Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CPR for Writers: Draw pictures instead!

Clustering is a nontraditional organization methods that allow participants to bypass the Fatal Perfect Prose Snag and get their ideas down on paper.
Clustering is more like drawing than it is like conventional writing or outlining. Participants start with a topic phrase or idea, and quickly jot down all the elements that come to mind, scattering them all over the page. 

When all the details (of whatever importance) are captured, a nice second step is to number the chunks in a tentative order of importance. (This tentative quality is important...it keeps options open.)

I like to use numbers for the key items, and letters for the subitems. This also allows the more linear among us to turn the spiderweb into a formal outline, which is a more comfortable way for some people to proceed.