Do you ever get stuck creatively? Like you can form a sentence or think of an orginal idea to save your life?
Yeah. Me Too. I’m embarrassed to admit it but it happens to me fairly often.
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It’s just too easy to get sucked into the craziness of everyday life! When that happens, my creativity gets severely cramped.
Sometimes I get stuck and I can’t think of entertaining ways to write blog posts. Other times I struggle with creating episodes for the podcast I collaborate on.
I’m sure you get the drift….
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Us busy women sometimes need a way to get unstuck!
Mind Mapping is a tool that I have started using in the past year to help me organize my thoughts.
It even helps for non-writing projects like vacation planning or room organizing.
Are you struggling to come up with blog post topics? Have a paper or presentation due and no clue where to start? I feel ya!
I am often stumped over what I’m going to write about– whether it’s for this blog, academic papers, or other sites that I guest post on.
I am constantly coming up against a wall of what to write about. I will usually have some hazy ideas, but it takes a while to get those fuzzy thoughts written down into something intelligible to another person.
Mind mapping has helped me clear some of my brain clutter so that I can be more productive.
Mind Map to Organize Your Thoughts
Mind mapping has long been a tool taught in schools for writing projects. It helps organize and direct your ideas before you start a rough draft. However, it isn’t for writing alone. Organizing your everyday thoughts with a mind map is a helpful tool for your personal life too.
Mind Mapping, What Is It?
A mind map is a chart that helps you organize your thoughts about a topic or idea. This chart is created on paper or on the computer.
A mind mapping chart looks like a set of connected circles that represent how the ideas connect to the central topic.
Each mind map is unique because every central topic inspires different thought flows. It’s even possible to come up with different thoughts for the same central topic if you repeat the process over a few days.
A mind map helps you by creating a logical chart of your not-so-logical thoughts but in a creative way that guides your brain toward more concrete ways of thinking.
Creating A Mind Map
There are a lot of books and programs out there that will help you mind map but writing a mind map out by hand is my preferred way of operating. (Plus I get to use my pretty Staedtler pens!) I try to cut any distractions when I’m creating a mind map. No Pinterest!
Beginning a mind map is easy. Take a piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle. This is the start of your mind map. Write the central argument or topic in that circle.
As you think about the topic, branch new circles, ovals, or squares out of the main topic.
- Do your best not to think too hard about the ideas that you are writing down, your ideas will keep flowing if you don’t think too hard.
- If you have an idea related to your main topic, write it down so that you can move on to the next thought. You can always remove categories later.
- Each bubble can have another bubble coming out of it. It can even have multiple bubbles coming out of it to represent sub-topics.
- It helps to use different shapes or colors for each level of categories so that you can easily tell them apart.
Your mind isn’t orderly so don’t worry too much about keeping your map neat.
Just fill up the paper with different ideas and bubbles.
I often find that I think of other topics to write about when I mind map. Once I fill up a page I take out any ideas that I can use as a central topic in another project. I file those away for future use (Score!).
If you prefer to work digitally, sometimes it’s a good idea to start on paper first, just to tap into your creativity. The process of drawing the branches for the map tends to help your thinking flow. Once you have the paper rough draft you can replicate it on the computer and build from there.
When To Mind Map
You can use a mind map just about any time you need to organize your thoughts. Some great times to use one are:
- When you are planning to write anything
- Whenever you need to make a decision
- When you aren’t thinking clearly
- If you are a creative writer or an artist and are having a hard time coming up with your next project
- When you are working with complex ideas or concepts
- When you need to organize academic arguments and proof
Now that you know what a mind map is, how to create one, and when to use one– try it!
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come to you all at once. The more you use mind maps the more your brain will adapt to the way a mind map works.
Take out a piece of paper, draw that first circle, and write your main topic down. You are on the road to creativity and clarity.
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Have you tried mind-mapping? I’d love to hear about it– just let me know in the comments. Cheers!