Creative Mind Mapping Methods
If you’ve never mind mapping, you’re in for a treat. A mind mapping is a way to visually map your thinking process to help spur non-linear thinking and engage both the left and the right brain in your planning. A mind mapping starts with a central word or text placed in the center, where it is allowed to branch off in multiple directions as the thoughts come to you. It is basically a diagram of ideas or words linked to the central word or concept. It radiates out in a non-linear fashion and can help you to identify different relationships that may not be so obvious in a linear map.
Now, you can mind map with a pen and paper. All you would do is start with your keyword or phrase in the middle of the paper and start to brainstorm different ideas, tasks, and concepts associated with your central word. The problem is that a piece of paper is somewhat limited for mind mapping. You only have an 8 1/2 x 11 surface to work with, and if you think of a website that is related to your keyword for research, well, you can write the link, but it’s not interactive with the web. Then, when you’re done, you still have to write the article somewhere else and use the paper as a different tool.
That’s why we recommend getting a mind mapping program. There are several good programs you can get and they will allow you to add electronic media like pdf files, website links, and even images to your mind maps. A good mind mapping program should let you do the following during the planning stages:
Use one mind map for even 100 pages– Say you want to write an eBook, you want to get a program that will let you brainstorm as much as you need to, to get all your ideas in and be able to see all the inter-relationships. If it is limited to an 8 1/2 x 11 sizes than it’s really no better than a sheet of paper. That’s why even though you could use a program like Microsoft Word to set up mind mapping diagrams, they aren’t as effective as a full mind mapping program which will let you cover three pages in one mind mapping if you desire.
- Branches with detailed note-taking– When you identify a branch of the idea, you may want to add significant notes about the idea before you move on. This is really important for writers who are using mind mapping software to create articles within the program too.
- Ability to add electronic media as branches and notes– We mentioned adding a website link and pdf file as potential research tools within the mind map or to add to your article. You should be able to do this and more: add a spreadsheet, maps, images, and more.
- Export functionality to the word processor– For writers using mind mapping to create articles, you want to be able to export the mind map to your word processor so that the articles are written as you brainstorm. This cuts out a large amount of time transferring your ideas to written articles that you can use and speeds up the entire writing process.
There are various programs being sold on the market for mind mapping, some are less expensive than others. We will discuss more the tools you can get to do mind mapping in these series, but probably the software of choice is Mindjet’s MindManager. It does everything in the above list and is easy to learn and use. This product runs about $349 for the full version. It comes with a free 30-day trial if you’re not sure whether you want to invest that much yet without trying it out first. There is also a lite version that sells for much less. Another program that does a good job is called Inspiration. Check out the resource section for where to find these products online.
Write, Write, Write!
So, those are the basics of the system and it really is as easy as 1-2-3! Now, that we’ve given you a good outline of what you need to have and do to start getting organized, we’ll start addressing some of these topics in better detail. Keep in mind that writing is a technical art, and to speed it up all you need to do is become better organized. However, when it comes to actually writing the pieces, it’s best that you let your own heart come out to give your writing character. If you follow these steps and keep writing, eventually you can command up to $50 an article from people wanting reviews, reports, and more.