By in Writing

Pull Yourself Together - Writing Up a Mess part 7

Final Part

Previous Articles in this series

Tip 1 was to keep a notebook, Tip 2 was to keep a journal, which was also covered from a different angle in this article, Tip 3 was to build a framework or outline, Tip 4 was to draw it out, use a mindmap, Tip 5 was to just get it down and Tip 6 was to just write anything.

Get It Together

This heading reminded me of the song " Something In The Air " by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with the lyrics,

"Call out the instigator
Because there's something in the air
We've got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here
...
We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together, now"

And it's now time to get our writing together. And I promised the use of a concept map in tip 6 .

What is a Concept Map?

A concept map is another graphical way of setting out your understanding of a subject, a graphical organiser, somewhat like a mind map . With a concept map, the best way to start is to set yourself a question that needs to be answered, for instance, "what are the parts of a car"? or "what kinds of jobs do dogs do" or "what is water"? Concept maps are easy to do, in fact they were first devised for use in schools and have been used in primary (elementary) schools. They are a great way of expressing relationships between various parts of your question, like the relationship between ice, steam and water, for instance. They can also be used as a way of assessing understanding and finding out gaps in knowledge.

Concept maps have only two elements: concepts (or ideas) and relationships (or linking words). A concept is just a label for something, like "Sun", "car", "water", "dog", etc. Each big concept can be divided into smaller concepts, for instance, a dog has legs, legs have paws. The words "dog", "legs" and "paws" are concepts. The words "has", "have" are relationships or linking words and together, the concepts and linking words form propositions. With the dog example, the sentence "a dog has legs" is a proposition, as is "legs have paws".

(c) MegL my own photo

Complicated?

No, not once you grasp the idea. Some people think concept maps are just another form of mind map but there are differences, not least in their structure. A mind map has a central focus, while a concept map usually starts at the top of the page and works downwards, hierarchically. And again, I repeat, you start a concept map by setting out the question to answer. This article isn't really about how to create a concept map, that needs a post all by itself. If you want to watch a video on creating a concept map and a link to a pice of free software for creating your own concept map, look here . I usually draw my concept maps by hand but software can make it easier and you can save them for posting on line.

How Does This Help My Writing?

Sometimes, when you have a piece of writing, especially one with information gathered from lots of different places, it can be hard to see how it fits together or what its logical order should be. In this case, I create a concept map, with a concept box for each paragraph (or sentence, depending on the length) and then fit them together to see how they are related. When you are using the software, t's easy to move the boxes around to make different connections, until they fit together in the best way.

Example

I have a piece of writing about Pinterest. I am going to create a concept map based on the question, "What is Pinterest"? I could have set a question of "How best to use Pinterest" or "how do I set up a Pinterest Account" or "Is Pinterest truly a form of Social Media"? etc. These would all produce slightly different concept maps and slightly different articles, all fitting into the Pinterest or Social Media niche.

Starter Article

I have gathered information on Pinterest and here it is:

Pinterest is one of the most popular social media sites around today. This can be used commercially if you choose. When you join (free) you get an account. You can think of this account just like a cork noticeboard you might have up in your kitchen or office to remind you of appointments, collect telephone numbers and pin the kids’ artwork and postcards from friends, EXCEPT that each type of “thing” you are interested in can get a board of its own. Say you are interested in travelling. On a corkboard in your kitchen you might pin brochures from travel agents, pictures of places you might want to go, ideas for things to do in different places, pictures of clothes you might want to take with you, ideas for different ways of travelling there and maybe even ideas for how to gather the money to do this. Each of these categories: brochures, clothes, things to do, etc., could have its own separate board on your Pinterest account. Then on each board, you would pin pictures of what you were interested in, so you could pin pictures of beachwear, ski wear, shoes, evening wear, etc., on the clothes board. The type of pictures you would pin depending on the type of holiday YOU are interested in and the types of clothes YOU like. Of course, if you just have a personal account, you may have boards in ALL the categories you are interested in, maybe fitness, children’s games, cookery, water skiing, mountain climbing, holiday decorations, clothing, woodwork, container homes, DIY, anything at all. So, each person who has an account gets to create boards in categories of their choosing. From the name of the board, to the type of content in it, the user has complete control over all of their boards. Topics range from broad ones, such as "cats" to very specific species of fungi. This is just part of the fun of setting up the boards. Users can create as few or as many boards as they want.

