I should had written this post last week, but I’m a terrible person. Anyway, here I am. First, I thought of writing an inspirational post; you know, the typical “don’t give up” and “follow your dreams” kind of post. I might go for that next time, but today I’m not in the right mood: I’m very late with my schedule and I didn’t had chocolate for easter. So, I will stick with the practical approach.
Today I will talk about mind mapping software and how useful these tools can be in the creative process.
So what is a mind mapping (or brainstorming) software anyway? Well, a mind mapping software reciprocates something you most likely already do: brainstorming. You put ideas into paper and you connect those ideas. Here is a simple example:
You got the point. I’m tired of John, Mary and Jane already. Just put everything there: plot, characters, loose ideas. Anything really (there is no boundaries). I think brainstorming as an excellent way to put your ideas into perpective, and the reason why I love mind maps is because I don’t have to stop to organize my thoughts. It is natural; ideas come like waves and I just put them there and connect them like crazy; it is so much fun. However, even thought the process is chaotic, the end result is not. Mind maps are organized; it is easy to keep a track of everything. If you fell like this is the coolest thing ever, I have good news: You have options! Free options that have versions for Windows and Mac. Here is a list:
- FreeMind: It is simple. You can tag your thoughts with labels such as: important, idea, stop, info, etc. For me it’s too simple. I used FreeMind to make the example on this post.
- XMind: I think it is prettier than FreeMind. If you are looking for simple, I recommend this one. It has everything FreeMind has plus it’s more intuitive and has some interesting features: you can put links, attachments, summaries, and other stuff. They have a paid version. You could stick with the free one, but I don’t like that you can only convert to pdf in the paid version.
- PersonalBrain This one is super cool. It moves! Totally Matrix kind of stuff. You can put links just like with XMind. Same deal here; they have a free version and paid versions with more features. I’m fine with the free one. By the way, they have this great (and long, but still…) video specifically directed to writers that explain how to use the tool.