A little bit of writing about writing

I’m still not sold on the Gutenberg editor that WordPress has rolled out recently. Writing in a word processing application is the way I go about my efforts. That is pretty much the way I put words on the pages. From that blank sheet full of possibilities to this post full of middling and otherwise disappointing prose. Today was a day that lacked any clear clarity or purpose. It was a day that just sort of happened. For a lot of folks on a lot of different days that tends to happen. You just put one foot in front of the other and muddle through from start to finish. Right now I’m supposed to be working on taking the, “End-to-End Machine Learning with TensorFlow on GCP,” course on Coursera. That is the first course in the Advanced Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform specialization they just started offering. I’m not sure exactly what is stopping me from finishing my first course tonight. It could just be the dragging march toward a bedtime that will be here before I know it or it could be something else.

Writing 500 words on the same topic for 30 days

This sentence was written after all of the rest today. For some reason it seemed like a good idea to revisit the beginning at the end of my writing session. That is in part related to some editing and review.

Nels at the end of the day

Something seems to be lurking around in the edges of my consideration. Maybe it is driving me toward accepting a new challenge to write 500 words on the same topics for 30 days. That is a real and interesting thought exercise. Seriously it is a very challenging thing to take on. Saying something original on the same topic 30 times does not seem trivial. Stacking up that many new and original thoughts along the way to providing a useful trajectory could be interesting. It could be something that might help me push just beyond the edge of what is possible. Maybe that possibility is enough to make taking on the challenge something that should be done. Given that this new challenge might help along the journey to writing 1,000,000 words in the same year. Maybe it is a building block that will help build a big writing year. That might very well be the case. October could be the month where that exercise kicks off and gets going.

Taking 15 minutes at the end of the day to engage in the creation of prose can take things a variety of different directions. We spend a ton of time and energy thinking about both the past and the future. A lot less of our time and energy is spent on understanding the nature of the moment that is occuring right now. Everything that is happening right now is obviously between the future and the past. It is something else. It is the moment where taking action is possible. It is a moment that is separate from any thoughts about how to take action, the merits of taking action, or even debates about what other actions might possibility do. An entire book could be spent tearing down and building up being present in the moment. So much of that defines where things are going and what perfect possible futures exist.

Maybe this week will be the week that helps center things and move things forward. Bringing all of my thoughts together and building something seems so possible. At the same time, that door opening to possibility remains elusive. I have to do a bunch of training sessions this weekend that required a bunch of reading and watching videos. During the course of working on that training it seemed like a good idea to format all of my USB drives. It was pretty easy to use the Webroot utility that permanently deletes content. That exercise was completed before a quick format to remove any title on the drives. It has been some time since I needed to use a USB drive. Devices like that used to be an important part of managing a computer and files. Now the cloud has defeated the need for most of my USB drives. In some ways they are just not as useful as they used to be a decade ago.

A day off from adulting

Entering the time of was easy enough. Taking it was the hard part. Over the years it just gets harder. You can pretty much accept that as a part of life, the universe, and work. Most of the time adulting gets in the way of the things that captivated us, that inspired us, that dared us to imagine a world beyond what we could see or feel. That really was the essence of the possible. It was the glimpse beyond the edge of what was possible. Something about that just stuck with me. Years ago the need to strive beyond the edge of what was possible went from concept to reality. It was a palpable feeling that drove a certain type of single minded purpose that was not entirely healthy. Maybe it was just as unhealthy as struggling to adhere to taking a day off from adulting. That is where this story starts. It starts at the edge of what is possible. It starts with taking a day off from adulting.

Ok. Maybe those two shots of espresso did not hurt things. A little jolt of caffeine was just enough to get things going and in this case the going had to get moving in the next thirty minutes or this window was going to close. That is how things work these days. Windows of time open and you have to figure out how to cultivate any seed of creativity that you might have. Sure that might sound simplistic, but waiting for some type of inspiration to strike and hoping you have a window of time open seems like a recipe for intellectual disaster. All of that adulting pretty much builds up into a wall of responsibility that prevents on demand creative sessions.

