Crafting a writing plan

Every year or quarterly if you are an extremely hardcore writer, you should take some time to engage in the careful crafting of a writing plan. My preferred method of doing this is to imagine a 5-year writing trajectory and working from that far out start to consider what things you should be writing 5 years from now. Begin by just jotting down some titles or subjects of work that belongs that far out in terms of consideration and writing. Maybe you started by getting a sheet of paper out and drawing 4 vertical lines to create columns for the years. Right now, you would have written a few things into the year 5 column, and you should start working on what would be contained in the year 4 bucket of future writing.

As you begin to populate some things into the year 3 buckets this is where things are going to get interesting. I generally find that the things that get bucketed into years 4 or 5 are not things I want to immediately sit down and write about or consider. This exercise is already creating an order of writing that pushes the things that need to be pushed out and helps focus my attention on the things that most need my attention right now. Things that are being bucketed into years 2 and 3 are going to be just on the edge of needing that attention but could be deferred until later. You probably already are considering that you are going to have to be absolutely and completely ruthless about what makes it into the current year of writing. These are things that hopefully you are either most passionate about or most desperately need coverage.

At this point in this writing plan creation project, you should have five years of potential writing work sketched out on a single page or maybe in a document of some sort. The most important part is after you get that first draft done. You have to take a moment and consider if anything got missed or was left off as part of self-censorship or for some other reason. Within this step of the process, I might dust off my writing backlog and see if anything from that list needs to be pulled up into this higher order view of my future writing. A writing plan cannot be so zoomed in that it replaces your backlog that is a foolish effort. This is more a directional effort to sum up where your writing is going over the next few years and it should really be targeted at being a plan that can be modified and updated as necessary.

You now have a very powerful vision of what your writing plan might be for the next years. That is a wonderful place to begin considering if that first effort was directionally correct or if major changes need to be made. You should be thankful if you realize after making a first draft that changes is needed. You really don’t want a false start at the start of executing a writing plan. Measuring the adherence to a writing plan is pretty easy to achieve on a quarterly basis. After three months if nothing on the writing plan is being worked on and no progress is being made this is actually a very important indicator that the writing plan did not focus you on things that care about writing. A wonderful plan of things you will never write is truly not very helpful.

Something is going to give 

We are just days away from that new MacBook Air arriving. A lot of writing is going to happen on that new device over the next few months. Something is going to have to give here shortly. I’m feeling like I need to refocus my efforts on a new direction to incrementally build something great. Within that pursuit of the perfect possible future something exists on the edge of being created. It’s that time to push just beyond that edge and make it happen. A long time ago, I’m talking about maybe 20 years ago I fancied myself a future essayist. From time to time I would sit down and write a 5,000 word take on something that had struck me as being worth the time to consider. Over the years, I have noticed that the number of things that strike me as worth spending time on has diminished to the point that those essays just stopped arriving. I’m given to spend time writing a research note or maybe some academic coverage on a more regular basis, but those deeper essay based creations became elusive. 

We are going to now circle back to the idea that something is going to give at this point in time as a new focus gets placed on the nexus of creation. Waiting for that spark is going to have to be thrown into reverse and I’m going to have to just create the spark on the daily to build something into a great and interesting pile of prose. Right now I’m at the peak of my writing skills as that mercurial writing muscle has been in training for enough years to take the training wheels off the process and just break on through to the edge of reasonability. Part of it is about sitting down to write without the expectation of hitting publish within a weblog post at the conclusion of that writing session. It has to be about building something that is a longer form effort. I certainly considered the idea of putting each block of content into a packaged form and shipping it out on social media in a bunch of different places. 

Building something bigger will involve packaging a lot of blocks together into a more permanent and lasting content delivery. Maybe I’m interested in working on building some larger blocks of fiction and non-fiction to create bigger content delivery experiences. Right now I can look back at hundreds (maybe even thousands) of single serving missives written for the weblog that have no cumulative advantage as the count of words grows. They sink back into the mushy background of things that happen, but do not amount to much as they could have built into something so much more profound. I’m sure some internet archive somewhere has a curation of millions of those notes of extremely undesirable mushy musings. Maybe at some point reading that type of derivative daily reflection will have a renaissance, but it probably won’t be lasting as the culmination of all that writing and reading is simply nothing more than the passage of time.

