Pick up a pen and try to write during the first moment of the day

two pancakes with syrup

2018: Day 3 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 7,244 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Watching a show on Netflix may have slowed down my writing output today. I’m not entirely sure why I watched the latest season of The Ranch on Netflix. It is probably the same reason that I keep watching The Curse of Oak Island on the History channel season after season. Sometimes a good treasure hunt is enough to hold my attention. Maybe at some point the Netflix show producing algorithm will figure out how to mix The Ranch with a good old fashioned treasure hunt. That seems like a path toward failed plotlines and general ridiculous.

Topic 1: Day three may have been the best day yet

Things were running a little bit slow this morning. Welcome to the start of the day. It is either very cloudy or the sun is not up yet. It very well could be that both conditions were true. This cup of coffee is not that hot. Coffee has this magical zone between being overly cold and being overly hot. Today was one of those days where from the start I could drink the coffee straight away. It tastes like a dark maybe somewhat stale french roast of some sort. Maybe it would have been a good idea to read the sign before pouring it. Things like that seem to be less important during the first hour of the day. Waking up and immediately writing is not really something that is going to ever happen. It takes a couple of minutes to get going. Planning on a productive morning writing session may not be the best idea. You could say that I am an early riser. Those first few moments of the day are simply not my favorite moments.

During the course of traveling I have always turned on the ESPN television channel in the morning. Mike & Mike in the morning was a staple of my traveling routine. For some inexplicable reason the near perfect broadcasting tandem of Mike & Mike has now become Golic & Wingo. I’m reserving my judgment on the new program for another couple of weeks. Arriving at a true broadcasting partnership may take them a little bit of time. Watching sports programming in the morning is really about that first fifteen minutes or so of the day. Those minutes are not entirely useful. They occur during a boot up phase that just sort of happens. Tomorrow for fun I am going to set a pad of paper and a pen by the bed under my phone. Alarms will go off. I will pick up the pen and try to write for 5 minutes straight.

Picking up a pen during the first few moments of the day and trying to write should be a very attainable goal. Finding the time for epic writing sessions is what the march toward writing 1,000,000 words in a year is all about. Writers write. Writing an average of 3,000 words per day involves making about a 2 hour commitment. According to statistics from my Fitbit my average night of sleep is less than 8 hours. To make the math a little more interesting I’m going to round up and accept 8 hours as an average night of sleep. 8 hours out of 24 breaks down to 33.33% (repeating of course) of the day. If you can spend 1/3 of the day sleeping, then working toward writing for 2 hours per day or 8.33% (repeating) should be easy. Writing 3,000 words per day is for better or worse a daily commitment of 8.33% from each day. Between working and sleeping you are probably talking about having 2/3 of your day automatically committed. That means that you have to figure out what you want to do with the 1/3 of the day within your control. Obviously, I am making the decision to spend over 730 hours writing in 2018. That might seem like a large number. It is only 8.33% of the 8,760 hours that will make up the totality of 2018.

Topic 2: Working toward writing 1,000 word essays

Let’s face it sitting down and writing 3,000 words on the same topic in one shot is a very elusive goal to try to achieve. Working toward writing a series of 1,000 word essays is a more reasonable goal. It probably would have been a better idea to try to write about 500 words at a time and move from topic to topic. That probably is not going to work to help push things forward. Daily writing can be about observing and reacting to external stimulus in a written form. Alternatively, daily writing could be about reflection and writing out internal monologue. Either way the process of writing is generally about taking a topic and exploring it. That exporation tends to be wholey a function of how the writing engages in the process.

My personal writing process tends to be a mixture of stream of consciousness style writing and highly outlined prose generation. Sometimes you sit down with a piece of paper and a pen to outline a future writing project. You can take and expand each section within an outline with annotation to bring forward robust details. Imagine a process where you build a loaf of bread by putting together one crumb at a time. Within that analogy it would not be a process of re-assembling a loaf of bread. It would really in truth be the process of assembly. Bread normally comes together through a baking process. You pull of the ingredients together and allow a variety of processes to occur depending on what type of bread is being made.

