Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Untidy Desks, Mind Maps and Writing

I very much want to understand more about how writing things down unlocks the creative processes. What starts the flow of thoughts just by putting the pen to paper and dumping down what is inside your head?

I can simply see from a Just Seven Things perspective that one argument could be that you’re freeing space for the next related and associated items to ‘pop’ into the consciousness.

I’ve looked briefly at Buzan’s work on Mind Maps and need to do so in much more depth. He refers there to studies that he has looked at on creative flexibility and how features are mirrored during the act of mind mapping on paper. My five year old was showing me how to do them the other day as they had been taught how to do them at school for thinking about words to describe things.

I was prompted to put finger to key on this subject this evening when reading the FT I came upon the results of a study by Eric Abrahamson, professor of management at Columbia Business School and author of a new book ‘A Perfect Mess’

He apparently talks about organisation vs disorder. It was a comment about the benefits of a messy desk that made me tie this thought together. A line is quoted from his book which says “Mess puts items in context and the unexpected juxtapositions of unrelated items can cause you to make connections that you’d never make if the things were in two separate filing cabinets”

Fair enough. One question I pose to myself though is ‘how often do you ever look at the other bits of paper on the desk. Do they not just become layers of detritus that can stimulate lateral thoughts during tidy-ups or recycle sessions’ (I’m imagining here, I have to admit. I don’t have a desk.)

Similarly, when I mind map or brainstorm, looking back at what I’ve put down doesn’t consciously seem to help. It seems more the act of starting that unblocks a rapid flow. I know I need to look at this more as I’m sure that there’s a lot untapped. However I find it interesting that when the thoughts are down they’re very powerful but seem more to have their own life than conscious relationships with others?

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One thought on “Untidy Desks, Mind Maps and Writing

  1. Pingback: Self-Coaching and the Medication of Writing « Just Seven Things

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