As you may have read in last week’s article, I shared with you about my system for capturing and developing ideas.
Thanks to this system, I never have to struggle with writer’s block.
Today, I want to talk to you about what happens next….
Because what happens next is most important.
Don’t Skip Straight to Create
When it comes to developing your ideas, you cannot skip straight to the creative part.
Many folks do this, and it’s a rookie move, to be honest. Because without more clarity about your idea, you will hit the blank wall.
So, while it is great to have your list of ideas, there is still a critical part of the idea system that cannot be skipped over.
You need a way to develop your ideas before moving on to creating and building them.
This is key! When you include idea development then two big advantages occur:
- You will no longer have the anxiety that typically comes from staring at the blinking cursor.
You will save yourself time, because you will no longer be chasing down bad ideas.
This is exactly why I mind map all of my creative work in MindNode before I sit down to write them.
The process looks like this…
I used to try taking what I thought was the “shortcut”.
I would jump straight to create, not wanting to waste my time developing my ideas. Thinking it would be too much work, or not helpful.
But wow, was I ever wrong.
Here’s what actually happened when I began consistently developing my ideas using a mind map:
For one, I started to get clarity on the direction I wanted the article to go.
Almost immediately(!) I began to understand the major sections of my idea and how they tied together (more on that below).
Moreover, I found that adding details was much easier using a mind map than when I would be working in a standard outline format I was taught growing up in my traditional writing classes.
I’ll share the specific process I use for mind mapping later, but for now I want to focus on the why, not the how.
With mind mapping, it’s fun! Just place your main topic in the middle and start adding ideas as you have them.
Let your brain go. You will be amazed at what you’re able to come up with.
The more you do it, the easier it gets – and the more benefit you gain from it.
The first step is by far the most important. Once you overcome the resistance to get started, you’ll probably find (like I did) that mind mapping is just the thing that allows the ideas to start flowing.
I consider mind mapping my secret weapon when it comes to creativity
- Mind maps allow me to see an idea for what it really is, and they give me a filter for separating the good ideas from the bad. Thus, it’s a way to “test” an idea before really investing a lot of time and effort into it (which can save a ton of time and energy).
Mind maps increase confidence and save time. With a mind map, you have created an outline and a springboard that will decrease the friction you face when doing the creative work.
Mind maps help you think outside the box and generate fresh connections.This is the secret sauce that makes mind mapping so effective for creativity. It is a process known as radiant thinking, and it is what enables your brain to make connections between ideas that you probably would not do just from a standard outline.
With mind mapping, your brain can break free from the the limitations of linear thought and is free to forge multiple connections for each idea or concept.
The result: You see connections and and generate ideas that you never would have otherwise.
Mind mapping is not just for overcoming writer’s block. Use it for all sorts of things.
- If you’re trying to make an important decision.
- Need inspiration for just about anything in your personal or professional life
- Planning events, giving presentations, managing projects.
- You’re trying to understand a topic or idea better.
Mind mapping will give you more (and better) ideas, and help you make better connections between those ideas.
Here’s a sneak peek from our mind mapping course that shares how and why mind mapping works.
Use this as a strategy for yourself to solve just about any problem in your personal or professional life by coming up with better solutions.
In the next part of this series, I’ll jump back into my system and share how I take my ginormous mind map of potential ideas and use a couple cool features in MindNode (our pick for the best mind mapping app) to develop my mind map and to get the clarity and focus I need to start writing.
This same process can be used for any creative project, from planning an event to giving a presentation to managing a big project at work.
The next time you’re faced with a creative challenge, I encourage you to resist the urge to jump in and try to solve it right away.
Instead, start a mind map. Spend 15 minutes thinking about the problem and jotting down everything related to it that you can think of. I bet you’ll be amazed at the clarity that comes.
This article originally appeared on The Sweet Setup blog.