After I closed up shop last night and settled into bed after a long day’s drive, my brain was still running… and it made the connection from HitTail in my last post, to an Open Source project, FreeMind. FreeMind is a mind-mapping application. I was first introduced to these type sof application while persuing my graduate degree in education. At the time we first played with a very old Mac application called HyperCard. The concept was a deck of 3×5 cards with a short subject heading or content description on it. You could freely create independant cards, and then go back and reorganize them into related materials. The goal was to develop a structure for writing a document such as an essay or longer book sized work where you needed to just get a Stream of Consciousness type of thinking going and then be able to go back and organize your writing.
I don’t know about you, but much of my past experience writing was painful. It was oriented around having to write at someone else’s request, on a subject I was probably uninterested in! Anyone remeber their high school or college English courses? While I enjoyed English in general, sometimes the required writing was like pulling teeth–I would put it off until the last minute, and then not have time to do a good re-write. Which I believe all good writing needs, if only to polish up some phrasing here or there.
Writing a blog, the writing often does not get a full rewrite, but I always go back and re-read my work before hitting the ‘Publish’ button. I hardly ever don’t find a little something I want to fix. On a larger scale, I feel a blog needs a focus. I went back and forth with myself trying to define the subject matter I wanted to include here. You may have figured out that my focus is web site management and all the pieces that go into it. Using a tool like FreeMind helps me develop related subject areas to cover. If you are having a problem coming up with and/or organizing your writing, I highly recommend it for getting you going. Of course a blank sheet of paper & a pencil can do the same thing, but the big benefit of FreeMind is that it lets you reorganize when you find something fits better or you need more space. Virtual paper is very big!
Here’s a sample that comes with the program:
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Click image for larger view.
Give it a try… it’s free and it might help organize your writing!