Just a quick post letting you know I’ve added a new tool to the toolchest: SimpleMind, a mind mapping tool (Mac OS/Windows/iOS, Android).
As the cliche goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. SimpleMind proves it with its variety of mind mapping features.
Mind mapping is simply a way to brainstorm in the manner you think – non-linearly. Thoughts and ideas don’t usually come to you in a completely organized manner. Instead, you think of one thing and that inspires something else. Then all of a sudden, you think of something the complete opposite. Back and forth, over and over.
Mind mapping harnesses this process. You start out with a simple word or phrase in the center of the screen that serves as your subject. Then you just keep adding words or phrases that relate to this. When something totally different presents itself, you move to a different spot on the screen and start a new branch.
Lines between objects define relationships. You continue creating these word relationships until you reach a breakthrough or until you’ve exhausted possibilities. Then you step back and see what speaks to you.
For an example how I’ve used SimpleMind already, take a look at the blog post entitled “How Old Is Tim?” In it, I discuss a problem I’ve been having determining the age of my main character. After mind mapping for just a few moments, I realized what was keeping me stuck and the best way to deal with it. I could have tried writing it all out long-hand, but the visual connections and the give and take wouldn’t have been there. I’d have been more concerned with logically coming up with an organized discussion instead of seeing how I really felt about things. Physically seeing how all these items were connected made everything much more clear to me, allowing me to see the real issues I was having beneath the surface.
There are numerous mind mapping tools available. Some are free and open source; others cost hundreds of dollars. In fact, you don’t even need an app to mind map – a simple pad of paper and a pen will do. SimpleMind is relatively inexpensive (currently about $33 for desktop versions and about $10 for mobile) and allows you to create maps in a variety of formats.
Whichever way you go, mind mapping is an excellent tool to have around when you need it. And if you’re looking for something that’s easy to use, you need look no further than SimpleMind.
(Note: the links I provide are not affiliate links and I make no money if you use them to purchase a product. They’re there simply to help you find something easier.)