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Discover the secret ingredient in ALL ideas


The secret ingredient

You might have been wondering if there’s a common denominator in idea generation, a crucial aspect to the process, a secret ingredient if you like that will enable you to come up with ideas time and time again. Is there a hack or a trick or technique you can learn that will stop you getting stumped and get you over the fear of the blank page? Yes, and you already know what it is. In fact you’re very familiar with it, intimately so. You’ve guessed it! It’s YOU. Here’s one way in which exploring you and your world can enable you to come up with ideas time and time again.

Create a mini mind map

Grab a piece of paper and a pen, coloured pens if possible, and create a mind map. Draw a circle in the middle and write your name in it. You can decorate this circle in any way you like. Draw branches – coloured is best – around the outside. Along each branch, write a category relating to you. Here are some ideas, but make these fit your life:

  • cities I’ve lived in,
  • education,
  • experiences,
  • family,
  • friends,
  • homes,
  • interests,
  • jobs,
  • pets,
  • sport,
  • travel,
  • unusual things about me.

You’ve probably done a brainstorm or a spider diagram before. This is similar, but write along the lines rather than at the end of each line. Draw sub-branches coming out of your branches, like a tree, and fill in things about you at the end of each. So at the end of my ‘interests’ branch I might have sub-branches for ‘theatre’, ‘singing’, ‘yoga’, ‘art galleries,’ ‘cats’, ‘reading’, ‘cooking’, ‘swimming’ and ‘blogging’.

You and your life on paper

Do a brain download until you’ve got lots of things about you and your life down on one bit of paper. I have one in front of me that I did a while back that includes family, health, walking, friends, computer, self-care, relationships, the paid teaching I do, the online courses I’ve created, and writing. I’ve got the categories down and then from each of those branches I have created sub-branches that get more specific.

How to use you mini mind map to come up with ideas

This sort of mind map is great for coming up with ideas by linking concepts together. For example, looking at my mind map, I could link ‘walking’ and ‘time with family’. I write freelance feature articles, and this link provides me with both an initial idea and a market for a freelance feature article. I could write about going on accessible walks with my family, and pitch it to a family-focused magazine. The idea needs working out in more detail, but the mind map has given me the initial spark. Make your mini mind map as colourful as possible, and to use different colours for each aspect of the mind map, so that ideas really start to leap out at you.

Using connectivity

The next way in which the mini mind map helps you generate ideas is that it allows you to connect aspects of your own life to other topics. Say you were writing a blog about your art work that you hope to sell through your website, how could you connect that to one aspect of your mini mind map? Or say you want to blog about your gardening or a catering business, how does that connect with what you’ve got down already?

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Louise xx

P.S. If you’re a blogger and want more on coming up with ideas for your blog, go here.

1 Comment

  1. Idara joy says:

    Great post. I love mind mapping because my brain never stops generating ideas.

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