You know what… I love mind maps.
I love them because I’m a visual person, and developing a songwriting idea by using a mind map really helps me write my song lyrics more clearly and effectively.
Right now though you’re probably asking “what the hell is this mind map?” Well, according to Wikipedia a mind map is:
…a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.
This mind mapping exercise is a simple, but a very effective way of fleshing out the body of a song from a single idea, phrase or a word. It shows that from one single idea, many ideas will form.
Here’s how I do it.
1. I take my idea, phrase or word and write it in the middle of a piece of paper and draw a circle around it.
2. From that circle, I branch out five lines in different directions. At the end of those lines I write a word that is associated with the central word or phrase. These words could be the basis for your verses and choruses.
3. From each of those five words I start writing five other words that relate to it.
4. I then rinse and repeat the process as many times as I need to.
If you follow the above steps, by the time you have had enough (or you run out of paper), you will have a whole song laid out in front of you. Start from the central theme and work outwards, following the word paths you’ve created.
Can you see what phrases you can come up with from doing that. All you then have to do is collate that information into a song format.
Be careful not to have too many initial branches springing out from your central theme. This will turn your mind map into a complicated mess of too many ideas pulling against each other.
Up to five branches is plenty to work with.
You dont have to use all (or any) of the words you have written down, this is another way of opening your mind to new ways of generating songwriting ideas.
Most of us are visual people. As mentioned before, I personally access information the best this way. I can tell you having a whole song mapped out in front of me makes the job of formulating a song so much easier.
Give it a go and see what happens, you’ll be amazed at some of the paths and tangents you create. Let me know how it works for you…
Until next time, keep on writing,
All About Songwriting