For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write. While I have never done much of it before, it has always been an outlet for me when personal things were troubling me, or I wanted to dig deeper into an emotional issue. A few years ago, I read about a writing method called “Webbing” (also known as “Clustering”) and it rocked my writing world.
Don’t ask me HOW it works, I can just assure you that it DOES . . . very simple concept, very simple implementation, but it opens up the mind in complex ways, and takes you to new levels of understanding that just pour from your pen (or keyboard, as the case maybe). Somehow it switches the brain from a left brain approach to right brain activity that is dynamic.
In the course of writing, you can web an entire book idea (for example, growing up in the 1950s); or a more specific idea (my Dad); or a smaller thought (sitting on the dock with my Dad); or an even smaller idea (sunset); or even more detailed in, for instance, the color of someone's shirt . . . whether the idea is big or small, you can web about it to get greater insight. If you want to get to the heart of understanding something in your life (this is what I personally use it for most commonly), web about it. If you want great detail about something, web it. The words and understanding will flow. I don’t generally use it for blogging, but I do use it to develop an idea. But whether I want to understand something more deeply or I want to expand an idea, I “web” it. So here's how you do it:
- In the center of a piece of paper (8.5 x 11 is good, not a small piece), write down the word that you want to write about – for instance, your daughter, or summer, or your mother, or being a Realtor, finances, a car accident, or flowers, your hometown, fiber, farms, travel, your new shoes, having to take medicine, lace curtains, your age – whatever it is that you really want to write about or get to the heart of – write the word down in the center of the page and put a circle around it. I have taken a picture of some of my ‘webs’ so that you can visualize what it looks like; so that you can see that it may take a lot of words or it may take a few words.
- Look at the word (or idea) that you wrote in the center of your paper. Figure out what it means to you – words will start flowing thru your mind – NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE, WRITE THEM DOWN AROUND THE CENTER WORD AND CIRCLE THEM. (Look at the pictures to get a visual of what I’m talking about.) Off-base or off-color or off-kilter, write the words down as they come to you AND ALWAYS CIRCLE THEM. TRY to group like words together, but you start with the center word circled, and you circle the words as you write them down around the center word.
- It may take you five words, it may take you fifty words, it may take you five hundred words. As the words flow out of you, write them down. If they start to slow down, keep looking at and reading the words that you have already written and circled to trigger more, and keep writing whatever words come to mind. Do not filter the words. DO NOT CENSOR. All of a sudden you will feel your brain ‘click,’ and you will want to start writing your story. Be prepared to do it.
In other words: Write a word in the middle of the page, circle it, and just keep writing words that come to mind and circling them until you want to right a story. That simple.
You may have to leave it and come back to it later, but it will still work. Even if the brain has “switched,” when the inspiration comes, it will still be there the next day, so don’t stress about that. Sometimes, if it is a subject that causes me pain to think about, I will get up and walk away after many words, and come back and look at them again. I did one not too long ago that just wouldn’t happen. I went and laid down, and as I was falling asleep, one more word popped into my mind, and it was like, THAT’S IT! I jumped up and started writing, and within no more than 5 minutes I had an INCREDIBLE poem, and it helped heal the pain that I was feeling on the subject. An interesting thing is that I didn’t use that last word that came to mind that prompted me in what I wrote, it was just the trigger that my brain needed for understanding of the subject.
Sometimes you will use the words that you wrote down when you start writing your “article,” and sometimes there is little more than the basic subject matter that is included. I did one with more than fifty words in my web, but only used six of those words in the finished product. It was the culmination of all of them that gave me the understanding of the topic, and all of them that triggered my brain to open up to what I wanted to say.
What I used to do when I started using this technique was to take a topic and write what I could about a subject WITHOUT webbing. THEN write about the same subject WITH webbing. You will be absolutely amazed at the difference. "Lace Curtains" in Item #1 is a link to an idea that I wrote from webbing.
Again, I can’t explain WHAT happens, but I PROMISE that it DOES happen. If this doesn’t make sense, please do not hesitate to ask me questions. But it always works. Let me know what else you need from me to understand the concept, and for it to make perfect sense. I’m here to help. Can’t WAIT to hear how it affects you, or to see a finished product.