Topic 3: Random stream of consciousness style writing

Writing with a purpose. Writing driven by a definitive point of view. Striving forward to write about things that matter in a meaningful day. Those are things that I know need to be a part of my daily writing routine. Much of what I write is driving by basic somewhat random stream of consciousness style writing. To me that means sitting down in front of a blank page or maybe an otherwise blank word processing document and writing. The exercise usually begins in the same way. You can have an idea that sparks the need to write. Accepting that spark of inspiration and sitting down to write is a different process than engaging in pure stream of consciousness style writing. My sleep threshold is pretty low. I can clear my mind and fall asleep just about anywhere at just about any time. That is almost the same way writing normally starts for me.

It works like this. Everything gets setup to get going and start writing. I clear my mind of any worries, concerns, or any real thoughts about anything. In that moment of pure acceptance of my surroundings nothing is really happening. From that nothing something normally springs forward into existence. That could very well be both the best and worst part of the process. Sometimes a writing session will produce absolute nonsense. Other times it producing something that is usable and useful.

Topic 4: Two alarms went off this morning

A vibration based alarm on my Fitbit started to wake me up at 5:30 AM. That alarm never really seems to be 100% effective. At 5:35 AM a rather loud alarm on my Pixel 2 XL phone started blaring. It was louder and did require me to move a lot farther to turn it off. That was enough to start the process. I fumbled around to find the remote control. Without really looking at the buttons a few flicks turned on the television. It seemed like a good idea to navigate from the information channel to the flagship ESPN television channel. Both Golic and Wingo seemed happy to be on television today. I’m sure having the new show and the combination of college and professional football being in full swing helps matters.

A pad of paper and a pen were sitting right next to the bed. I knew my goal was to sit up and start writing from the very first moment of the day. Somehow that goal turned into a moonshot. It was not something that was going to happen. The day started with a few minutes watching Golic & Wingo on the television. I managed to walk by the pad of paper and ignore it before starting the day with a shower. Two choices existed for coffee today. The hotel provides some type of french roast coffee and a nearby Starbucks sells a wide variety of coffee. Naturally, I would have liked to have two shots of espresso and begin the day. Instead I settled for a cup of french roast coffee. Probably 90% of all coffee I have consumed was not mixed with anything. Coffee without anything added to it remains and probably will always be my prefered beverage. That previous statement probably should be modified somehow to include espresso. Revision operational definitions after the fact remains a questionable practice. Consider that reality acknowledged.

Commercials do make the new Fitbit Ionic smart watch look pretty good. I’m on my third Fitbit band/watch. My original fitbit band had this tiny sense pebble inside the band. It was a difficult to charge and it ended up failing at some point. My next Fitbit was highly forgettable. It was the Fitbit Surge and it was easier to charge if memory serves me correctly. It got torn and i purchased a Fitbit Blaze. Oddly enough that purchase provided a stable and usable watch. It works well enough and I have a nice looking metal bend for it that makes it feel like a regular watch. Given that it is a perfectly serviceable and working fitness watch I do not really feel the need to purchase the newer Fitbit Ionic watch. Incremental product improvements between versions are often not enough to encourage me to upgrade.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
San Antonio, Texas
Written on a ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— Short story “The Knock”

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.

Getting ready for the long 2018 journey to one million words

Getting ready for the long 2018 journey to one million words

2018: Day 2 of 365
Word count 5,527 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to the second post in my new 3,000 word per day writing series. It will be a series that will pretty much last all year. You may have guessed from the last post that pretty much every day of 2018 will be full of rather lengthy, rambling, and otherwise thoughtful weblog posts. Writing one million words in the same year will make for a very big year. Truly I am expecting 2018 to be a big year. To that end my brand new Chromebook is up and running. I’m quickly and without much fanfare getting used to typing on my new ASUS Flip C101P Chromebook. Overall the system build and feel between the ASUS Flip C100PA-DB01 and the C101P are pretty much the same. The keyboard is different between the two devices. I am not able to exactly describe the difference between the two keyboards. Maybe later this week. Chromebooks really are reasonably priced for the hardware that you get. I totally get how and why they are becoming more pervasive within schools.

Chromebooks are really easy to setup these days. That is not a sponsored statement. I just appears to be true. Switching between two Chromebooks literally involved about 5 minutes of downtime. This Chromebook had to be plugged in to charge out of the box. That was easy enough with the USB Type-C cable ASUS provided. Having the ability to charge my Chromebook from one of my portable battery packs really does provide peace of mind. After pushing the power button the screen started up. A wifi connection had to be made and then my profile was ready within a couple minutes of logging in to my Google account. Somewhere in the background applications might have been downloading or something, but I have been writing from Google docs and all it requires is a web based connection to get going.

