08-01-2004, 11:31 AM
The responses above are all really rich, so this may add little if anything. Long before I ever heard of Mind Mapping, I was using various graphic organizers as a way of collecting and developing my thoughts, arranging facts, etc before writing a first draft or moving from one draft to the next (developing sections). The graphic organizers ranged from flow charts to diagrams to webs, and the result looked exacty like mind mapping, down to the use of colors and symbols! I got some of these ideas from a book called the Universal Traveler (circa 1970), which I have long lost. Also, as a starting point when trying to get unstuck explore the graphic displays in contemporary textbooks (jr hi through college). They are sometimes a just great "skeletons"--you just trace the exisitng diagram and play around with adding your own information to it, lo and behold, your thoughts take form. Finally, if you incorporating quantitiative information in your writing, there is a great book called the Graphic Analysis of Data by Tukey (a famous statistical genius) and this can give you some frameworks for looking at your data before you write about it. Sometimes when you see it, the words for it just pop into your head.