Maybe I’m somewhat aware that the arrival of that MacBook Air won’t change my writing patterns, routines, or motivations. Investing in making the switch to that device is really just about mentally ringing the bell and saying that it is time to focus my writing efforts on a different type of content creation. Even right now as these words are being created they are more or less the product of a stream of consciousness style of prose creation. About 500 words ago I sat down to just capture some thoughts. At that point, writing for the sake of writing started to happen and the feel of hammering keys and unleashing thoughts took over to create this most unstructured stream of thoughts. That is really where things have to diverge for the next stage in the process. Maybe some door has to be left open to just writing about the things that are appearing one at a time as a stream of things. Within the writing process a shift has to be given to working on two distinctly different types of products. One of them has to be an ongoing daily reflective narrative that is not devoid of process coverage and insights. The second has to be contributions to larger works of prose or put more blunting chapters or sections of something larger as a cumulative output. 

Let’s reflect on that last thought for just a moment and linger. It’s the wholesale vibe shift from writing single serving content blocks to building a more cumulative string of blocks that build up to something more meaningful. At the current intersection of technology and modernity, nothing could be more important than making that last contribution of something more meaningful than the pure flooding of content that is about to be known as the great digital flood. Our answer to the upcoming onslaught of digital content flooding will be a return to books. Investing in well crafted organically created content will be the centerpiece of curating meaningful content going forward. My argument would be that the derivative generating of language model based content will inherently raise the value of the best books, articles, and manuscripts. Some value probably exists in creating a clearinghouse for that type of content curation. This missive lacks the single minded purpose to be a solid essay. It’s a more wandering and exploratory piece of content.

Closing out the weekend

The remote power button mentioned last time around the old weblog has worked perfectly with my Dark Base Pro 900 computer case. It’s nice to not have to use the backup power button option on the motherboard every weekend to activate my Windows computer. I did spend some time this weekend looking at various options to buy a Macbook on the Best Buy website. They have a ton of different options including refurbished ones and previously owned models. Apple has a reputation for being expensive, but you can find a ton of older model options that are not as pricey as the latest editions. You can find lower priced options if you spend some time trying to figure out where the best deals might reside. 

This weekend I did figure out how to watch Top Chef on the Peacock streaming service which worked out well enough to close out the weekend. Most of the NCAA championship game broadcast OTA on ABC was fun to watch until the very end when the game stopped being competitive. Generally the first half of the game was really great to watch and I thought it might end up coming down to the last shot, but that is not what ended up happening.

An external computer power button

Strangely enough the power button stopped working on my Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev.2 computer case recently. Instead of taking all the computer parts out of the case and rehoming them in a new case I elected to try out an external power supply button [1]. A bunch of options exist for external power buttons. Some people apparently like to be able to push the power button without having to reach down to the computer location. This new option worked out well for me as I just ran the external power button toward the front of the case where I can now turn the computer on and off without any problems. This oddly enough was a good solution that worked out well enough for me and saved me a lot of work to rehome the computer parts. 

[1] “Desktop Computer Power Switch Power Supply Control Adapter Cable”

Maybe those data stores are unnecessary

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been considering how important all my cloud backup datasets really are in terms of being necessary. I have document repositories dating back to 1999 and I’m not entirely sure that they are needed for any real reason at this point. Beyond that consideration I started to wonder how long the DVD, Blu-ray, and other disc medium storage restore points actually last. Maybe I could take a little bit of time and test a few of the older discs to see if the storage media is still working.

Oh snap, some words

Some words are in order. March is coming to an end. My velocity of writing on the old weblog here has slowed. That happens from time to time. Recently, I have considered deeply diving into writing either some fiction chapters or short stories. Part of that is my out and and out disillusionment with the flood of artificial content online. At the end of each night, I might end up writing for a few minutes before falling asleep which would be a change to my normal audiobook routine. 

Yeah, I bought an iPad

Back to blogging or so they said. It should be fun to spend some time writing. That writing should be the thing. It could be the thing. Back to a bit of blogging had to be the way to start the day. Maybe it was and I just missed the point.Throughout this last week I thought about writing a fiction book staged out of the early millennium, but written to feel present in the moment now. Instead of writing that novel or taking the time to at least sketch it out things took a turn to something else entirely. Thanks to the magic of some current discount I purchased a 9th generation iPad for about $250.00 and had it delivered to the house. It’s my first Apple purchase in the last 43 years and for the most part it was super easy to use. Honestly, my last month using a Macbook was way harder to deal with where everything is opposite in terms of closing windows or clicking on things. Oh, and on the Macbook using the trackpad was just difficult and not intuitive. I plugged in a regular mouse and keyboard and have been able to work without much disruption.

A 9th generation iPad sitting on a desk