Mind Mapping as a way of generating ideas and creating plans has been gaining steam for the past few years, especially in the technical communications arena. For some reason though, this just doesn’t seem to work for me.
When I approach something substantial I want to write about, I usually make an outline. This is what I was taught to do as far back as the seventh grade, and it is what I am comfortable with. When I write in Microsoft Word, I almost always use the Outline View.Â In fact, I’m using it right now.
I’ve tried mind-mapping several times. I’ve experimented with PC applications and iPod applications, as well as using a pencil and paper. In the end though, I spend too much time staring at the connections, feeling as if I need to move things around or form new connections. It is interesting to see how ideas can be connected, but it doesn’t take long for me to fill up my screen, and once a mind-map take up more than the space on the screen, it starts to feel unwieldy.
When I try to mind map, I spend a lot of time thinking about whether something is a central idea or whether it is subordinate to a larger concept, even though it has its own sub-categories. I’m not saying an outline handles this problem perfectly, but I take some comfort in knowing that I just have to scroll up or down to get to any thought.
If you are having luck with a particular mind-mapping program, let me know and tell me what you like about it. Thanks.