Sometime during Q3 of 2017 I switched from using MIcrosoft Word as my primary work processing document software to Google Docs. Both pieces of software work well enough and have been a part of my writing routine for years. Google Docs has just been my go to writing application for some reason. The Microsoft Office 365 version of Word for Android and Google Docs are not all that different. It could just be the layout of the ribbon or something in the aesthetics, but I do strongly prefer Google Docs at the moment. That could be something that will change again this year. Google Docs have much stricter size limits vs. Microsoft Word. Writing at a pace of 3,000 words per day I will hit the character limit for a Google Doc in short order. That limit for a Google Doc appears to be 1,024,000 characters. My goal this year involves writing one million words. If that character limit is correct, then Google Docs are at least an order of magnitude smaller than necessary.

I thought you might enjoy some thoughts about new years eve specific to his year. Please consider that compared to most new years eve stories this one will be somewhat boring. It was however interesting to me. It probably would not rank very highly in your new years eve story lists. This year for me new years eve was interesting to say the least. This year things just happened. I learned that they have a party near the San Antonio riverwalk for new years eve. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar played in the park outside my hotel room. People in and around the area were a little bit out of control. Vendors were selling things that flash and light up. Snacks seemed to be everywhere.

It was much louder and much much colder than I expected. People were everywhere. The music started after dinner time and the crowd just kept growing. Getting to my hotel took a lot longer than expected and was very frustrating. Some of the roads were closed. Figuring out how to navigate closed one way roads in a town you do not know is a recipe for complications and confusion. Google maps was not prepared to handle the sudden changes in road direction. That is probably a design flaw in the software. At what point would the algorithm notice that trafic has changed directions on a road. I’m assuming that road closures and redirections are not registered anywhere that Google could ingest. They have the data, but the algorithm was not learning from it.

I’m already starting to realize that to hit my writing goal of 3,000 words per day it might take 3 or more writing sessions per day. It would be possible to ensure that an early morning and a late night writing session occur. All of the folks that were in the room next door probably would have been more productive writing. They played some sort of card game that involved yelling numbers. Whatever game they were playing the rules escaped me. I could not figure it out. My ability to understand party games has always been rather limited. That probably has to do with the fact that I never really played any party games.

I’m going to go ahead and warn you now that in my long history of writing weblog entries some if not all of the paragraphs might seem somewhat unrelated. These last few paragraphs are emblematic of the problem we talked about related to writing about the same thing in a long form way vs. producing several thoughtful, but otherwise unrelated paragraphs and hitting publish. Sometimes writing for the sake of writing without any real form or purpose can be satisfying, but it will generally be uninspired and hard to read.

Let’s get back to the start of my day. Today started off in a highly problematic manner. Seriously, it was highly problematic. Ok — I was hungry and did not want to wait for breakfast. Breakfast did start at the time on the hotel room card. It started 30 minutes later. That gave me time to shower before breakfast, but I managed to spill coffee on my sleeve getting back into the room. Opening the door was easy enough, but the process of turning the handle just did not occur properly. I could see the coffee come out of the cup and watched it hit my sleeve. Thankfully it was a dark blue shirt and I was able to sort of wash the coffee out and move on with my day. This incident was not the worst coffee related travel moment of my career.

It happened right before an early flight at the Denver airport. I was making my way to board the airplane. Either somebody bumped into me or things just did not go well. An entire cup with 2 shots of very thick espresso went flying into the air. It tumbled down across my tan top coat, shirt, and pants. Some cleanup happened in a rather rushed way. Whoever was sitting next to me was probably wondering why I smelled so strongly of coffee. The espresso all over me probably helped fill in any gaps in the story. That was one of those moments that I remember happening, but I try to forget about it. Ever since that moment I tend to stand still long enough to finish my espresso shots before walking anywhere.

Maybe it would be a good idea to talk about espresso shots for a bit. My trusty Starbucks Verismo machine failed the other day. It started brewing espresso shots that had a strongly burnt taste. That might sound a little bit strange. It was not a normal part of my Verismo espresso pod machine. It got bad enough that the machine had to be considered broken beyond repair. It was not they kind of machine that could be responsibly repaired. A whole lot of my writing has been powered by shots of espresso. That will probably continue to be the case.

