Mind Mapping

“Do I need a mind-mapping program?” My finger was poised to click “Download Now” when my rational self (the one who pays the bills) intervened. “What would I use it for?”

“Use it?” I replied, finger itching to click. “It’s just cool to play around with.”

“What could I do better with a mind-mapping program that I don’t already do with some other software?”

I retracted my finger. “Well, a map is more useful than an outline. Outlines are so linear. A mindmap is visual, spatial – it’s creative. And look at all those features! I can make straight or curvy lines, boxes or ovals. They can be any color I want. I can drag images into them!”

“And what would I put in all those boxes and ovals?”

Clearly, I wasn’t convincing my rational self. I had to come up with a better argument.

The fact is, I like maps. More

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Super Cards

Downloading trial versions of programs and playing with them is a little hobby of mine. Every time I hear about a new one, I have to check it out. In this way I’ve found many useful writing programs: Scrivener, VoodooPad, Macjournal. I’ve also wasted a lot of time when I could have been writing.

I need a program that will taunt me into writing. It would look like the Paperclip Guy in Microsoft Word 97. When I pull out Chapter 1 for the eleventh time, the Paperclip Guy would say, “It looks like you’re trying to revise this again. Would you like me to kick your ass into Chapter 2?” When my characters decide to go on a quest to find the magic-thingy so they can stop the evil wizard from destroying the world, it would say, “It looks like you’ve run out of original ideas. Would you like some advice? a) Give up writing; b) you’re a loser.”

A while ago I wrote about Scrivener, one of the very best writing programs out there. Unfortunately non-mac users can’t take advantage of it. A good enough reason to convert to mac, as I see it, but I will keep my religious views to myself.

Recently I found another program, less well-known than Scrivener, but doing many of the same things — and it has a Windows version. It’s called SuperNotecards, by Mindola (www.mindola.com). At $29 it’s a bit cheaper than Scrivener, and provides some different tools.

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