Anyway today was going to be about taking a day off from adulting. It was going to be about setting aside that wall of responsibility and just digging into something meaningful and lasting. Sure those are some high expectations for a single creative sessions, but if you don’t aim for making a dent in the universe why bother preparing your lance to ride at full tilt anyway. Striking fear in the heart of a row of windmills might seem just as impossible as making a dent in the universe, but daring to dream big just makes the journey more interesting.

Writing a bit on my Pixel 2 XL

Tonight was one of those nights. Things were happening and the day had come and gone. All things build to this time of the night. It takes a bit to get everybody ready for bed. Routines exist and those are part of the pattern. Our now 1 year old puppy Captain Pickles does not really prepare for the end of the day. That dog just runs amuck until it is time to take a nap. You can imagine that is pretty much like it sounds. A lot of running and puppy style behaviors followed by hours of very still sleep. My cup of coffee is still somewhat warm. I’m not going to microwave it tonight. Finishing it before it gets cold enough to require that is a major part of my motivation to keep going. This post is being written in the WordPress Android application. I’m not entirely sure if this interface is checking my spelling. Things could have gone horribly wrong.

I’ll probably drop this post into a Google Doc later and see what happens. Writing with this Logitech K780 is getting easier each time. The keyboard itself is heavy enough and the keys are pretty well spread out. It is probably big enough to make it difficult to use as a traveling keyboard, but it works great at the house.

Those 15 minutes of effort

Today just might be the day that things get back on track. Those 15 minutes of effort are what it takes to center my thoughts. At the end of the day or sometimes at the beginning sitting down and writing for 15 minutes is the key to unlocking a solid path forward. Striving forward on some type of useful path is really the essence of an unfolding perfect possible future. Writing for a few minutes and getting centered is important. You really do have to figure out the path forward and begin taking that first step along the path.

Next week has to be marked with decision. It has to be full of decision points that push things forward. Maybe that is just enough to help move beyond cleaning up my office and thinking about writing. One of my recent plans was to try to use just my Pixel 2 XL smartphone to write for a week. It seems that the format that did spart a few words tonight was my ASUS Chromebook C101P. Next month Google is going to release some new hardware. Maybe a new tablet or a Pixelbook will entice me to replace this device. Chasing the bleeding edge of technology is not the best use of my time and resources, but for some reason it always seems to be the thing that I end up focusing on time and time again.

Day 229 the one where I just kept typing

Day 229 and 230 the ones where I just kept typing

Dear Reader,

Today was a day that finished with some typing. It was the kind of writing that just keeps going. Maybe that last cup of coffee was the spark. Sometimes just the rhythm of typing is enough to keep things going. Last night I just fell asleep.

This morning I deeply considered taking down my Functional Journal weblog. That would mean taking down almost 2,000 posts spanning 20 years of writing. Some of it is no longer relevant to the context it was written. Some of it was just poor writing. A few pages were probably thoughtful and ultimately epic.

One of the things that I am considering is using Twitter or maybe Google Keep to just track all my notes throughout the day. Over the years I have accumulated a huge stack of notebooks that contain my thoughts, observations, and ideas. Something has to give here and what was done by hand needs to shift over to a more digital approach. Part of that will be focusing on primarily using my phone as a primary writing device.

Right now the one note that was struck me in a way that was meaningful happens to be, “I need to pick something to focus on.” Picking one thing to focus on would be highly impactful. Really digging deep and creating a degree of depth related to one thing instead of farming increasing general knowledge breadth.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 228 the one with some wondering

2018: Day 228 the one with some wondering  

Dear Reader,

Today is going to be one of those days where this blog post does not have a featured image. I’m just not in the mood to deal with that brand of randomness today. In some ways it is probably the randomness of it that makes me want to reject it. A photo should add to the content instead of just adding a visual distraction to fill a convention. I’m still not comfortable writing in the Gutenberg editor. Right now I am back over in a Google Doc writing for the sake of writing. For some reason writing in the Gutenberg editor just seems to offend my sensibility. Change in this case is not inspiring me to be more creative. It is just encouraging me to stay entrenched in my standard word processing routine.

