Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 1 of 7: What is a mindmap?

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

Recall: Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week


Part 1 of 7: What is a mindmap?


Mindmaps (or mind maps– but I prefer the one word version) are essentially visual diagrams.

Wikipedia definition:

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.

Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as “rough notes” during a lecture, meeting or planning session, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available.

Mind maps are considered to be a type of spider diagram.  A similar concept in the 1970s was “idea sun bursting”.

For me, mindmapping is a tool to move all the churning ideas and voices out of my head onto paper, in order to organize my thoughts and to quiet my mind.  I gain perspective; I can start to strategize and prioritize or make new realizations and connections.  I can develop, or pare down.  I gain new insight on what direction works, what direction doesn’t, what I can cross off, what I can add.  I love the visual.  I love the tangible.  I love the evolving mindmap.  I love looking at old ones and seeing what worked and what didn’t.  I can create a mission and a vision statement more easily.

Mindmaps can be personal, or done in a group, with a group, for a group.   You can mindmap alone.  You can mindmap for someone else as they dialogue.  It is a great listening tool.


They can act as a type of journal, or therapy, or a tool for strategic inquiry or project planning.  The possibilities are vast and endless.  I use many kinds like:

• emotional mapping

• project mapping

• priority mapping

• “current situation” mapping

• gathering support mapping

• personal challenges mapping

• story structure mapping

• character background mapping

• journal mapping

core values mapping

• mission and vision building mapping

• creative strategic inquiry mapping

• meeting notes mapping

•  etc.


I use a variety of kinds of mindmapping styles like the familiar linking or bubbles, or making lists, making scribbles on a torn piece of paper or more elaborate panels.


I love to illustrate and color them.   To make the task more ME and to make me energized, I tend to collect images I love and draw them out.


Looking back on them, I can shed a tear or crack a smile at their ridiculous complexity:


And sigh in relief when I get to the core of it:



Write for 15 minutes in your journal about what you might want to mindmap about this week.  Don’t overthink.  JUST KEEP WRITING.  There is no right or wrong.



Part 2: the Big Vision

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