Live It Before You Write It

Often, I try to shortcut beyond my own abilities. Nowhere is this more true than with writing.

As a non-fiction author, I lean toward meeting felt needs in storied, practical, and spiritual ways. These days, every time I recognize a lack in life, my mind immediately draws a rough book, article, or blog outline. Maybe I can help someone else, I think.

There’s just one little problem. Sometimes I haven’t taken the time to live past my own lack. Impatiently, I rush beyond God’s desire to finish a beautiful work in my situation, and start sharing with others before I’m done living it out. I scribble my pitiful solutions onto a page. Too often, I forget to ask my Mentor what He thinks about what I just said.Nonfiction Half-Baked Ingredients

Like taking a cake out of the oven fifteen minutes before it’s done, my projects are half-baked when I rush them to my agent, to a magazine editor, or onto my blog platform. And because I’m still too close to the circumstances, the topic is too hot to handle.

Slowing down, and allowing God to add His special flavor deepens the richness of my life, and my work. Most often, this happens when I follow His timing, and don’t pull writing topics out before they are ready.

  • These are projects I want to write.
  • Need to write.
  • But the time isn’t right.

While I wait for the chemistry of those ideas to solidify, there’s plenty of other things to work on. I have life experiences already baked and cooled. But changing writing topics is like changing cake flavors. It requires putting some things away, and laying out a whole new list of ingredients. So how do I make sure I don’t mix things up in the process?

Mind Mapping ImageSpending a mere fifteen to twenty minutes helps me realign my thoughts into an organized fashion appropriate for the topic I need to focus on. One of my favorite brainstorming techniques is Mind Mapping. This process is simple, fast, reduces distracting thoughts, and moves me into a heightened creative flow. It pulls buried memories from the dark pantry of my brain.

Writing effective non-fiction often means living through a subject before you write about it. And Mind Mapping takes what we learn and develops those lessons into a teachable format. It ensures we won’t forget to relate any important part of the process to our readers.

Mind Maps enhance our memories and help us present concise non-fiction book projects. Mixed, baked, and cooled until the end product is just right. Showing readers what we lived, before we wrote.

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7 thoughts on “Live It Before You Write It

  1. Anita- I’m a plotter not a pantser, and I never thought about using mind mapping as an author. I use it in my “real job” frequently, and it appeals to me as a writer because it adds a spark of spontaneity to the process- far more free flowing (in an organized way, of course) than outlining. Thanks for connecting me to a new path for using a familiar tool!

    • Hi Deb,

      I too have brought many things I learned from my day job into writing with positive results. Mind mapping in particular helps keep this messy organized personality on track. Hope it works for you, and would love to hear about the results.

      Many Blessings! 🙂

  2. Anita, I’ve heard about this technique, but I’ve yet to find a good resource on it. I will add, it hasn’t been my top priority either. 🙂 But I was wondering if you could suggest a good resource for teaching this technique? (book or website). Thanks! Jennie

    • Hi Jennie,

      Believe it or not, Mind Mapping for Dummies is out, and looks great. Haven’t read it, but looks good. Also, the YouTube video in my post is a good basic review. Hope you are blessed in your writing endeavors.

      Anita 🙂

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