Your chaotic thought process isn’t wrong!

Have scruffy thoughts and be proud!

Have scruffy thoughts and be proud!

Ever wish you had linear thoughts?

I sometimes think it would be nice if my ideas formulated in order, from start to finish, and grouping themselves in the correct order of importance and theme.

Only sometimes though, because I also quite like the way our brains want to naturally work, chaotically swirling and stewing ideas and thought processes like a delicious slow cooking casserole of conception.

The way we think isn’t wrong, but I think sometimes the structures we use to express our thoughts are too limited and inhibiting for creative thinking., or indeed any type of thinking.

I first started using mind maps to revise chemistry during a-level. My dad gave me a book by Tony Buzan thinking that as I had joined the class a couple of months late it might  help me focus all of the information I had to cram. It was a bit risky as I had never used diagrams to revise before, only copious amounts of linear, hand written notes.

One bedroom wall ended up covered in A2 sheets of paper with colourful diagrams and they appeared like the scrawls of someone on the verge of a breakdown, but there was a great deal of method to this perceived madness.

My creative goals for 2009

The concept works in brief by starting with a central theme, creating the main subheadings as branches leading from this, and within those branches grouping together relevant connected points or thoughts. They also encourage colour to group common themes and diagrams to stimulate your memory when trying to recall these – especially helpful when trying to remember the varying structures of aromatic amines…

For me, trying a new way of thinking paid off and every time I have a project or piece of work, I usually start with a mind map. The beauty of them is that you can come back to it, add thoughts and new ideas and unlike a list, where you’re trying to jam in more notes at the bottom of a section you thought you had finished, there’s room on the mind map to grow each section in no particular order.

The mind map I have here is a little boring, and it’s for my goals of 2009 – so should at least maybe have a little glitter…

I like using mind maps because I feel that their structure matches the inside of my head more. Above all else, I love new methods of creative thinking thinking, planning and strategies so would be interested to hear if anyone else has used these or other ways of organising their thoughts.

Advertisements

Persistence …and Isaac Asimov

Great science fiction writer and persistor.

In a second hand bookshop I stumbled upon a three book collection of Isaac Asimov’s First Orbits. It’s a collection of his early science fiction works with commentary in between each story with biographical details of how the pieces came to be with an evaluation of each work.¬† As I began reading, it seemed like the perfect choice over the New Year as it charts his “eleven years of trying” as he attempts to make a living at writing. What struck me was the methodical persistence he set about this task as if he were training to be any other profession. He spent time writing and submitting his work for sale to magazines. If a piece was rejected he would try and sell it elsewhere and if he couldn’t shift it, he moved on to writing a new piece.

There is something refreshing and inspiring reading about someone who didn’t wait for luck to seek him out, but sought opportunities persistently and resiliently. Not each piece he wrote was brilliant or earth shattering, but sometimes they were good enough and someone would buy them.

Asimov did what he loved, but actively promoted himself and his work. Was it just a case of keeping going until something stuck? Or was it his talent alone that saw him as one of the most successful science fiction writers of his time? Or a mixture of both?

Does this also translate to business ventures I wonder. Do you need to be able to produce brilliant and original ideas, or just have the stamina to promote and carry your idea to the paying people?

It has certainly given me much food for thought.