More on Mind-Mapping – and a Contest!
Image by sirwiseowl via Flickr
In my series on collecting and organizing ideas, I discussed mind-mapping as a brainstorming tool. Mind-mapping is a kind of free-association method in which ideas are generated by association with a central idea, and then each of the generated ideas in turn becomes a source of inspiration for further brainstorming. Mind-mapping is an interesting blend of right-brain creative exploration and left-brain order-making – although the graphic format and unboundedness of mind-mapping allows for unfettered ideation, the linking of ideas creates a self-organized final product. In fact, most mind-mapping software includes an option to export the seemingly unstructured “blob” of thought that appears on the screen into a neatly-formatted traditional outline, complete with Roman numerals and sub-headings.
Chuck Frey emailed me in response to my mention of mind-mapping to tell me about a post he’d just written on the future of mind-mapping software. His blog is “The MindMapping Software Blog, so we can probably assume that Chuck has spent more than a few minutes thinking about the subject.
According to Frey, mind-mapping software is still barely out of its infancy, and we can expect to see some interesting developments ahead as programmers develop software that allows us not only to visualize the connections between ideas in our heads, but the connections between those ideas and the vast wealth of data on the Web. “The mind map needs to become more of a ‘knowledge hub’,” he writes, “where information can be gathered, manipulated and analyzed.”
Returning to the present, one of the premier mind-mapping applications out there today is iMindMap, the only mind-mapping software officially endorsed by Tony Buzan, the main figure responsible for developing and popularizing mind-mapping. The developers of iMindMap have taken great pains to make the experience of creating mind-maps on the computer as close as possible to the experience of drawing them with pencil and paper. In addition to brainstorming, iMindMap supports a wide range of planning activities, and integrates well with both MS Office and OpenOffice.
iMindMap’s Ultimate version retails for $295 USD, putting it well out of the reach for many writers (including yours truly). But Emily Van Keogh of Buzan Online has offered to give away one free copy of the Ultimate edition to one of my readers.
Which means I get to have a contest!
Now, I could make it easy on you and ask you to send me an email and pick one at random, or something like that, but I want to get into the spirit of the thing. So to enter, I’m going to ask you to answer that oldest of questions posed to writers:
Where do you get your ideas?
You can enter in one of two ways. First, you can leave a comment on this post with your answer. The other way is to write a post of your own, in any public forum you have access too – your own website, LiveJournal, even Twitter if you’re that concise – and put a link to your post in the comments on this post. Just make sure that anyone can read your answer, wherever you decide to post it. (I’d appreciate a link back to the contest, too, but it’s not a requirement.)
Enter by the end of October – that’s the 31st of October for the calendrically-challenged – and I’ll randomly select one entry as a winner. Buzan Online will supply a download link and registration code. Make sure you include your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you’re the winner!
I’m looking forward to seeing your answers to this totally clichéd question. Let’s try to be creative and informative – maybe we can come up with the perfect answer and then nobody will have to ask it any more! And feel free to spread the word – the more the merrier!