BAIPA, Sallie Goetsch, and Mind Mapping

by | Sep 13, 2011

Saturday was the monthly meeting of the Bay Area Independent Publisher’s Association (BAIPA) and the featured speaker was Sallie Goetsch. She was accompanied by author and laywer Sandy Shepard, who expanded the presentation.

Together they used the process of turning Sandy’s blog posts into a book (Fempowerment: A Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Bond Girl) as a practical example for the presentation, which was titled How to Turn a Blogger Into an Author.

Sallie is a long-time blogger and ghostwriter with a background in classics and classical languages. She used the mind mapping process in her presentation to explain how she helped organize a huge mass of information into a manuscript.

Coincidentally, I was sitting in the audience working on my mind map of the meeting. As a recent convert to mind mapping, I’m still exploring the power and efficiency of this tool to help organize all sorts of content.

So today here’s a link to a PDF of the entire mind map of the meeting. I’ve also included a link to a download of the same information in outline form, something that most mind mapping software seems able to do.

The mind map was created in iThoughts, an iPad app, and exported to the excellent, free and open source FreeMind on my Macintosh, where I did the RTF export. I hope it gives you a flavor of the meeting.

BAIPA-September-2011Mind map PDF
BAIPA September 2011 RTF file

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. James

    Nice post. I stumbled on mind mapping in college, and at some point started using it to take class notes. It was like I’d been living in a dark room and somebody flipped on the light. It fit my brain perfectly, and I spent a lot less time trying to “study” to get things. Now, I’ve used it for all sorts of life planning.

    But I’ve never tried it as part of creative writing or blog planning. I’m going to give it a try.


  2. Victoria Mixon

    Joel, I’m laughing out loud at the term “editorial intervention.” Yes, you do need help from an editor converting a blog to a book. In fact, last year I worked with Scott Berkun (Confessions of a Public Speaker, O’Reilly Media) on ideas for converting his blog into a book.

    The pros know better than to try to do it on their own.

  3. Christopher Wills

    This interest in mindmapping is fascinating to me because I read about it in a book by Tony Buzan back in the 1970s and have been practicing it ever since. This is my personsal view so please don’t be offended. What I see in your pdf is not a mind map I see a scatter diagram and this is where software falls down.

    In my world a mindmap has images, colours, symbols, connections across the page (not just radiating out from the centre) numbers, shapes and so on. A mindmap uses images and colour and symbols to replace some words because images are more powerful and say so much more than words can. A scatter diagram is useful in that it can show interconnections but in the end it is a contents page drawn as a diagram.

    I have looked at a lot of software over the years that purports to allow one to draw mindmaps from Microsoft Visio to Tony Buzan’s own brand iMindMap software, some of which can even draw 3D mindmaps. Unfortunately I have seen none that come close to the versatility of drawing with a pencil, crayons and blank paper.

    I use mindmaps as a creative process to help me to think and create from nothing a character or a story or scene. I start with a blank piece of paper and draw an image in the centre to represent whatever I am intending to create, so if it is a crime story I might draw a gun, or knife or a coffin shape. Then I draw arrows out from the centre with words like ‘victim’ inside one, ‘clues’ inside another etc. I always try to use images rather than words because they allow more creative thinking. I can’t draw very well but it doesn’t matter because it is a representation not a work of art. Whilst I think, I colour bits in. It is an incredibly creative process and amazing things appear on my paper from nothing. Later I might take one of the images or words from the periphery and use that to start another mindmap if I want to explore more fully say a particular character etc. This is what mindmapping is great for; creativity.

    I used to be a Physics teacher and I used to present ideas and material to my students in the form of a mindmap which I would build up over the course of the lesson (I usually prepared these before). I even presented Einstein’s theories of relativity in the form of a mindmap.

    I also use mindmaps to take minutes in meetings or to make notes in presentations. This is great fun and avoids boredom as you have to think about how to order your ideas on the page as they all veer to one side etc. Often I will need to redraw these after if I need the notes again as sometimes I can end up with a mess that spreads over three pages. But the thinking that goes into reordering the notes is a creative process that helps me memorise the presentation and more deeply understand any difficult concepts.

    What I am trying to say is that mindmapping is very useful but it is so much more than a few words connected by lines.

    • Joel Friedlander


      Thank you so much for this wonderful description of mind mapping. As you can see, I am very much a newcomer to this method. Even in the very limited and mechanical way I’ve used the various software packages, I’ve found it to be fantastic way to organize lots of concepts. I haven’t yet tried the kind of creative mind mapping you describe, so I have that to look forward to.

      I suppose we could call it “graphical outlining” which might be more accurate for the process I used to create the notes from this meeting, but whatever you call it, it has been a real revelation to me and a very stimulating practice. Thanks again for taking the time to educate a newbie.



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