It was not until graduate school that I even started to drink coffee. Coffee was not something that even remotely held my attention. Something magical happened in graduate school. Classes in the master of public administration program at the University of Kansas involved a lot of reading. As the amount of material that I needed to read increased the amount of coffee in my life increased dramatically. Going from zero cups of coffee to some was a major change. It did reduce the amount of soda that I was consuming which in hindsight was probably a good thing.

Buying a coffee pot happened without much fanfare. It happened after realizing that microwaving instant coffee was not going to cut it. My initial experiences with drinking microwaved instant coffee now seems somewhat ridiculous. At the time they were just a part of my daily routine. I remember the red can of instant coffee and where it at on the shelf. My routine involved putting instant coffee in a cup, adding water, and using the microwave. At some point, it seemed like a good idea to buy a coffee pot, some filters, and a can of real coffee. To the best of my recollocation at this time related to the items I am able to recollect that last container of instant coffee may have gone unused. It might still be sitting in a box someplace.

Starting tomorrow I’m probably going to have to get better about signposting and writing distinct sections of prose. Two consecutive days of 3,000 word posts without any section headers or subheadings might be a little bit beyond reasonable. Maybe the best method would be to focus on writing three solid 1,000 word sections or three distinct weblog posts. Writing 3,000 words in a day does not mean that it has to be published within one weblog post. It is probably a better and more realistic writing strategy to produce multiple posts per day. Readability will probably improve using that strategy. I really wanted to just sit down and write out of the gate this year. That probably explains why these two posts happened. You can blame a combination of hubris and vanity for these two rambling posts.

Part of writing every day is about improving. Along the way you will probably get to see to what degree I am aware of my bad writing habits. You will also be able to tell if my writing habits improve. Throughout the journey to write 1,000,000 words in a year my writing style should change and improve in a variety of ways. Only time will truly tell, but at this point I’m hoping to be able to look back at this moment and see a solid trend toward improving prose.

We are pretty much at the halfway point for my daily writing goal. This weblog post has already devolved into writing about writing. You cannot stop writing. That would not be good. Instead of stopping you just have to acknowledge that things are slowing down and change topics. All of that could have been avoided if my efforts had been focused on writing about college football. This time of year is full of promise and hope for some schools. College football bowl season does allow a lot of schools to finish the year with a win and celebrate the season. Having attended the University of Kansas for about 5 years you may or may not be surprised to know that our household pretty much stops all activities other than watching sports during Kansas basketball games. That same truth is not self-evident about University of Kansas football games. Don’t take this the wrong way. I want to better fan of the University of Kansas football team. We drove to the Tangerine bowl back in 2003 and the Fort Worth Bowl in 2005. We cheered and celebrated those seasons.

Maybe watching KU basketball is our most defining and consistent family activity. I might have watched more Kansas City Royals baseball as a kid, but they play a lot more games. Seriously, they play a lot more games each year and they were easier to find on television. Watching sports has changed so much over the last few years. Moving to high definition really changed the sports watching experience. The proliferation of sports channels on television and the rise of the digital video recorder have also changed the experience. We spend a lot of time reviewing the basketball schedule and determining if we will be able to watch the game. That same amount of attention to detail does not occur during football season.

Sometimes getting into the habit of writing takes time. Establishing a routine takes a different amount of time for different people. For me it takes about two weeks to change my routine. Getting back into the habit of writing long form prose on a daily basis will probably take about two weeks. Writing and writing for long periods of time is very different from talking to people. Producing academic prose is a different story. That element of my writing never really developed into a routine. I tend to write academic prose in spurts based on deadlines. Sometimes inspiration will strike and I will produce a bunch of academic style prose in one session.

Watching the Georgia and Oklahoma game go to overtime was somewhat thrilling. A four team playoff at the end of the year to crown a national champion is interesting. Each year the games always seem interesting when they are announced. Sometimes they turn out to be good games and like anything else sometimes they turn out to be highly questionable. Sports really is on the few things we watch in real time unfold to see what happens. Some folks might claim to watch based on some type of love for the game. That is possible. Maybe Golf fans could make that argument in a slightly more compelling way.