Today my thoughts and words are wondering around the point. Things on the edge of being useful are just in the shadow beyond any degree of imagination within this moment. Sure that sometimes happens. We move in and out of the moment. Being committed to the moment takes a certain degree of effort. Being committed to the moment is not inherent to stillness. Some degree of action is required to capture the moment.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 227 the one where I thought about using my phone as a computer

Dear Reader,

Using only my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone for an entire week could be possible. Right now I’m writing on my ASUS C101P Chromebook. That is my primary writing device. Neither of my larger computers downstairs inspires me to write. For some reason sitting down at my office chair and hammering out page after pape just does not happen anymore. Earlier today I started to think about using my Pixel 2 XL for writing and computing. I’m pretty sure that it would be possible to connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse via a dock. That dock in question has been ordered. Sometime next week a Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C multi-port adapter will show up via the mail. With that new device it may be possible to power down my main computer and just use my phone to do everything for a week. Perhaps that would be a reasonable challenge.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 215 the one with some Gutenberg WordPress

2018: Day 215 the one with some Gutenberg WordPress

Dear Reader,

You may or may not be surprised to find out that I have not been very excited about the new Gutenberg writing interface for WordPress. My writing routine pretty much involves opening a word processing application and typing. For years that was Microsoft Word and recently it has been Google Docs. Between those two applications my writing career is pretty much complete. Right now WordPress seems to be trying to get me to create using Gutenberg. That did not happen tonight. I’m writing write now in a Google Doc file and this passage of prose will be cut and pasted into the blog post you are reading. Working in that fashion does not appear to be the ended form of creativity for the new Gutenberg editor.

Cutting and pasting this block of prose over to WordPress was really weird this time around. Instead of just dropping the text in and checking to make sure the formatting was ok things got a little bit weird. Apparently, the power of the Gutenberg visual editor is to take the things that I just wrote in this Google Doc and parse them into pieces and in the process of doing that make things better. I’m really not sold on this new writing method. Maybe being this stuck in my ways is a sign that things are changing around me faster than I am evolving. Perhaps this is just an example of how I should return to my original philosophy on blogging or posting content online. Way back during the end of the last century I had just wanted to drop files online in an open and unstructured way. At this point, it might be easier to just make a directory of word files and post them each day. Probably the main reason that has not been my writing method is that it makes the content less approachable and consumable.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 210 the one with some keyboard testing

2018: Day 210 the one with some keyboard testing

Dear Reader,

Right now I’m trying to write using my new bluetooth keyboard and a vertical Pixel 2 XL smartphone. You may have guessed that both my Nexus 9 tablet and my ASUS Flip C101P are completely out of battery. This Logitech keyboard is pretty easy to use and it can be paired to 3 devices. I totally thought that the ASUS Flip was charged. It was on the counter right next to the charging cable, but for some reason I had forgotten to get it plugged in to the device. That was a pure oversight on my part. Today I almost started writing directly into WordPress, but that never feels right. Recently, I have been using Google Docs instead of writing in Microsoft Word. For the most part I prefer to use Microsoft Word on a full size computer and Google docs on anything Chromebook, mobile, or otherwise small screened device.

It is a little bit awkward to be typing on this keyboard that is about 5x wider than the vertical width of the Pixel 2 XL. This is pretty much the way I was planning to type when this keyboard was purchased. Maybe I’ll get a photo of this setup to help pain the picture. Both of the home keys have a slight raised bar to help me stay grounded while typing. That is enough to keep my typing on the right track. Today was one of those mornings where I thought about writing a novel, but could not get ready to get going. With my devices out of charge it almost seemed like a good idea to go old school and write using my fountain pen. That might just be what happens.

The timeout for the screen is a little bit of a problem so far. I seem to be pausing just long enough for the screen to go dark. I’m still watching disc 3 of the third season of Northern Exposure on the TV and that is enough to distract me. The fingerprint unlock makes it easy enough to unlock the phone and get back to typing.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado