Mind maps for creative writing

Reading time: about 3 min

Posted by: Lucid Content Team

You may not recognize this gesticulating fellow, but you've almost certainly used the tool he champions: mind maps.


Mind maps came into vogue in the 1970's with Tony Buzan as their unofficial spokesman.  He hosted the popular BBC show "Use Your Head!" and extolled the benefits of mind maps for academic, business, and personal use. Buzan argued that traditional outline methods don't jibe with the way people actually learn—by scanning entire pages in a non-linear fashion.  He figured that mind maps were the best option, as they combined the logical and the abstract in an eye-catching way. Mind maps are an incredible tool for many scenarios, but especially for creative writing.  Start by watching our how-to video.

Now that you know the basics, get started by customizing this mind map template in Lucidchart! Read on for suggestions on how to use mind maps. 

Mind map
Mind Map Template (Click on image to modify online)

Here are a few examples of what you can do with Lucidchart's mind mapping functions:

  • Take the first step in the writing process.  Plop down and draw out any ideas and thoughts that come to mind, then organize them at your leisure.  With Lucidchart, you can store all of your ideas and drafts in one secure location.  And when you want to review past changes, you won't have to hunt down crumpled pieces of notebook paper from 6 months back.
  • Use mind maps to plot out storylines and character relationships.  Lucidchart's canvas can be expanded both up/down and left/right, so you'll never run out of room, no matter how complex your story gets.
  • Create interactive chapter outlines, like this author. She writes,
    Yes, there are writing softwares out there that are helpful for chapter organization and writing. I find most of them have a basic step-by-step process in outlining chapters. I thought that Lucidchart’s software was a lot more interactive, and that with their charts, I didn’t have to create a step-by-step boring looking outline for my chapter. I also change my mind quite a lot during the process of writing. With Lucidchart, I can map out different “routes” that I can take my story in.
  • Collaborate with editors or other writers.  I took a creative writing class in college which required students to peer-review scads of stories and poems each week.  Lucidchart's real-time collaboration would have been a godsend.  Instead, we emailed drafts back and forth, gritting our teeth when we ran up against inherent issues: people neglecting to click the "reply all" button and thereby duplicating comments, students who "forgot" to add their attachment, issues with non-compatible software, kids who waited til 2 am to send out their drafts...you get the idea.

You might think that a digital approach takes the romance out of creative writing, but nothing is further from the truth.  When your colleagues or classmates are scrambling to remember a minute detail that they could have sworn was scribbled into a well-worn Moleskine...well, you can kick back, snuggle your laptop, and relax with the knowledge that Lucidchart has you covered.  Ain't nothing more romantic than that.


Start diagramming with Lucidchart today—try it for free!

Sign up free

Popular now

how to make a flowchart in google docsHow to make a flowchart in Google Docs

Sign up to get the latest Lucidchart updates and tips delivered to your inbox once a month.

Subscribe to our newsletter

About Lucidchart

Lucidchart is the intelligent diagramming application that empowers teams to clarify complexity, align their insights, and build the future—faster. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, everyone can work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.

The most popular online Visio alternative, Lucidchart is utilized in over 180 countries by millions of users, from sales managers mapping out target organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.

Get started

  • Pricing
  • Individual
  • Team
  • Enterprise
  • Contact sales

© 2023 Lucid Software Inc.