Writing and watching college football may not have been the best idea this evening. New years eve really did take a lot out of me this year. It was very loud and unpredictable. It is amazing just how much waking up several times in the middle of the night can impact the next day. Coffee of course always seems to help. Espresso maybe helps just a little bit more.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
San Antonio, Texas
Written on a ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

P.S. I did manage to edit this weblog post, but that does not appear to have helped very much. Some of the content ended up being a little disjointed. That happens. I knew that was going to happen. It is something that should have been avoidable.

2018 Writing Topics:

— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— Short story “The Knock”

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.

An open letter on writing one million words a year

2018: Day 1 of 365
Word count 3,010 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Breaking down the goal of writing 1,000,000 words in a year might take a little bit of math. I’ll try to keep the math from becoming distracting. You are lucky that you came to the right place to think about your new goal. This is an open letter about my thoughts related to writing 1,000,000 words in the same year. Welcome to the start of the journey. It should be interesting… it will be a big year for me in terms of writing. Given that I will never attempt an American Birding Association (ABA) big year this is probably as close as I will ever get to that type of sustained effort. My hope is that my big year will inspire others to chase a writing goal. This endeavor is not about setting records for writing or anything like that type of nonsense. The effort is purely to motivate me to actively engage in the habit of daily writing.

Maybe you have stumbled upon the 3,000 word per day writing challenge on accident or maybe you are an intellectual thrill seeker, avid reader, or just an extraordinarily curious individual. Writing a million words in a year seems like a daunting and near impossible task to accomplish. Even writing out the goal of writing 1,000,000 words in a year requires a little whimsy. If you break it down by month one month at a time, then you are dividing 1,000,000 words by twelve months. That calculation comes out to exactly 83,333.33 (repeating of course) words per month. You could think about it in terms of paying a weekly writing tab. That would require dividing 1,000,000 words by 52 weeks. From that point you can start to imagine writing an average of 19,230.76 words per week. That number might seem a little outrageous, but it could be broken down to a daily goal. Each day throughout 2018 you would be endeavoring to produce an average of 2,739.73 words per day.

Making a commitment to writing 2,739.72 words per day would require time for some consideration. Let’s face it writing that many words per day will require a little bit of planning and a whole lot of resolve, dedication, and inspiration. To make the attempt more honest and responsible I rounded the daily target up to 3,000 words per day. Dividing 1,000,000 words by 3,000 words per day ends up at 333.33 days. That means that it would really take 334 days to hit the 1,000,000 words target for 2018. For those of you who are really good at math you may have already guessed that generates a buffer of 31 days. Creating a buffer will be one of the most important parts of the the writing 1,000,000 words in a year goal. Let’s face it… at some point during the long journey toward writing 1,000,000 words in a year will involve a few setbacks, false starts, and maybe a sick day or two. That pretty much concludes the math that will be included in this open letter. I tried to work it naturally into my prose. My intent was to allow a little bit of math to inform the nature of the challenge vs. distracting from how difficult of a process it really would be to accomplish.

If you have the same type of writing habits that i do, then you know writing when you are sick just does not work out very well. Prose generated during a cold is usually lacking, disjointed, and otherwise devoid of quality. That pretty much means the 31 day buffer is really more of a necessity for the journey to be successful. It is not a nice to have. However, if for some reason that allows me to hit the 1,000,000 word per year target a little early, then that is probably a good thing. Keep in mind that writing 3,000 words per day involves producing about 6 pages of single spaced prose per day. Opening a word processing document and just writing 6 pages will require some type of planning.

Figuring out a long rang daily writing plan will require a little bit of thought out game planning and a lot of luck. I could not sit down and write down 365 topics worth 3,000 words each to write about in one sitting. That would be a near impossible goal to try to achieve. My guess is that I will need to keep a rolling list of topics that is about 25-30 long. That list will need to be actively replenished as useful thoughts arrive. Writing a long form essay is in some ways about tapping into at least some degree of passion about the topic. Writing without passion opens the door to some seriously grim possibilities. Given that amassing 1,000,000 words of connected prose will create a weighty tome of my thoughts it seems like a good idea to keep them in a somewhat readable package.

Throughout 2018, I have made a commitment that I will be writing 3,000 words per day. That pretty much means that I plan on working out of the same word document each day and producing regular daily blog posts from that prose. Separating the content by type will make it easier to manage and read. Dealing with the 1,000,000 word document would be like working through a mix of autobiographical prose, fiction, and non-fiction essays with no real sign posting or rhyme or reason. During writing sessions I tend to move from topic to topic with little logical progression. Something might catch my attention and it will generate 1,000 words of prose. That burst of writing could be followed up by some a short story or maybe a long form essay about the current state of the universe.

