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I have self-published 6 books in the last 2 years and helped get 25 others published in the last year. One of the biggest tools for publishing those books has been the skill of mind mapping. I heard of mind mapping on a podcast helping to solve student debt issues, and remembered learning it at some point in school long ago.
Immediately I started mind-mapping everything! I was using them to schedule my week, my social media content, Facebook live videos, and just about anything else I could do. What my mind maps lacked in elegance, they made up for in practicality and usefulness. It was a natural transition from my scheduling needs to writing my first book.
I am a physical therapist who now helps people write and self-publish books, so my first book was about getting rid of neck pain. The mind map started with a mind dump first. I would write down everything on the page I could think of about neck pain. I wrote down anything I thought would help someone feel better. Then, I wrote down anything someone might ask when in pain. Next was equipment needed, stretch, exercises, posture, etc.
The first step of mind mapping is to map out what you want to write about. This step is great because you probably know a lot of things you didn’t even realize you can teach someone else. Whether you’re a medical professional, a plumber, or a stay-at-home mom, you have something to say people need. My best advice is to pick a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, passionate about, people tell you you should write about, or a topic you want to research. You get extra points and the book will be better if you can find a topic that intersects all of those at some point.
Decide what you want to write about on the topic you chose. Whatever you pick you have to know who you are writing to and where in the story they are coming in. For instance, if you were writing about American football to a football fan you wouldn’t need to tell all of the rules of the game. However, if you were writing about the grammatical rules of Spanish for a non-Spanish speaking person it would be crucial to start at the beginning and leave nothing out.
Remove the fluff! Once you decide on a topic remove all of the parts that someone else wouldn’t need to get the point. I don’t need to know everything a plumber knows to fix my toilet. I don’t want to know everything they know either. I just want the steps to get it fixed without spending too much of my valuable time on the project. Don’t assume someone wants to spend any more of their time reading your book than they have to spend. Most people just want the bullet points.
Turn your mind map into your book’s outline. Once you’ve removed the fluff, you are ready to get the outline done, The outline is the road map of your book. You wouldn’t leave on a cross-country trip without a map or your GPS. You shouldn’t write your book without a map either. Once you know what you’re writing, who you’re writing for, and how in-depth to go in your book you are ready to set your outline. Take the top, bullet points from your map, and make those into your chapters. Then, you can outline each chapter. If you did a great job on your initial mind map, this will be simple.
Mind mapping is a great first step to go from dreaming about writing and publishing a book to getting it done. Don’t worry about getting any of it perfect. Perfection is one of the enemies of production. Start producing your book and you will have a published book in no time.