How To Use Mind Mapping To Outline Your Book

Mind mapping is a good way to start, organize and finish your book faster. You can create the mind map on a blank sheet of paper or use mind mapping software.
Mind mapping supplies the visual for more visual learners. The mind map, a color coded outline using core ideas, sub-topics and details written on different branches connected to a center. In the center circle, you put your core (main) idea like your book title or chapter title, if you are outlining one of your chapters.

For the “7 Steps to Fearless Speaking,” Wilder’s mind map could have had seven different colored vertical branches coming from that center (Book Title), so details could be put on connected horizontal branches. For many, mind maps are much easier to read and grasp more quickly than linear style outlines.

For example, when I mind mapped chapter eight from the Write Your Best Book Now book, I used a 8.5×11 sheet of blank paper turned horizontally. The chapter title (my main idea) Build a Successful House for Each Chapter was in the circle. The vertical colored coded branches were developed into headings in the chapter. The horizontal lines on each heading branches were sub-topics and points with the outline in a mind map. I discovered I could easily add new supporting points to each branch stemming from the main idea in the circle.


Many of us are visual learners. And because a book is long, it can be difficult to keep the whole thing straight in our mind. For some I know mind mapping will be just the thing to get you started and moving toward completion. You’ll soon discover mind mapping your ideas of what you’d like your book to contain gives you an overview. Here are five benefits to mind mapping your book.

1. Encourages creative thinking. In using the mind mapping outline method, there are no strict rules of traditional outlining. You don’t have to try and fit ideas into a linear outline. Mistakes are not mistakes at all. With mind mapping you can easily follow what looks like a mistake into new creative territory. When you get a new idea, just add another branch to the circle. In my experience, mind mapping encourages creative thinking which leads to better writing and more usable ideas.

2. Less is more. Because in this outlining method, you use only two -three keywords on a branch, less is more. While working with less keywords and a streamlined approach, you can gain clarity and focus with your writing much faster. The key words prompt your memory for what your chapter is about. For example, in my “..House for Each Chapter” mind map one of the vertical branches was “repeating elements”. Then the sub-topics on the horizontal lines were: Intro, quote, story, teaching points, pull quotes, summary and questions.

3. Speeds up outlining process. You don’t have to deal with blank pages or a blank mind. Sit down with your color coded map and select a chapter to write. Many have told me their writing flows much easier from their branches and lines of sub-topics. If you don’t have enough information, just go to your book’s file folders of research and pull more information or ideas. Or like I do often, you can use the q/a session to come up with more material from your personal knowledgebase.

4. Communicates big picture. You can more easily create a memes (short story) with the mind mapping method. Condensing your thesis, chapter titles and chapter contents down to key words brings clarity. Just like in the business world, clarity equals sales power. When you can communicate the big picture of your message in clarity the more compelling your book will be. And we all know the more compelling your book is the more book sales you will receive.

5. Creates flexibility of use. You can do more with a mind map than a linear outline. You can re-purpose your map for anything from business uses, education or personal use. You can use your map to plan a meeting, teach a class or seminar, develop a business plan, manage a project, track your goals, create a database of ideas, write a book (as we are doing) and more.

After seeing how each method of outline works, you can easily mix and combine different methods into one that suits you. For example, I often mix the linear style list or q/a outline with the mind mapping style. As you can see, you can easily use either method to outline your book. Or use them both (linear outline or mind mapping) to start, organize and complete your book.

You can find the full lesson and a list of mind mapping software along with a growing list of other helpful resources in the Resource Section of Book Writing Course at website.

NOTE: Do you and how do you use outlines? Don’t forget to leave a comment on the Write to Win Institute blog in comment section or I’m giving away two “30 Days To A Better Book” mini-courses to best commenters this week. Bonnie McDonald won the last Book Writers Success Kit giveaway.

P.S. Sorry guys, I love hearing from each of you. But an email or a post on another site doesn’t count. Your comment must be on the Write to Win blog comment section at or page. Thanks for reading!

About Author 

Earma Brown, aka America's Book Success Coach, 12 Book Authorpreneur, Indie Publisher, and Creator of Book Success Academy, teaches entrepreneurs, experts, professionals, writers and wow women how to write and publish a 24/7 lead generating book YOU and their readers love and create multiple money streams for life.” Visit New! Jumpstart Resource: Free Book to get started with a book of your own.

    Find more about me on:
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • pinterest
  • skype
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • googleplus