Mind mapping is an approach to writing that frees your brain to go wherever it wants. You utilize brainstorming, but just by yourself. I first begin mind mapping with a clean sheet of paper and a pencil. The technique is to put the primary topic of the content in the center of the page, and then around the outside, you begin writing random but related thoughts. As you continue, you will find relationships between these ideas, and start to see how they might fit together.
If you’ve ever had writer’s block, you know that that it can be debilitating. This technique avoids this problem because there’s no pressure; after all, you’re just doodling. As you’re writing these ideas down on your paper, you should see keywords and key phrases. How could I interest a reader, what expression would he be looking for, and how could this interest him. Save these to include in your SEO effort.
Mind Mapping Helps Develop Your Article’s Theme
Before long you will begin developing a theme, an organization of your random thoughts. You also may think about images to convey your ideas. In fact, pictures are likely to come to mind. You should later look for photos that will carry the meaning.
Continue your “doodling”, writing down ideas as they come to mind. Feel free to move ideas from one area to another by drawing arrows. You can also cross out ideas that just don’t fit.
From this doodling, you will begin to see an organization with your thoughts. A trial title for the content will come to mind. And maybe even an opening paragraph will start to come together. Next, you will imagine a sequence of thoughts. The series will then flow into paragraphs, and ways to begin and end the paragraphs will come next.
Mind Mapping Adds Spontaneity
As I did this I kept in mind what you, the reader would like to know such as: How to avoid writer’s block? How to bring your brain into play for ideas? Let your mind move as it wants. The randomness of your thoughts will add spontaneity, and your writing won’t seem forced. As you continue you will know when the time is right to begin organizing the thoughts into content.
Now the work begins. You’re looking at this paper with handwritten notes, mark-throughs, arrows and thinking “How am I going to get this into my word processor?” Hopefully, you made notes on your paper as you were organizing this in your mind. Using these notes start with the title, write the opening paragraph and a trial opening sentence for each of the subsequent paragraphs. Now go back and fill in the details. With some cutting and pasting your content will come together.
Another way to accomplish all of this is to use dictation. The Apple Mac has a dictation feature that converts your spoken words to text. And with a little practice, you can dictate your mind mapping notes into text. You can learn how to use the software, and the Mac will learn to understand your voice. Windows 10 also comes with dictation software called Speech Recognitions. Google Docs also has dictation software called Voice Typing within Google Chrome. All of these products are free. I plan to write another blog for their use. Read it here.
Computer Assisted Mind Mapping
As I was researching this article, I found that there are computer-assisted mind mapping tools. PC magazine reviewed 10 of the best mind mapping software products of 2017 in their August 21, 2017, issue. Most of these products are intended to support groups of employees of different disciplines working on a joint project. Many were cloud-based, some interfaced with Microsoft office, and many had a smartphone and tablet version.
I tried using one of these and granted I wasn’t experienced with the software, but I found I preferred using paper and pencil. I found I got caught up in understanding how to use the software rather than creating content. But I will try again.
If you’ve never tried mind mapping, I recommend giving it a try. It’s liberating, just to begin an article by doodling on a piece of paper. It seems more apparent to keep in mind what the user is looking for when you don’t have to stare at a screen and keyboard. I believe the elapsed time in creating content is reduced using this technique. I also think that the material flows better and allows you to write to the reader.
Whether you are a beginner or an old hand; why not give mind mapping a try?