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An End of Year Ritual — Mind Mapping (Contest)
Friday, December 16th, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…flchen1!

Okay, you may be wondering, What?

Mind mapping isn’t some futuristic, governmental plot to take over our minds. So, why am I thinking about it if it’s not anything to do with the plot of a new book?

Mind mapping is something I like to do every year to kickstart my annual planning activities, and I thought I should share it here for anyone who’s interested in giving it a try. Yes, I start with a plan every year. Doesn’t mean I follow it very well, but I do like to have some idea what I want to accomplish—a goalpost, I guess, to aim for.

I even used to hold online mind-mapping workshops for other authors before I ran the annual “Write 50 Books a Year” workshop with my sister, Elle James, through our old teaching website, Roses Colored Glasses. I miss those days, and having a group to guide through the processes gave me a kick in the pants to complete it myself. Since we closed the doors to RCG, I haven’t given up my process entirely, but I do find it harder to start. Mind mapping was something I started in November, and then moved into my detailed annual planning in December, so I could start January with a boost of energy and pie-in-the-sky goals.

Mind mapping isn’t just for my writing. I use it to organize my life. It helps to prioritize my efforts. So, while I’m not leading a group eager to map out their work/life balance, I thought I’d share a little of what it looks like. Maybe it’s something you’ll want to try. Below is some of the text I used in my workshop, but first…

So, for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me whether you love making plans and whether you use the New Year as your kick in the ass.

Mind Mapping

I’ve found mind mapping is a terrific brainstorming tool for all sorts of things—book plots, vacation plans, grocery lists… I know, I get obsessive about organizing tools!

I’ve been collecting some cool things on Pinterest about vision boards and mind mapping. You’re welcome to hunt, but I do have some specific sites I’d like you to check out listed below, because the sites will give you a great starting point for understanding what a mind map is and how to start yours.

As for what you need in the way of supplies for mind mapping, all you really need is paper and something to write with. I like to use watercolor paper in a large, desktop size, great Micron fine-line and medium tip pens, and watercolor pencils for color—because I like mine to be pretty—but that’s just me!

Where can you start learning about mind mapping? Here are my recommendations:

More Specifically for Authors…

If you read this blog post,, you know the author talked about “focus centers”, which are main groupings of tasks. Maybe you aren’t far enough along in your thinking process to define those.

Before I even commit focus centers to my mind map, I brainstorm a list (you folks who have taken my classes, know I love the Dread List of 20). I put down things off the top of my head as quickly as I can, that I think might be major headings, but might in fact belong under a major heading—but I don’t worry about the classification or where the focus center will appear on my map. Not yet. This is just a brainstorming tool I use to get something down on paper, so I can begin to draft my mind map.

Here’s me brainstorming my list for my 2018 WRITING PLAN (I didn’t save my notes from other years!). Your list may look very different, no worries there! You just dump a list on paper as quickly as you can.

1) What books do I want to write? New major genre, maybe? Should I focus on a genre(s)?
2) What books should I write? What length should I write?
3) Research what’s selling
4) Promotion
5) Develop a better plan for book launches
6) Look at group effort projects, how many do I want to be a part of, and for what purpose?
7) Look at author branding
8) Editing biz—Do I want to do more advertising? How much time do I want to devote?
9) Classes—what classes do I want to teach? Any new things to add to my teaching calendar?
10) Non-fiction, “how-to” projects?
11) Get serious about Project Management—balance life with work
12) Improve writing commitment and focus; figure out how to get the work done!
13) Do I need new skills, tools? Photoshop, Scrivener?
14) Quick win projects—rights reversions, collections of existing works
15) Conferences? Do I want to? Which would be a benefit?
16) Look at ads for book launches, research best bang for buck
17) Allow time in schedule for downtime—vacation, end of book letdown
18) Return to plotting vs. pantsing or plantsing?
19) Travel for research?
20) Seek new group blog to be a part of

As you can see, some of these aren’t focus centers at all. But I didn’t give myself time to consider whether they were. Among all of this, I think I can pluck the following for focus centers: Get a Life (outside of writing), Promotion Planning, Book Projects, Non-writing Revenue Gigs, Build Skills/Renew Skills, Writing Process/Project Planning.

11 comments to “An End of Year Ritual — Mind Mapping (Contest)”

  1. Colleen C.
    · December 16th, 2022 at 12:33 pm · Link

    I do try to plan things out… give myself a timeline, schedule, something to focus on.

  2. Mary McCoy
    · December 16th, 2022 at 2:44 pm · Link

    I try to map things out, sometimes at New Years, but frequently have to remap at intervals.

  3. Mary Preston
    · December 16th, 2022 at 4:13 pm · Link

    I am big on planning. I find I get so much more done if I do. The new year plays no part in this.

  4. Jennifer Beyer
    · December 16th, 2022 at 9:16 pm · Link

    I like to have plans but it’s not a New Year kind of thing. I like to keep a rolling list that I review regularly.

  5. bn100
    · December 16th, 2022 at 10:57 pm · Link

    sometimes make plans

  6. Carol Burnside
    · December 17th, 2022 at 1:36 pm · Link

    I don’t mind map, but I love me an Excel spreadsheet and I do start fresh with the new year.
    No need to include me in the contest.

  7. Debra Guyette
    · December 17th, 2022 at 4:39 pm · Link

    I do make plans but often drop them

  8. flchen1
    · December 18th, 2022 at 12:36 am · Link

    I admit I’m not great at the planning part of things, but I appreciate the reminder that planning is a big part of how we can lay the foundation to succeed at the things we hope for, and turn those hopes into reality. I’ll take a look at some of those resources you posted, Delilah!

  9. Misty Dawn
    · December 18th, 2022 at 10:12 am · Link

    I don’t make a lot of plans really, but I do make a list of things that I would like to accomplish. I always try to put at least 5 things on it to work on in the new year.

  10. Stacey Kinzebach
    · December 18th, 2022 at 11:20 am · Link

    Yes I loosely make plans but then go with the flow as things change.

  11. Delilah
    · December 24th, 2022 at 8:35 am · Link

    For those interested, I hope the resources were helpful!

    The winner of the gift card is…flchen1!

Comments are closed.