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A 3 post collection

Generate Blog Post Ideas With a Mind Map

 •  Filed under Posts, MindMapping

Coming up with new blog post ideas can be difficult if you're the kind of person who likes to post on a regular basis. I'm trying to write a blog post every weekday but I'll admit there are days where I am just not getting any spark to write about something. Not wanting to have another miserable blogging month like May where I missed a number of days, I wanted to start writing my blog posts ahead of their scheduled date they will be published.

I needed to generate a slew of ideas for blog posts and I needed it fast. Enter the mighty mind map.

My Blog Ideas Mind Map

Right so let's get something out the way first. My mind map might not look like a typical mind map, but space was limited in my notebook and rather than squeezing something unreadable in, I opted to list the final collection of blog posts in the bottom middle section of the mind map.

Let's get started

Okay, so you want to mind map ideas for blog posts. Why not just get started then? Well, mind maps work well when you have related ideas. That's the benefit of a mind map. It can let you generate related ideas and keep these ideas together.

Rather than simply adding blog post ideas to your mind map, take a minute to think about the categories on your blog. Can you generate more ideas for these categories? If not, then think about generating ideas for a series of related blog posts. A series has the benefit of having similar formats, with just the content being slightly different from one post to the next. It might sound like a cheat but keeping your posts short means that they'll havea better chance of being read.

So on your mind map, draw an image in the center for the central topic of your mind map, if you're not the artistic kind then simply the words "Blog Posts" will do.

Basic ordering ideas are the first level of branches that we add to our mind map. In our case each basic ordering idea branch is a blog post series or a category from our blog. Now for each basic ordering idea, simply add a branch for each related idea you can come up with for your blog.

My mind map has basic ordering ideas for the following series or categories:

  1. Blogs you Must Read
  2. Building a Blog Dashboard in Octopress
  3. Review posts
  4. Bike posts

Lastly I wanted a list of blog post ideas that were unrelated to any of the above series. With very little space left on my mind map, I decided to simply list the blog post ideas at the bottom. Mind map purists will be screaming at their screens at the moment, saying that this isn't a true mind map. Does it matter? As long as it works for you.

I set myself a time limit of 10 minutes to do this and managed to generate 30 blog post ideas. Don't worry if you can't generate this number of blog post ideas. With practice you'll be able to quickly generate more ideas with mind maps.

Take action

Now we have a list of ideas, what next? That's down to you. Add them to your to do list, start outlining them or even mind map each blog post idea!

I have my own method. In order to reduce the element of resistance (I'm lazy), I'm going to create draft files for each of these ideas in my blog. That way I can get started on writing them straight away and as each one is completed I can schedule it in for a specific date.

Your mileage might vary with a mind map. Some people get them, others don't. I've long been a fan of mind mapping so it is easier for me, however don't give up on it before you have tried it!

Mind mapping to outlining

 •  Filed under MindMapping, Posts

I've been trying to get back into using mind mapping on a daily basis again. I've used it a couple of times this week already. So far so good.The problem I have is that the largest notebook that I am using is a tad on the small side (think half of A4 size) and therefore I can only fit two levels of branches in a single mind map.

And that's the recurring problem I have with mind mapping. You need a big workspace to mind map effectively and that means nothing smaller than A4, but I tend to favour smaller notebooks as a daily scratchpad and dumping ground.

Which brings me to outlining. It's fit perfectly with the small notebooks I have and it although it's more linear than mind mapping, I can still organise stuff in a hierarchy much like mind maps do.

Which is better to use though?

It's time to get back into mind mapping again

 •  Filed under MindMapping, Posts

As part of a toolset reboot for the year I've decided to give mind mapping another go. Mind mapping isn't new to me, I first learned about it about 20 years ago. Some of you who know me might even remember my mind mapping blog from a few years ago.

I used mind mapping until about 3 years ago. At that point I wasn't using it as extensively as I did in the past. I was exploring the use sketch notes in place of mind maps as well. I eventually gave up on mind mapping and retired my blog. I think I had simply become bored with the use of mind maps.

With a new career direction ahead of me and loads of little ideas for products in my head, I'll be using mind mapping to explore these product ideas further before I build prototypes for them. Sometimes an idea sounds great in your head, but when it comes to executing the idea, it falls to pieces. I'll be using mind mapping to test the feasibility of these ideas on paper first and then turn them into prototypes later.

The one rule I have is that my mind maps will be created with the trusty pen and paper. There will be no mind mapping software used at all.

I've always been hesitant to use mind mapping software in the past. Mind mapping used to be nothing but pen and paper. There was no mind mapping software 20 years ago. Yes computers were becoming more mainstream, but mind mapping offered a chance to explore your thoughts and ideas away from the computer.

To me, mind mapping software constrains you in the way that mind maps are made. Pen and paper has no constraints, your mind map can take any shape that you wish.

Yup, it's time to get back into mind mapping again.