idea mapping

October 15, 2007 at 11:16 am | Posted in Software, Writing | 1 Comment

In a writers workshop I recently took, we were shown how to make idea clusters. To break out of the linear box. To let ideas flow, then edit later.

Ran into this article today:

“When planning a project, whether it’s an essay or software, there’s a tendency to try to capture ideas in a linear fashion, organizing them as you draw them forth from your mind. The classic example of this is attempting to write an orderly outline as the first step of composing an essay.

The problem with this approach is that combining brainstorming and structuring can actually hinder both processes. On the one hand, without the raw ideas visualized, you can become trapped in structural dead ends. And on the other hand, adhering to a prematurely conceived structure makes it harder to call forth all the ideas efficiently. Anyone who has been stuck partway through a stubbornly dysfunctional outline knows this dilemma all too well.

In other words, it’s often better to separate the two processes: get all the ideas down first in a nonlinear way, then organize. Mind mapping is great for this kind of two step brainstorming. A mind map is a diagram that represents ideas arranged around a central concept. It’s a nonlinear way to organize and visualize ideas.”

They were writing about Mind mapping software.

While it would be excessive for a small project, for something larger, you may find it a useful tool. The software in question is Freeware and can be used on a PC, Mac, or Linux.

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

Note the screen shots and Uses sections.

One use: “Essay writing and brainstorming, using colors to show which essays are open, completed, not yet started etc, using size of nodes to indicate size of essays. I don’t have one map for one essay, I have one map for all essays. I move parts of some essays to other when it seems appropriate.”

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