Staring down that writing plan without hesitation

Today I sat down to spend some time deeply focused on my 5 year writing plan. I’m about to enter year two of this plan and I was trying to decide if now would be the best time to revise and extend my previous plan. A year has passed and now instead of covering 5 years the plan only covers the next 4 years. I have been taking a pretty good and lengthy look at what has been identified as part of my year 2 ambitions. Based on where things sit right now I’m not sure I need to revise the writing plan. Things are set in motion for year 2 of the writing plan and adding something to the end of the plan won’t really do anything to or for my current writing efforts. It might just be the right time to take no action on that one. Probably at the end of 2023 the writing plan will need to be revised and a new commitment will need to be made to complete that work.  

My weblog posts have started to receive longer titles. That new trend is probably a consequence of wanting to keep creating original ones. We are quickly approaching the end of the year and I’m looking at the next 25 weeks of my detailed writing backlog. Instead of working on that backlog I have elected at the moment to dance with the blank screen and write down a few observations in weblog form. Right now the weblog is currently split between public and private posts. I’m not sure why I have so many of the older posts in private mode. At one point, I had considered enforcing a sunset on posts where after 3 years or so all that old content will just fade into private status. The way the internet works to preserve things that effort is probably not a solid strategy to actually retire content, but it seemed to make sense to me at the time. 

That lines up with my once doomed effort to put all my weblog content into manuscript form to keep it for posterity. Even the thought of going back and editing more than a decade of my weblog published thoughts does not seem compelling enough to stir action. I’m probably not going to go and do that at any point along the way. My energy and attention are focused on the creation of new content. The older content will have to just remain the way it is and I’m sure that will be fine. 

Working on manuscript updates

My writing schedule has been updated for Sunday on a go forward basis. The schedule now includes a morning writing session to review my Substack post and work on academic articles for 1-3 hours, publishing a note on LinkedIn about the last Substack post, and sending a Tweet about my last Substack post. Working within that writing schedule will probably help increase the readership of the newsletter. To pick up my subscribers the content is going to need to be posted to Twitter and to LinkedIn. This week I even elected to login to my highly dormant Facebook account to share the link. 

Over the last two months my writing productivity has really plummeted. That is something that needs to be rectified here one day at a time. Reversing a trend like that is just about spending the time at the keyboard to write larger blocks of prose. I have a manuscript in progress that is entitled, “On Machine Learning: The Lindahl Letters of 2021.” I’m going to publish my entire set of 2021 Substack posts in one long manuscript format. All of the content has been put into a basic manuscript draft and I’m currently working on starting at the beginning and reworking the content from start to finish before publication. This is one of those things that I’m probably going to need to send to my editor before final publication. Right now the manuscript is about 165 pages long, but that could easily get longer before publication. 

Earlier this morning I just could not manage to get back into the flow of writing. A trip to the donut store and a stop to get some coffee happened, but a bunch of time writing never occurred. Getting back on schedule with a writing routine has to be my primary focus moving forward. Yesterday I created a draft post with two solid paragraphs of content. For some reason that was where my productivity stopped. I’m about to watch the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday night football. During that game my plan is to try to rework the content and get it ready for publication on Friday.

Working things to a completed state

Today I started to think about returning to writing in a manuscript based document on a daily basis instead of booting up a new fresh word processing document every day. It might be time to start to pick up a big year writing challenge again and see where that takes me this time around. Generally, the only thing that ends up being written in a publishable format are academic papers. Those are sort of paint by numbers based on the required sections anyway and benefit from working with the end product in mind. Every now and again I do write a novel that ends up being worked that way. Over the last decade I have a bunch of false starts in a folder that need to be worked to resolution. It could be more fun to just really focus on working things to a completed state. I tried to write the title of this post eloquently as, “hustling things to done,” but that turned out differently in the end. 

Yesterday the whole process of writing just failed. It was one of those days where creativity sneezed and nothing happened. It was a false start of a day and that happens sometimes. Part of returning to a framework where I move from trying to write and work really hard for an hour at the start of the day to producing about 3,000 words per day involves a real change. To produce a steady stream of 3,000 words per day I’m going to have to carry around my Chromebook and pretty much take every opportunity to write. That generally involves trying to find 3 or so hours a day to spend in a productive writing posture. That is 13% of my total day spent writing, but if you only count usable time by removing 8 hours for work and 8 hours for sleep that quickly escalates to 38% of my usable day. 

I’m going to stop writing this post and move over to work on something more long form.