Mind Mapping for Creative Blocks

Mind Mapping2A few weeks ago I was listening to a recent After the Jump podcast with Katie Deedy of Grow House Grow. During the interview, she talked about finding inspiration and how she gets through creative blocks. If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you’ll know from some of my posts (especially this one) that I’ve had the worst creative block I think I have ever had and I just can’t seem to bust through. One of the methods she mentions using often are mind maps. She uses beach for example and names off some things that remind her of the beach: sand, water, salt. Then she picks out salt and from there says Himalayas. After trying to do a few basic mind maps, I really believe that it takes practice because I find her ability to link beach, salt, Himalayas so quickly astounding! Maybe (hopefully) that’s just the creative block speakingSince I’m a very computer-oriented person and like keeping all of my thoughts on a cloud somewhere, I searched around for some sort of mind mapping program and found one that I really like called Coggle. It’s incredibly easy to use and it will sync with your Google Drive. Here’s an example of one that I did using things I’m interested in:mapIf you’ve never mind mapped before, the process is about as simple as you can get. The above map is no where near complete and it’s exciting to see it take shape. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Start with what you know. I started with my interests because I could name them off pretty quickly and am really interested in seeing where this method takes me in finding new dimensions of my interests.


  • Don’t make it more complicated. This is really easy for me to do (obviously if I have to find an online method vs. using the basic pencil and paper!). The great thing about mind mapping is that there’s always another avenue, whether you see it right away or not. Above I elaborate on reading -> blogs. I was able to get very specific on some (reading blogs on Friday afternoons at the pool) and very vague on others (personal posts) as well as branches with a brand new topic (different parenting styles) versus branches with no real topic at all (reading blogs before bed). Not every branch will give inspiration and sometime none will.
  • Take your time.  As with anything creative, you have to step away from it sometimes to start fresh. Unless you’re really practiced at it, I don’t think you can have a successful mind mapping session in one sitting. If you’re stuck, come back to it! But don’t hesitate if something pops into your head, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 days after you stepped away.

I’m really excited to dive deeper into mind mapping and see how far I can let my brain take me and force myself to think much further outside the box than I usually do.

Do you practice mind mapping? — Annie


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