Concepts included

The concepts are: Pinterest, social media, account, personal, business, corkboard, pins, boards, I wrote these on the paper but I don't generally do this when working for myself. I have only put in a few concepts to show an example. My writing would probably already have been set out in paragraphs and my concepts would have reflected the paragraph's contents rather than just a sentence. The graphics show how the concept map looks at first and then how it looks when rearranged. Now, I just have to rearrange the piece of writing to follow the concept map. I have used this idea on documents as long as 80 pages and it's a great help for getting things in order and not repeating yourself.

(c) MegL my own creation (c) MegL my own creation

Rewritten Article based on Concept Map

What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a form of social media and one of the most popular sites around today.

When you join (free) you get an account. This can be a personal account or can be used commercially if you choose.

Pinterest works like a cork noticeboard you might have up in your kitchen or office to remind you of appointments, collect telephone numbers and pin the kids’ artwork and postcards from friends,
EXCEPT that each type of category you are interested in can get a board of its own. Say you are interested in travelling. On a corkboard in your kitchen you might pin brochures
from travel agents, pictures of places you might want to go, ideas for things to do in different places, pictures of clothes you might want to take with you, ideas for different ways of travelling
there and maybe even ideas for how to gather the money to do this.

Each of these categories: brochures, clothes, things to do, etc., could have its own separate board on your Pinterest account. Then on each board, you would pin pictures of what you were
interested in, for that category, so you could pin pictures of beachwear, ski wear, shoes, evening wear, etc., on the clothes board. The type of pictures you would pin depending on the type of holiday YOU are interested in and the types of clothes YOU like.

Of course, if you just have a personal account, you may have boards in ALL the categories you are interested in, maybe fitness, children’s games, cookery, water skiing, mountain climbing, holiday decorations, clothing, woodwork, container homes, DIY, anything at all.

If you have a business account, you may decide only to include BOARDS and PINS related to your business.

So, each person who has an account gets to create boards in categories of their choosing and then to PIN items that fit that category. From the name of the board, to the type of content in it, the user has complete control over all of their boards. Topics range from broad ones, such as "cats" to very specific species of fungi.

This is just part of the fun of setting up the boards. Users can create as few or as many boards as they want and pin as many or as few pictures into each board as they choose.

The "social" part of Pinterest is that you can share these boards and pins with your followers and also follow other users and pin their pictures to your boards. This is a good way of gaining exposure for a business or of finding new ideas.

#FOPP

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Image Credit » (c) MegL, my own creation

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Comments

bestwriter wrote on July 16, 2015, 7:21 PM

After writing for Persona where I get all I want - relaxation, interaction, an opportunity to learn and share I simply cannot think of writing that involves all the steps that you have outlined. Good luck with your writing Meg. You must be at places where they require this kind of approach.

cheri wrote on July 16, 2015, 11:18 PM

This is very important when writing a content. But there are sites which actually ahve a more relaxing way of taking writing easy. Thanks for these tips.

CoralLevang wrote on July 17, 2015, 1:32 AM

I have bookmarked this to refer back to it from time-to-time. Thank you!

MegL wrote on July 17, 2015, 2:55 AM

I have used this for writing my thesis (100,000 words!) but also for writing much simpler items. I am currently using it to develop a booklet on Pinterest, (for my own information) more as an outliner at present, as I don't have enough written at present to use it for a full article.

MegL wrote on July 17, 2015, 2:57 AM

Yes, this may not be the most relaxing way of writing but it certainly helps me when I have a large piece of writing that I am trying to check makes sense and is in a logical order However, the idea is simple enough for children to use in primary and elementary school. Here is one site using concept maps in teaching. http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/concept_maps

Last Edited: July 17, 2015, 3:02 AM

HappyLady wrote on July 17, 2015, 5:27 PM

I think I might use this. I rarely structure things and tend to just write and reorganise
I like how it gives material for several articles.

allen0187 wrote on July 19, 2015, 7:19 PM

Very helpful article. I just had to tweet about it. I've been doing some of your tips like keeping a notebook and doing an outline for my posts. Too bad I do not have the discipline to follow through.

Thanks for the insightful article.

MegL wrote on July 20, 2015, 2:30 AM

Thanks for the tweet and the comment

Shellyann36 wrote on July 21, 2015, 1:41 AM

Quite a detailed layout. Thank you for sharing. It is inspiring.

Paulie wrote on July 23, 2015, 6:00 AM

This is an excellent post and I wish I would have seen it when I was teaching writing. I am sharing this on my Facebook account.

MegL wrote on July 23, 2015, 7:50 AM

Thank you very much