Mind Maps

posted September 16, 2009

When you want to write a song (or do anything creative, like start a business, organize your office, figure out what to do with five unmatching skeins of yarn), here’s a great idea: Make a Mind Map.

A Mind Map, as I use it, is simple. It looks like a child’s drawing of a sun. Big circle with you in the middle, lines to represent your rays. In the middle of the sun, write down the central theme of your desired creation (eg “tote bag,” “toy store,” “clean floor” or “song using that great line that’s been kicking around in my head for ten months.”) Then make your rays, and at the end of each ray, write down anything and everything you might throw into your project, any ideas at all. So for instance, if you are starting a business, your mind map might look like this:

Click on the image to enlarge and read my chicken scratch.

As you can see, there are a number of different ideas here ranging from the very small and practical to the decidedly woo woo. Once you’ve got a bunch of ideas down, you can begin to winnow and weed. You can see which ones might be do-able right away, and which ones need more research. For instance, in my example, the first name for your potential toy store that comes to you might be “The Island of Misfit Toys.” You are thrilled! Until you tell your best friend and she said, “That is the worst name for a toy store I ever heard.” Then you Google it and find out there actually IS a store called The Island Of Misfit Toys in the next town over, so you stick your tongue out at your best friend, but your confidence has secretly been zapped, and you decide the next right move would be to sign up for a teleclass in branding offered by some fabulous life coach.

By the way, here is what I did with my skeins of yarn. I made a gigantic bag, big enough to use as a sleeping bag for Elle.

Then I threw it in the wash and felted it.

Tom was just saying, as he was crushing some garlic that he grew, “I know this garlic isn’t really any better than the garlic we could get in the store, but I just love my food so much more when it has my garlic in it.”

I told him I knew just what he meant. Up until Jay was born, I made my own yogurt. Honestly, it was pretty ordinary, slightly watery yogurt, but I loved it anyway. Same with this bag. It’s a little lumpy and I wouldn’t give it away as a gift, but I will carry my iPhone and journal and water bottle in it with great pride. Nothing like homemade. Same with your mind maps. When you put down all your great ideas for your fabulous future life, shining like the sun right back at you, you will love every step of your journey. Because it’s yours.

The Comments

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  1. love the idea of the mind map —
    am hoping to get to one of your retreats sometime, maybe a little coaching, too — gonna be out your way next weekend at umass family week…have a gorgeous september day…

  2. I like this a lot & I never knew what felting was until just now when I looked it up. I’d been wondering.

    I grew tiny miniature garlics and I love them so much. Eating food I’ve grown or foraged tastes so much better to me. I like to literally eat the benefits of my hard work.

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