handy program for making very neat and orderly mind maps. My hand drawn maps are colorful and messy. As I explore mind mapping and writing I may consider the more ordered approach.

I will mind map the characters in the new book. I have a general sense of them but not enough depth. I'll post an update on the progress and success or failure as I pursue this new application.

I'll get neat and computerized later- right now I want my pencils, my gigandor drawing paper and inks - I like color, I like words, I like drawing. Whoopee, it makes me happy thinking about it!

Besides, you might also want to check out:

The New Drawing on the Right side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I read her original book as well as the latest edition. The upside down exercise is terrific. I recommend it to anyone interested in improving their drawing or if you are fascinated with perception.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I love this book and it is one I reread.

In her article featured on the creativity portal, Linda Dessau references Michael J. Gelb's, How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, defines mind mapping, and offers a good overview of its applications. I read her article but not his book.

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