Ale’s goal of getting her thoughts in order before she starts writing made me think of something I’ve been meaning to share here. Literature and Latte, the folks who brought us Scrivener, recently debuted a new app for mindmapping: Scapple. I’m far beyond the planning stages of my own project, but during this recent thought-provoking conference at Michigan I started organizing some thoughts on the intersection between the American carceral state and my own research on African American AIDS activism. Here’s a slightly more polished version of what I put down:
Here I devised a kind of visual logic using the different note shapes that Scapple offers. Rectangles are abstract concepts, with the governing concept of the carceral state having a thicker border than the others, round-cornered boxes are concrete examples, and the bubbly cloud-box-things were meant to represent a process–ACT UP Philadelphia reaching out to halfway houses and drug treatment programs as part of their drive to bring in new membership, which in turn changed their civil disobedience tactics.
I like to use mindmaps in my teaching to help students organize their knowledge (h/t Melanie), but I can also see how this would be useful in sorting out a project in the early stages. How do y’all organize your thoughts before you write (if you do)?