One activity that I enjoy is creating angles for articles I want to write.  You might think that’s weird, but it’s rather like a mental exercise, and in doing it, I find mind-mapping very useful.

So, I start with a topic and then, just keep drilling down until I find something that grabs me and that might grab and editor.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Ben Roethlisberg...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Let’s try it:

We want to write an article about sports.  OK… pretty broad, right?

What sport? Hmm… Of interest currently — football.

What about football?

Well, we could do football players, reporting on specific games, football equipment, or football fans, and a whole lot more.

Let’s say… Players.

Whose the big guns right now? Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, quarterbacks of the league champs, right? So, let’s pick Big Ben. (Yes, of couse… We’re from Pittsburgh.)

What about him?

You see how that works? We can come up with a story about his troubles from last year and how he overcame them to be the star quarterback of the league. Boom!

That’s how you focus. And you can use software to do it.

Freemind is a mindmapping software that is open source, which means free and that if you’re a developer, you can get the source code and make it your own. It’s easy to use and helpful in planning like this. Or you might want to test out Personal Brain. It’s more 3-D and high-techy, but both are fun to mess with.

Try it, get your topic narrowed down as far as possible — find a focus, and then, you’re on your way!

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