A guest post by Katie Cross.

When you say ‘writing a first draft’, I say ‘massive splitting headache’.

Don’t worry, it’s my day job. #Igetawaywithit

Fortunately, I have a tool that helps me avoid and/or diffuse the headache of a first draft in the beginning teeth-grinding-stages of tension and angst.

*cue music*

Novamind.Software for Writers that Saves a Headache or Ten by @kcrosswriting

Novamind is basically mind mapping at it’s greatest. It’s an easy to learn, easy to use software that I’ve used since writing my first book to brain dump creative ideas and work my way out of plot holes.

Here’s an example: to show you the massive size that mind mapping can give. And don’t worry, it gets even bigger.

Software for Writers that Saves a Headache or Ten by @kcrosswriting


Let’s be honest, stuff like this can get pretty pricey.

That’s why I love Novamind5- because I installed the “lite” edition for free and it does everything I need: provides an endless backdrop of unexplored possibilities so I can mind map my brains out. You can pay yearly, or the upfront fee for all the bells and whistles, but all I ever need is a blank white screen and the ability to brain dump.

And . . . free.

Because what aspiring author actually has money, right?

When it comes to mind mapping, I have only one rule: No idea is rejected.

Even unrelated ideas are welcome and accepted.

Really, even the bad ideas are just another spider leg in a long chain. Maybe I’ll end up using it. Maybe not. But allowing my mind to be open somehow gives me permission to be creative, and that changes almost everything. It opens those closed doors of writing that make me say, ‘Uh . . . I don’t know where to take this story.’

Of course, I don’t limit mind mapping to just the computer. A good ol’ pen and paper while sitting in Starbucks sipping chai has never failed me either. But one look at my handwriting will tell you everything you need to know.

That whole doing-it-by-hand doesn’t last very long. 🙂

Software for Writers that Saves a Headache or Ten by @kcrosswriting

New to mind mapping? No problem. Here are a few other mind mapping websites/links that you can check out to get you started in the awesomeness.

How to MindMap your Book.

Different Mind Maps for Authors.

An Author’s Guide to Mind Mapping.

If you haven’t tried it out before, I’m telling you: you gotta try it. #butseriously

Next time you’re stuck on a plot hole, you don’t know what to write, or you need to add depth to a scene or a character, try mind mapping. Grab a paper, a computer, a chai, and sit back into a creative immersion.

Katie Cross likes cookies and mind mapping tools to help her write. #forreal @kcrosswritingKatie Cross used to be fond of gummy bears, but lately her tendencies lean more toward cuddling with puppies.When she’s not writing YA fantasy novels with kick @$%#*(@ females that don’t need a man to save them, you can find her at Starbucks.

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