Mindmapping strategy for writing
Writing strategies are not always obvious and can lead us to a lot of bad habits such as using online translators (sorry Google translate), cut and pasting old mails or documents or trying to write using a word-for-word translation technique.
None of these will produce a satisfactory result and none of these will help us to learn to learn or to become autonomous in writing skills.
With this in mind, I’d like to suggest a Mindmapping strategy for writing.
Before starting to write set up a MindMap with a central bubble named; Mindmapping strategy for writing :
Think of some of the model sentences that you know, for example, “I am writing to confirm our meeting of 29 February.” / “Could you please send me a copy of the last meeting minutes.” etc.
Ideas could be something like; to prepare a meeting / to receive a copy of the last minutes / to invite somebody to a meeting / to check on accommodation and travel arrangements etc.
Note down what you want to communicate to the reader, but don’t worry about the order in which you jot down your notes this visual brainstorming is a really important step in the process, write down some functions :
- clarifying or arranging one’s ideas
- expressing one’s thoughts or feelings
- greetings and leave-takings
- introducing people to others
- introducing oneself to others
- expressing concern for others
- extending and accepting invitations
Decide on the type of register that you want to use – formal / informal / distant / friendly and pay attention to staying within the chosen register throughout the message that you are writing, start with a fairly standard:
Dear Sir or Madam,
When you start writing use short and simple sentences at the outset – you can enrich them later (if you really need to, but remember KISS – Keep it Short & Simple).
Add adjectives to your brainstorm – firstly those that you know and know how to use then perhaps others if need be from a dictionary but a golden rule is to be short, simple and concise (KISS again).
Now, taking your original short ideas, start adding linking words and expressions to be able to link sentences and ideas together with a smooth, logical flow that brings your ‘argument’ to a logical end.
- As soon as
- Ever since
You could start with the conclusion and build up your writing from there backwards to the start. The advantage of this is that the writing will be more logical and the reader will read the main point last which is what usually stays in the memory for longer.
Brainstorm some verbs to get your message across dynamically.
Add some adverbs to make the wring flow naturally.
Ensure that there is a good clear introduction using the correct register – using « Hi Guys » to the CEO is not recommended.
Reread your writing, checking for flow, spelling mistakes, logic, avoiding false friends and that you have separated ideas with white space.
Clearly sign off with a polite short ending.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
I look forward to receiving your reply.
I look forward to seeing you.
I look forward to meeting you.
Please let me know a convenient time for us to meet.
If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please feel free to call me any time on my mobile: 0033-45454545
I would appreciate your immediate attention to/on this matter.
This strategy could be used by native speakers as well as Language learners to apply a Mindmapping strategy for writing.
Here is how your mindmap could look – this one has been made with Freemind, an open source mindmapping tool.
The same strategy can be adapted for planning meetings or presentations – here is an idea for planning a presentation on Time Management – another take on a Mindmapping strategy for writing.