I was asked recently on App.net, following a post of my new iPad mini home screen to Minimal Mac, about my use of OmniOutliner and outlining in general and tips, posts, or other resources to get started. Strangely, I was somewhat stumped by this question. Here’s why…

I think in outlines.

Some people think in mind-maps, some think in visuals and colors. I, think in the parent-child-sibling hierarchy. I have for as long as I remember.

If you we’re to look at any notes I have taken since grade school you would find that they were outlines. I remember learning what a proper outline was and the ious styles and numbering schemes in some early high school class but I was working this way in practice (if not by official system) long before that.

When I purchased my first computer the first program I sought out to download was an outliner (mainly, so I could hide and reveal rows). For many classic Mac years I used and loved MORE, which still is the best outlining application ever created. I loved the outline mode in Notes.app on the Newton MessagePad. I’ve likely tried every outliner made for the Mac. Many years later, when I learned that the OmniGroup was going to build an outliner for OS X and that they were interested in building the best they could and integrating many MORE like features, I jumped at the chance to use early betas, provided feedback, and have been using OmniOutliner ever since.

So, what is the point of all of this? Not sure there is one.

Actually, maybe it is this paradox: Sometimes the hardest things to help others understand are the things that come so easily to us. Perhaps this is because we lack the ability to truly empathize in this area. We have never had to learn or struggle with the process. That maybe it is best not to learn from the master of a thing but, instead, seek the advice of a more advanced student.