Chapter 2: Prewriting

2.2 Mind Maps

People who like to think visually and who have a harder time establishing order over their writing process tend to enjoy mind maps. A mind map can be used not only for an assignment, but:

  • to capture a conversation around a group presentation.
  • to take lecture notes.
  • to help you with your ideas for a creative project, like a poem or a story.

You’ll use mind maps again in Chapter 6: Creative Writing.

To create a mind map, take a blank sheet of paper. Write your central idea in the middle and draw a circle around it. Then begin adding other circles to the paper around the main idea, each one with a different sub-idea, example, or thought in it. Don’t worry about consciously deciding on the relative size of the circles or where they should go in relation to the central idea, but if this happens easily, let it. Draw lines to indicate the relationships between the central idea, sub-ideas, examples, and thoughts. By the end, your mind map should look sort of like a giant, blobby Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

Review Questions

  1. Write a mind map on a topic of your choice. Suggested topics are the importance of exposure to nature for city dwellers; the importance of individual versus government or corporate steps to combat climate change; or the importance of learning relationship and communication skills as part of the high school curriculum.
  2. In groups, choose a different topic from the one you considered in question 1 and talk about it together. Create a mind map of the conversation.


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Building Blocks of Academic Writing Copyright © 2020 by Carellin Brooks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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