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Mind Mapping – Battling Bloggers Block

This will be the last post in the Battling Bloggers Block series of posts. You can read the full series all in the one place at Battling Bloggers Block.

Blog Tip 25. Mind Maps

I think I’ve talked briefly about Mind Mapping here at ProBlogger before – but have never really expanded upon what I do. I should say up front that I’ve never really had any training in Mind Maps and probably do it all wrong – but I do find what I do to be very helpful in coming up with outside the square kind of ideas.

In short – what I do is get a piece of paper or my trusted white board out and in the centre of it write a word that relates to the post/series/blog that I want to write. I usually put a box or circle around the word – it’s my central idea.

Sprouting out from the central word I begin to write other words that relate to it. Each one is joined to the first word with a line and has it’s own circle around it. These words could relate to the first word in any number of ways. They might be fanciful crazy ideas or thoughts with tenuous links or they might be concrete and predictable ones. At this point I don’t stop long on any word but stay in brainstorming mode.

From these second words come other words that link to them with lines – the process continues. Some threads of thought might end up being 7 or 8 words long, others might stop after 1 idea.

What ends up happening is that the page fills up with words that all link to one another. It can end up looking very chaotic and unordered but amidst the messiness is often a few gems of ideas that I come back to once my ability to brainstorm comes to an end.

At this point I note down some of the key ideas and enter into a phase of exploring each in turn in a slightly deeper and more critical way. I won’t bore you with the rest of the process – but want to leave the first part with you as a great way to get your mind working and coming up with ideas.

Pick a broad topic for your first word and then do this exercise and you might just end up with a plethora (always wanted to use that word in a post) of ideas for posts. You might find a number of series of posts emerge – or even a new blog or two.

I try to do this sort of exercise at least every month (although lately I’ve let it slip). It’s especially useful after you’ve done a bit of a blog review and are looking for fresh direction.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Mariano says:

    I use Mind Maps very often, from brainstorming to software development and I use this free tool.It’s useful to keep and share those mind maps.

  2. Mind mapping never really worked for me. I do the same thing, but with regular lined paper or with an outliner application, and the result always ends up looking like a hierarchical outline. (I have one right here for a new weblog, scribbled in a notebook.)

    I’m not sure if I’m just not a visual thinker or what, but outlines make more sense than mind maps to me. When someone sends me a mind map-like drawing, I mentally translate it into an outline.

    Brainstorming is definitely good, however you do it. I should do it more often.

  3. Jee says:

    Mind-mapping is a very useful method in every aspect of life.

    Mind-map can go beyond words, it’s recommended to use graphics, colors etc to enhance the map and bombard your mind thus creating better creativity and memories..

    Need to know more? Read Tony Buzan’s “The Mind Map Book”.. highly recommended.

  4. JErm says:

    If you want to keep it organized and clean (design-wise) you can use a program. There’s actually one called MindMapper and another one called MindManager out there (Google them up). But yeah I always do that too but I’ve slacked lately just like you have. LOL.

    Mind sharing one of your sketches on your next post maybe? :)

  5. Daryl says:

    Darren – great way to finish off a fantastic series of posts! I totally agree with this one — I don’t know how I ever managed without mindmaps — they are an invaluable tool for organising ones thoughts and ideas.

  6. Julana says:

    I think we used to call that clustering, in composition.

  7. Richard Hall says:

    I’m a big fan of mindmapping too – I often use it for sermon prep, and nearly always take a mindmap rather than a script or linear notes into the pulpit with me. I endorse what Jee says about using graphics – I’m no artist, but colour and graphics are very helpful in mindmapping. I also agree on the value of Buzan’s “The Mind Map Book”.

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