Dynamic Writing Technique


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:

  1. webbingIn 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.
  2. 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.
  3. webbingIt 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.

webbingSometimes 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.


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 Colorado Springs Realtor Mimi Foster 

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Rebekah Radice 05/26/2011 07:18 AM
  2. Cindy Logan 05/26/2011 08:20 AM
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Jeanne M. Gavish
Jeanne Gavish, Keller Williams Realty Elite Partners - Spring Hill, FL
Keller Williams Realty Elite Partners - CIPS,GRI,S

Mimi, I have seen this concept used in a speech writing course I attended, but I never thought to expand it to the style you presented.  I am going to try it.  I can see how it unlocks the mind because once you write down the word/idea, it frees up your mind for more creative thought.  Kinda brilliant in its simplicity.  I will bookmark this blog. thanks for sharing.  Your passion comes through.

May 26, 2011 07:27 AM #6
Melba Baquero
Melba Baquero, Ascent Home Loans - Temecula, CA

This is an awesome technique and you're right, there's something about doing it that unleashes the creative juices within.  Thanks for sharing it and reminding me of it's wonderful effects once again.

May 26, 2011 07:36 AM #7
Allen 2222
Austin, TX

I love how you explained this. We've used similar techniques for brainstorming and it does have a remarkable way of oepening up the brain and enabling the words and the ideas to flow with more clarity. And nowadays when we have SO MUCH TO WRITE, we need all the help we can get!!

May 26, 2011 07:40 AM #8
Cindy Logan
Mark 1 Real Estate Advisors - Huntington Beach, CA

Mimi, thank you!  Rebekah, I tried to comment on your re-blog of this; it wouldn't let me.  Mimi, I just paid Lisa Nichols a LOT to have her give me the same information.  It's on my wall as a reminder!

May 26, 2011 08:17 AM #9
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Mimi, I use this all the time for meetings and other things. I learned it as Mind Mapping. Great way to stimulate the brain muscles, taking notes or giving a presentation.

May 26, 2011 08:31 AM #10
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I've never even heard of this process, but I'm definitely going to try it.  Thanks so much for sharing!  (Did you use webbing to write this blog?)

May 26, 2011 09:06 AM #11
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I'd love to see something that you write with it.  Let me know, Brenda

Linda ~ it is so interesting what it does to your brain :)


May 26, 2011 11:16 AM #12
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Rebekah ~ I want a copy of it when it comes out! Sure hope this helps, my dear friend.

My pleasure, Rebecca.

Jeanne ~ I would imgine that it would be good for speech writing, and actually so many things.  Can't begin to tell you how it has helped me in so many areas.  Thanks for your comments.  This is DEFINITELY something that I'm passionate about :)

Melba ~ would love to see what it helps you produce.

Alison ~ that's a great word for it - clarity.  It's like you can see it all of a sudden.

Cindy ~ ouch! But I hope that it will help you.  One of those things that you just have to sit down and DO.

Yes, Michael, very similar to Mind Mapping.  I had never thought of it for taking notes.  Great idea!

Kathleen ~ I didn't because I had the passion for the topic. :)  Lace Curtains (the link) was with Webbing.  I would use webbing for blogging if I were writing an emotional subject, or something that I wanted to understand better, or a topic that I needed to organize in my mind.  Thanks for stopping by!

May 26, 2011 11:45 AM #13
Rose King
David Tracy Real Estate - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

Mimi - I used this technique to teach creative headline writing to my yearbook students when I was still teaching. It works! Now I will have to apply it to my own creations. :)

May 26, 2011 12:25 PM #14
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Mimi - what a novel, no pun intended, idea. But the problem on my side is I don't use a pen anymore so cirlcing would be tough. I use a laptop and a smartphone.
Anyway this peaked my interest. I recently lost my Dad and there are a lot of memories that are cultivating but once I have something it is gone until another day. But I like your idea of focusing on the one word and let the rest flow.

My first and current wife's were and are good writers. It was hard for me to keep up so I didn't. But now that I am blogging things keep coming back to me. I don't feel creative so that has been the hardest. I am glad I ran across your post.

May 26, 2011 12:38 PM #15
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Rose ~ interesting to see the different places that this has been used.  It's a great 'focus' tool.

Ken ~ I'm sure if you put a few of those humorous brain cells together that you could figure out how to do this on your laptop OR your smartphone.  In the meantime, I assume you still know how to use a pen? Don't know how else to tell you to draw the circles, and don't want your synapses to get stuck.  Seriously, I don't think that you can do this without a pen (or pencil).  You can write what pours forth with the computer (that works well), but the actual webbing should be done with pen and paper.  And I keep a running list (on my computer and on a little pad that I carry with me) whenever a blogging idea comes to me, I keep it in a file and have dozens of ideas with which to web and write.  I am sorry about the recent loss of you Dad.  Webbing is an incredible way to figure out emotions in such situations.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

May 26, 2011 02:01 PM #16
Pam Miller
Realty Associates - Friendswood, TX
Broker Associate - Pearland/Friendswood

mimi - what a good idea!  i'm going to try it.  My mind does work in mysterious ways:)

May 26, 2011 04:45 PM #17
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Mimi's mind boggeling musings, "what you should have called it". Not even close to wrapping my head arround that idea or method. Don't understandit. Straight linear thinking technical guy like me?

I experience 'flow' or creativity, or even 'a ha' clarity inthe process of writing,..sometimes, so I can 'credit' your 'experience' with the process. but....blythly carring on with out understanding, just rubs me the wrong way. Doesn't seem right. But that's just me.

May 26, 2011 04:56 PM #18
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Pam ~ let me know how it works!

Bob ~ I actually thought of you when I posted this earlier and thought "men like Bob are not gonna get it!" It's an emotive thing, and linear, technical, or engineer types might feel it's stupid.  Having said that, I can't imagine how neat it would be if you DID get it and tried it.  To see what it would do with the strict thinking mind.  See what might come out of the brain flip :)

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.  Let me know if you do it! :) :)

May 26, 2011 05:12 PM #19
Emily Read
Salt Lake City, UT

How has this not been featured yet??? Great blog, Mimi - I think I'll try this!!

May 26, 2011 06:19 PM #20
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Right?!? ;)  Thanks, Emily!  If you are ready to get deeper into your writing, this will rock your world!  Good luck!

May 27, 2011 02:25 AM #21
Elizabeth Byrne
Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, VA
Arlington Virginia Real Estate

Mimi, I've heard about this technique but haven't tired it yet. Thank you for explaining it in an easy to understand way. I will definitely try it - perhaps tonight, if I find some time. Thank you again for sharing this great method.

May 27, 2011 06:09 AM #22
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I have found, Elizabeth, that total quiet so that you can hear yourself think, produces the best results.  It is an amazing thing that happens, and I would love to hear how it works out for you.

May 27, 2011 06:12 AM #23
Pippa Mac
Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring - The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands TX Real Estate

Wow ..this is a fantastic writing tip!   I feel like that is my biggest stumbling block so I tried this and your right, it just happened all of the sudden!  pippa

Jun 04, 2011 09:29 AM #24
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Very interesting. I'll give it a try.

Jun 06, 2012 03:01 AM #25
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