I keep coming back to the power of clustering in this blog because I keep meeting people who once learned how to cluster and then never used it.
Our Creator did not provide our brain with an index. As a result, we usually don’t know what we know on any particular topic. “Do you know anything about electric trains?” “No. Well, wait–I had a Lionel set when I was 10. It had three tracks. I remember seeing some other kinds in my neighborhood hobby store–I think they were HO scale and NN scale. Oh, yeah, and…” 20 minutes later, you realize you do know something about electric trains. And given more time, you’d discover more.
Neuroscientists are making great strides in understanding how we remember stuff, but it is still mysterious in many ways. Without understanding how it all works, clustering gives us access to our knowledge so that we can make a list of what we know and don’t know about any topic.
This is useful at many phases of the book-writing process. You can cluster a title for your book; a subtitle; chapters; subchapters; and more. And before you talk to your book coach, you can cluster the topics you want to be sure to cover.
Cluster what to say in your presentation. What to tell people about on your web page. What you should pick up at the supermarket.
Clustering is a mining tool, to let you get at the riches you have stored in your mind. Gabriele Rico devotes an entire book to it:Writing the Natural Way. Highly recommended.
How do you cluster? Here’s a description from the blog of writer Dustin Wax.