Mind Mapping The Future

About a decade ago, I worked at a company that used mind mapping software (don’t remember which one, but I loved it at the time). When the company went away, I could no longer find anything at a reasonable price, because the licenses were all expensive and annual.

Got out of the habit of mind mapping.

Fast forward to 2021. I have a new laptop that I am breaking in. Xubuntu 20 atop a Wintel Core I3. Cheap, but good enough because I was installing my own OS.

For those of you who have never installed Linux on a laptop, it can be a right pain in the ass. The thing that used to be BIOS goes by another name now, and most major hardware manufacturers lock it down hard. I presume Microsoft is paying them a lot of money for this.

Eventually, I found all the places I needed to unlock. (There are TWO of them today. I expect 3-4 by the next time I do this). Got the OS installed, and then brought everything up to stable tips. Usually a wise idea with Linux. Not the bleeding edge, but most of the security fixes.

Then I went looking for things to install that are not part of the Core Distro.

As part of my wandering around, I found FreeMind for Linux. Installed it and then forgot about it for a month. Because I’m like that.

Tonight, I stumbled across the icon and decided it was time to open and try to use.

Kinda like riding a bicycle, but it took me about an hour to suddenly remember why I loved mind mapping in the first place.

Start with a central node. Give it a name that indicates what the hell you think you’ll be doing. Add subs off that. And that. And that.

About the fourth map I opened, I called it “Unpublished Fiction” and started organizing things. I recently put the first seven Beyond the Mirror Collections up on my store for $0.99 to see if they would sell. That’s part of what triggered this, looking at all the short stuff I have written over the last two years and deciding that some of it needed to come out.

I’ve had stories in Boundary Shock Quarterly that never saw the light of day elsewhere. There have been four Blaze Ward Presents so far. That alone is 20 stories right now.

Then I began brain dumping on electronic white boards. I love mind mapping because I can just node things as I need. And open new maps if one grows so big that I need to take it as a thing, instead of part of something else.

I have a lot of things to send out into the world. More than I was really processing. I asked Fabulous Publisher Babe™ if she wanted me to use a template, or just build the next three volumes of Beyond The Mirror (8-10 at this point, all science fiction). I might need four, once I start the process of organizing for publication. That’s a lot of stuff.

My Patreon (patreon.com/blazeward) fans have read some of it. If you read Boundary Shock, you’ll see some.

A bunch of it hasn’t ever seen the light of day. Mostly because I wanted to get that far ahead in 2020, before any of us knew what the year would look like. My goal was 36 short stories. I wrote 50.

Some of it is even for sale on the store right now, just because.

We live in a strange future. I can write it, wrap it up, and publish it, without ever asking permission of some twit in New York City. If it sells, I get to keep all the money.

It took a mind map to make me really visualize how much stuff I needed to get out. You’ll get it cheap in the collections, because otherwise I would sell it for 0.99 each. Here I can curate stuff for cheaper and call it good. Maybe push it out to the major distributors. Maybe not.

It you are a visual thinker like me, you owe it to yourself to look into mind maps. Yell if you need a quick primer. I am not an audio learner. I knew that in college, where I took complicated hieroglyphics for notes. Worse, my mom and I would take at least one class a semester together (usually upper level philosophy courses), and she would borrow my notes, study them, and then take tests. Took her a while, because I would write whole paragraphs on the fly without vowels, because I was in a hurry and we didn’t have laptops in the classroom in those terrible old days. (I was nerdy early, but still didn’t have a laptop until the early 90s.)

Mind map, if you can. I remember how well I stayed organized in those days, because it went onto a map, and then got moved around as I dealt with it, handed it off to the person who would deal with it, and then checked it off lists. (The joys of middle management, when you work with a pair of literal geniuses as peers, when your Director expects you to translate them into English occasionally.)

Expect new fiction soon. Expect more gushing about mind mapping. I have found a tool I lost a decade ago and forgot how much I loved it. Spent the last decade using Notepad++ as a poor substitute. Still have a document I first opened in 2011 that I use on a daily basis, if that gives you any ideas.

Y’all have fun. It’s snowing around here, having been 50F six hours ago.

shade and sweet water


West of The Mountains, WA