I am a huge fan of clearing the mind before starting tasks such as writing. Mind mapping is a way of organizing your ideas in a highly visual manner. I like to use color pencils and illustrations on my mind maps. This jump starts my creative juices and makes my imagination soar.
I use mind maps to cite preconceived and non-preconceived associations that will flow freely and smoothly. Also mind mapping helps to connect ideas in interesting, new and exciting ways.
Mind mapping can be done by hand, which I do. A mind mapping software can also be used. By hand or by software, it is much easier to see thoughts and creative threads.
I started mind mapping years ago when I needed to remember what I read. It was a very fast, fun and easy way to write down notes. I then started to use it when I wanted to write on a specific topic. I was able to mind map just about everything that I could on that topic. Once it was all down on paper, I could then take it and mold it into whatever I wanted.
I recommend trying mind mapping. It may be very helpful. Start at mindmapping.com. Then check out what some other writers say about mind mapping. There are many resources online.