What is Mind Mapping and How Does it Help Me Write?

From time to time I get asked how I organize my thoughts before writing or while brainstorming. The answer is mind mapping. Let’s learn a little bit about what is mind mapping and how to use it.

I use mind maps as a way to organize information + ideas for large projects #mindmapping Click To Tweet

Mind Mapping for Better Brainstorming

What is Mind Mapping and How does it help the creative process?

When I first started writing, I just wrote and wrote and wrote.

Yet, I’ve boiled it down to a writing process now that I use when I have a great idea I want to develop further.

My solution is to create a mind map for every large project I have

What is  Mind Mapping?

A mind map is a way to visually organize information. You start off with the main topic, then subtopics (or nodes), then subtopics under those, and so on.

Mind maps can be as large or as small as you need them to be.

When looking at a mind map in software, you can also hide or show parts as needed. This helps to clear up the clutter while working on a different part of your mind map.

I use mind mapping as a way to organize information and ideas for large projects.

I use mind maps as a way to organize information + ideas for large projects #mindmapping Click To Tweet

I’ve also taught my kids to use mind maps to organize essays. Mind maps are great for organizing composition projects for school. This is a simple way to organize the information before you write an English paper.

Mind mapping is a simple way to organize information before you write an English paper #mindmapping Click To Tweet

When mind mapping you can rearrange information. So, if you think the order or the grouping of information doesn’t fit, you can move nodes around.

A Mind Mapping Example

When writing a book, I start with the main thought, which I put into the center of a mind map. Ideas that support this main thought are then also created. Using Simple Minds, I like to make them each different colors. As you might imagine, a mind map can turn into a tangled mess.

To show this, I’m sharing a screen grab from one of my mind maps. This I was when I worked on how to better lay out my website’s content. I used the mind map to organize all this information. I also used the mind map to figure out where the holes in my content were, relative to my goals for the website.

In this sample mind map, the blue bubble in the middle which says, “Thoughts and Designs”. This was the main topic: my website.

From there, you see branching out several different main ideas. These ideas are all color coded for the main parts of the website.  When I use a mind map for an ebook, those topics would be chapter ideas.

Branching off from those are different ideas and topics that fall under those headings. In the case of my website, some of those were pre-existing. But I organized it in there any way to get a good overview of how my website looked, content-wise. I also color coded different series and related information too, so that I could see it better at a glance.

What is Mind Mapping vs. Mood Boarding

I prefer to do any large project with either mind mapping or mood boarding.

Usually, anything is written I use mind maps. I prefer the app Simple Minds but there are many other kinds as well.  Anything artistic is usually done using a mood board via Evernote. Although, I do gather research and ideas in Evernote before I’m ready to organize them.

I prefer mind mapping, instead of just writing. I feel it’s easier to not only get my thoughts down quickly. I can organize the information in a logical way before I ever start to write.

Paper Mind Maps

What is Mind Mapping and How does it help the creative process?

You can create mind maps on paper too, of course.

Using a sheet of paper is not as flexible if you need to rearrange the information. This is why I like apps like like Simple Mind Pro. Mind maps can also grow large and become unwieldy when done on paper.

But, another good option, if you have a large wall to work on, is to use post-it notes to arrange the information. I have also used index cards to organize information for large projects. In doing this, I use one index card or post-it note like a node on a mind map.

To Master Mind Mapping

To really learn what mind mapping is as a way of organizing your thoughts and projects I recommend a course. This one is awesome:

Mind Mapping Essentials Video Course