So before we get into the details of how to begin to write a memoir using a mind map I would like to define both memoir and mind map so we are all on the same page in this conversation. A memoir is a story drawn from real life. This means a memoir is nonfiction. It is also known as creative nonfiction. It is important to learn how to use writing techniques to develop your setting, dialogue and multidimensional characters to show your readers what happened in this snapshot of your life.
One of the most powerful strategies that I use all the time in writing is called mind mapping. Tony Buzan formalized this technique in the early 1970’s. A mind map is a tool to help people organize their thoughts and develop spontaneous associations connected to the central theme you are developing. As a side note I always use a bit of color when I do this because I like it better and the color and shapes you use opens up your right brain, so creative juices flow better.
For me creating a mind map is the beginning of all my writing In the center of your paper write MY MEMOIR or whatever title you have been thinking about. Draw a circle in the center. Think about the main ideas you might like to include. Please relax about this. Nothing you write is written in stone. Ask yourself some short questions like Who Am I? or Where Did I Come From? Draw a line from the center to the short questions and draw a circle around the question. then draw a line from the circle, and add thoughts like blonde hair, blue eyes, tall, musical, great swimmer etc. As you keep doing this pretty soon you have a large paper filled with ideas and thoughts.
So after you have a basic and flexible mind map, take the next step. That step is jump in and write some more. Do a rough draft. Allow your energy to just flow. Allow the words to appear on the page. Look at your mind map, add color whenever you feel like it.You can even doodle on it. It is your creation and really helps your creativity flow. Allow images to appear in your mind. Do not worry about the sequence of events. All of that can be changed, and arranged later. You need material on paper to work with. As you work through your first draft I would like to remind you of what one of my favorite authors said “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn” Ralph Waldo Emerson.