As anyone who has taken my workshops will tell you, I’m a fiend for outlining. I think it’s a combination of my personality and the fact that Robert McKee is one of the strongest influences on me as a writer and editor. Whatever the reason, the fact is that I seldom start any kind of project without doing some kind of outline.

Up until yesterday, I was an absolutely committed OmniOutliner user. While I won’t be abandoning the Omni Group any time soon, I just stumbled across another tool that does most of the things I want from OmniOutliner and adds a pile of other functionality. The program is called FreeMind, and its a free download that will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines so pretty much anyone with a computer should be able to use it.

There was definitely a learning curve on the software, so don’t give up too soon. The basic things you need to know are that you create a new subject heading by pressing Enter and then create sub-headings by pressing Tab. There are a thousand more cool functions you’ll learn, but those two things will get you started.

I’ve only been using it for a day now, but I feel like it has the potential to change the way I work. I’m very curious to see what other people think, though. Post a comment if you’ve ever used it.

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