Signposting changes in direction will be important to avoid confusing readers and keeping the prose crisp and well organized. This first installment of thoughts on my new 1,000,000 word writing goal for 2018 will be created without any section headers or other notations. This is really just an open letter to kick off my writing efforts and to advise anybody that stumbles into this writing montage midstream about the journey and the ultimate destination. Those folks who keep up with my 3,000 word per day writing journey will probably have a much better idea of who I am and how i think at the end of the journey. Reading 1,000,000 semi-autobiographical words by the same author mixed with some short stories should be one of the most definitive ways to know somebody that exists. You may even get to see an unedited look at my short story writing skills.

You cannot hide your thoughts and feelings within long form daily writing. That might be one of the reasons why the original wave of weblogs was so personal and inviting to readers that were surfing the internet for a new style of distraction. Every time a red squiggle shows up I tend to hit spell check (when I have an internet connection), but outside of that mechanism for checking quality these words will pretty much fall as they may on this digital canvas. It is possible at some point that an editor will clean up my grammar and maybe correct any massive mid sentence false starts. When you are writing in long form in a digital method sometimes it is easier to just hit return and move on from a bad sentence. I generally just keep writing at the point. That means that all of my false starts and half formed sentences live on in word processing documents stored on the cloud.

My plan for all of my 2018 words is to compile them in a published form and make it available in a printable format sometime in early 2019. It may end up being a coffee table sized tome. You might think that type of speculation about getting to the finish line will involve putting the cart before the horse, but I prefer to think about it as beginning with the end state in mind and working backward. Most of my writing happens to be a stream of consciousness style effort. I really only know that I am going to start writing and that at some point I will stop. That is one of the reasons that having a list of topics will be so important. Without that list I will end up writing an endless string of disjointed auto-biographical vignettes. That could very well be the problem with my current writing. Having a general goal and a cohesive theme might make it easier to read.

Most of the writing that I do on a daily basis is not really intended to be consumed. I write to satisfy my need to create prose. It is a need that has spanned decades and sometimes can be overwhelming and all consuming. That does not mean that catching the spark of creativity does not sometimes help produce better and more meaningful prose. It does mean that most of what I have produced over the last two decades is really just self-serving and may or may not bring a reader some type of enjoyment or insight. Sure that is probably not the right thing to say in this opening salvo on the journey to writing 1,000,000 words in the same year, but it is an honest and heartfelt warning. Maybe my whole weblog should have come with a warning statement. It does clearly say at the top that this is a weblog featuring writing and thoughts. That is a pretty basic admission about the content the reader should expect.

My personal expectations for writing 1,000,000 words in the same year are pretty simple. I plan on reaching the point of exhaustion for most if not any topics that have caught my attention. For better or worse that means that I plan on deploying and executing a writing style that is a little different from my standard word economic highly direct prose. Everything should be able to stand alone and tell a story separated from the whole. Each day should be thought of as a separate event. A unique sprint toward the goal of producing 3,000 words. Sure that might create a small amount of repetition, but that should be acceptable at this point. Reading in general is an activity that is self started and down by choice.

You should think carefully about beginning the journey toward writing 3,000 words per day. It should be a journey that you embark on by choice without reservation. Building a robust daily writing habit is important and requires having a routine. You could easily decide to write 3,000 words today. Maybe it would even be a good idea to think about writing 3,000 words per day for a week. Moving up the goal from a week to a month or a year would take a little bit of planning and a lot of dedication to your craft. My expectation for this year is that my writing style will improve and mature along the way. Without question the practice of daily writing helps craft more usable words. Writing academic prose that can be published is a part of my standard yearly goals. Throughout 2018 that goal will be suspended and i will only focus on writing academic related prose if it happens organically. Writing at this type of pace will require publishing and sharing pretty much everything. That means any academic work that occurs will have to be shared real-time and it will be a very progress view of my writing efforts.

