XMind – Mind Mapping software

I’m a visual non-linear thinker and my thoughts/ideas usually come to me in random order. Therefore I like to use mind mapping software for many projects. It helps me to organize my chaotic ideas into a format that is easier on my brain and eyes.

With this type of software I can just brain storm, putting my ideas down as nodes without caring about what order they are in. Afterward I can look at all the nodes and group them where they make sense. If I change my mind about the order, it is easy to change. And if I have multiple relations between nodes, I can also show that connection. It’s great for creating a family tree or outlining a complex multi-step project.

For writing, mind mapping software is an indispensable tool. It helps with the overall structure of the story, getting me to organize my ideas before I start to write.

I use XMind mind mapping software. You can download a free version from their website. They also have XMind Pro for $49 which will allow you export the finished map into Word (and other options). Since I don’t use the export function the free version is fine for me. With it I create a visual outline that is like a skeletal frame work.

I start with a central theme, add major points (nodes), add subtopics etc. I can move them around until the arrangement makes sense. With a quick visual scan I can identify thin areas that need more material or superfluous areas that may not be needed.

Since it is visual it works much better for me than a linear outline. If you are also a visual non-linear thinker you might want to try it out.


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