16 January 2013

21 Moments, Mind Maps, and Me

I signed up for a writing challenge, 21 Moments, with +Christina Katz. In the month of January, I commit to writing about 21 moments, using (or not depending on my Muse) the excerpts that Christina sends to my inbox every morning as inspiration.

I'm a little behind where I wanted to be on this 16th day of the challenge, moment #14 is waiting for me in Scrivener.

This 21 Moment challenge opened up a pathway for me to write anything. And I mean anything. On the practical side, I used one of the moments to list my projects and what each one needs to be complete, and another moment to sketch out the business side of my writing endeavors. On the less practical, one moment relates how I hate how my family is subjected to one person's selfishness. Another, about how I didn't let someone shine in the glow of a compliment. Moment #8 was taken over by a character, giving me a sliver of insight into his hell. These non-practical moments are real, raw and unedited.

But on those days that my brain hasn't engaged, and I stare at the blank screen, wishing the Muse would do something, I think of a topic and mind map.

Inspired by +Sylvia van Bruggen, I've used mind maps a few times, but I'd let the tool fall to the bottom of my toolbox. A recent post by +Tami Veldura inspired me to pull out mind maps again.

So now, when I'm stuck, I grab a pen and put a word in the middle of a sheet of paper (yes, I'm using old school implements - I'll try using digital tools soon) and record all that I can think up associated with that word. Then, once the page is at least half full, I start writing my moment. The words from the map find their way onto the computer screen, making me and my Muse happy.

But that's not the end of the mind map. I've started a dictionary of sorts, placing the mind maps in a 3-ring binder for future reference, future stories and moments, or just plain inspiration. (Or a blog post.)

With apologies to Christina, as I'm NOT following the letter of the 21 Moments (that in itself is a breakthrough for this Follower-of-all-Rules), I'm glad I signed up for the challenge. I'm pleased with my progress, how I rediscovered a tool, my enjoyment of getting a moment recorded, and the catharsis of the more personal moments.

For any writer, non-writer, want-to-be a writer, or any one looking for a way to Not to waste time on the internet, head over to Christina's site and see if 21 Moments is for you.

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