Monday, December 21, 2009

Writing for Visual Thinkers

Just found Austin Kleon's blog posts on Visual thinking for writers and we're hooked. We can't tell you how many times a child's referred to us for writing problems, but really he or she is a gifted artist with a strong visualization style of thinking and expression. A glance at the school notebook shows a treasure trove of doodles and images. Most schools aren't really made for visual thinkers.

What is visual thinking? The first thing that comes to mind is that it's usually not just visual - most people we ask describe it as multisensory -feeling, images (vivid or vague), sound, touch, even smell or taste. No wonder it's so difficult to put into words - and even harder to put into words quickly. The importance of feelings - you can really see it in Kleon's mindmap at left - is why visual thinkers make such good novelists, impassioned CEOs, and filmmakers - and why they may struggle in schoolrooms and business relationships if they can't connect with a teacher or colleague on some emotional level.

Since Gerald Grow's The writing problems of visual thinkers, there's been disappointingly few practical resources to to specifically help visual thinkers put their ideas into words. Because visual thinkers also tend to be immersive in their thinking style, they have particular trouble sequencing and narrowing ideas.

We hope to get a chance to read Deleon's book - but it's not yet available on Amazon. In the meantime, check out Deleon's posts ideas such as:

- Lay it all out where you can look at it
- Get yourself a calendar
- Mind maps
- Comics without pictures
- Writing the Fibonacci sonnet
- Tools
- How to books
- Graph a story with Mr. Vonnegut
- Maps of fictional worlds
- Writing on Walls

And speaking of writing on walls, if you haven't seen it, check out this link to a 360 degree video of what one man and $10 of sharpie pens was able to do to redecorate his bedroom.

We'll take a short break from the blog for the Christmas holidays. Blessings and have a great time with family and friends

Eide Neurolearning Blog: Visual and Dyslexic Thinking


  1. In addition, one can create a visual "narrative fractal" - and fill in the text corresponding to the six elements of a well-formed storyline:

    - attractor (stirs interest)
    - background (introduces tension regarding a gap/challenge that needs to be resolved)
    - opportunity (shows a vision of the future free of the gap or challenge)
    - strategy (sets out the sequence of steps needed to get to the envisaged opportunity)
    - validation (describes tests that need to be run to accept the strategy)
    - next steps (offers choices to commit to the strategy, reject it, or refocus/reloop the fractal narrative process)

    More information on this approach can be found at .


    Mark Frazier
    Openworld, Inc.
    @openworld (Twitter)

  2. Is it possible that one thing that makes the visual style preferred for some people is that it enables you to take several different items and put them all in one sensory basket? i.e., if it's all in one image, physically, then does that make it easier to encode the information? If the same information comes in auditorily (tangent: is that a word??), it seems like it could be hard to ... can I call it "chunk" the information, because it literally takes longer to take it in and process it, so that by the time you get to the end of it, its hard to remember the beginning, so how can you link it in your memory? Am I even close to on the right track here?

  3. Interesting idea, Nyx. This reminds me of the Virginia Woolf quote, 'The strength of these pictures– but sight was always then so
    much mixed with sound that picture is not the right word – the
    strength any how of these impressions…in the nursery, on the
    road to the beach – can still be more real than the present