I feel inspired this week; I have found the first member of my committee, had a good exchange with my supervisor, and added a few good articles to my reading journal. I’ve also had a few motivational moments not quite directly related to my writing, but definitely uplifting – I had a couple of great meetings with colleagues about sponsoring a refugee family, I set up an online poll to arrange our doctoral seminar end-of-semester potluck, I participated in an informal discussion with our Women’s Studies group on “Because it’s 2015” and the new Trudeaumania, and I rearranged my home office so my back is not to the door. Little things, perhaps, and not directly related, but it’s a lot easier to think about where I am in this process when I’m in a good, productive mood.
So this morning I took some time to research mind-mapping tools, and settled on Inspiration, for a couple of reasons: first, this is the tool I used for a couple of my M.Ed. courses, so I’m already familiar with its features and UI; secondly, compared to some of the other tools, I found it more intuitive and I prefer the layout options – many of the others were too linear, which doesn’t appeal to me or make sense to me (why make a flowchart when I can just do a linear outline, after all?); and finally, thanks to the American obsession with retail sales at this time of year, the software was 70% off.
Then I got started, and was surprised when it took not much time at all to create an outline for my dissertation. Granted, there’s a lot to add, and a lot of reading, writing, reflecting, and discussion to fill in the blanks behind the bubbles, but it feels really great to have this visual representation of where I’m going over the next few years. Also, purple, so, pretty.