I’ve been working on one of the chapters for Collaboration Roadmap this week, and I knew that just starting with Word was the wrong approach. I needed something to help me explore the structure and core concepts as I was collating my thoughts – ideally in a visual way. So I downloaded the latest edition of Mindjet MindManager and started mapping. It’s gone well – I’ve been delighted with how it has helped.
Here’s what I did.
1. After naming the map, I created an initial set of first branches.
2. I went through all of my notes and pre-reading material, and added key ideas to the various branches. This took 3-4 hours and when finished, the map was large. I had to scroll on my 30” monitor to see everything in the map.
3. I looked at the map, and started to re-organize the thoughts I had externalized. For some branches (and twigs), I copied and pasted the ideas into the “Topic Notes” section of another branch. This helped with decreasing the number of separate topics, and started to bring key writing points together.
4. Using the “Topic Notes” section, I started writing – just like I would have in Word. I’ve found it tremendously useful to “see” the chapter and its structure visually, rather than being spread across 20 pages in Word.
5. Each day I have exported the map to Word for a word count – and I’ve been able to add that to my tracking spreadsheet. So I can still track how many net words I’ve written each day, but the words are mastered in the mindmap, not in Word.
I’m going to do this more. I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing this way, but after my experience this week, I’m going back to it.
Categories: Michael's Books