Academic work is typically highly edited and refined. That is a far cry from sitting down and writing 3,000 words before hitting publish on the weblog. You can imagine that some type of rework may have to occur for anything that ends up being stitched together to form some type of long form academic work. In terms of working an outline and putting things together that is fine. I expect that some of my efforts this year will end up getting pulled apart, edited, reworked, and ultimately formed into something altogether different from the original prose.

Sometimes taking a topic and writing to the point of exhaustion can involve tremendous overwork. To operationally define writing to the point of exhaustion please consider that turn of phrase to mean that everything that could be said or evaluated for a topic has been written. It pretty much means that you wrote all that you could and now your efforts are complete. That is not a style of writing that I typically engage in or have enjoyed over the years. My writing efforts typically involve working a topic until something else catches my attention. You can imagine the two styles are very different and that writing in a more exhaustive way will be a major change to my writing.

This year will probably be a year that involves a lot of changes. I tend to write long form prose in spurts and that type of writing efforts is entirely based on my feels at the moment. Throughout 2018 I will pretty much have to devote every spare moment to writing. You can imagine that will be challenging. Keeping a list of topics to write about will help me keep momentum and ensure that I have enough to write about to hit the daily word target. Sitting down and writing will only get me so far down the path to writing this many words.

Please keep in mind that most of my efforts will be written, but not edited. They are a snapshot captured from a pure stream of consciousness captured in a written format. Some of it will be useful and some of it will no doubt drone on into arcane and verbose prose no doubt reminiscent of Vogon poetry. That truly is not the intent of this exercise, but it could be a direct output of it. With respect to that very possibility please accept my humblest apologies for my failure. I will endeavor to do my best and to bring you the best possible collection of 1,000,000 words written in sequence every created. That really should not be all that difficult to achieve. I’m not aware of any other sequential bulk writing efforts.

Writing today involves using a brand new keyboard. We will see exactly how much use it can handle before the keys start to wear out. Under my normal writing usage a laptop normally lasts about 3 years. Oddly enough the laptop does not come with an estimated number of words the keyboard can provide. That specification does not make the key features list. Technology aside the process of gearing up to write 1,000,000 words in the same year is mostly mental. Good posture and avoiding strain will be important, but the will to write every day will be the most important factor along the way. It will be the key part of the journey. It will for better or worse be a true journey.

Reading 1,000,000 words written by the same author in succession during the same year will be an interesting journey for the reader. My goal throughout this endeavor will be to keep some general themes at the forefront of my writing and avoid approaching each day with a true tabula rasa writing agenda. A general theme within all my writing is the intersection of technology and modernity. That theme typically informs my evaluation of civil society and technology in general. Throughout the last year I have spent a lot of time and effort evaluating, learning about, and coding using various artificial intelligence systems. Writing about artificial intelligence will probably be a key part of my 2018 efforts. Talking about and reacting to artificial intelligence related topics is easier than writing about it. Maybe writing in a style similar to the way I talk would help break down that barrier. We will see which way that one ends up.

Here we go. Buckle up. Enjoy the pose. Thank you for stopping in and reading my thoughts. If you only get to read this first day of prose, then thank you for dropping by and I hope at some point you are able to circle back to the other 99% of my writing efforts. Naturally, as a consequence of my writing efforts my YouTube live streams may have to move to a weekly cadence vs. daily. Digging into artificial intelligence and other technology related news on a daily basis and recording a video has been a good learning experience, but I will be prioritizing the creation of prose over the creation of video content throughout 2018. I can say preference for live streams vs. cinematic daily life vlogging still holds true.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
San Antonio, Texas
Written on a ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

P.S. I had some thoughts that were not related my open letter, but they may inform my mood during the writing of the letter. Those thoughts are about my comfort during a flight from Denver to San Antonio. The seats this United Express flight were not very comfortable. I would have guessed that the airline would have spent a little bit of time and energy researching seat comfort. The seats on the ERJ175 Embraer REgional Jet are very spartan. They do not seem to have any real padding or cushion comfort build into the design. They also seem to be strongly compact vs. the seats I normally expect to see on an airplane.

2018 Writing Topics:

— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— Short story “The Knock”

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section. This first open letter would be the best place to drop a topic suggestion. I will try to avoid turning off comments on this post. Over the course of writing 3,000 words per day for an entire year any suggestions are welcome. They might spark an idea for a topic or ignite my passion for writing in general.

The 3,000 word a day writing habit

Maybe it was the city upon the hill that drew my attention. It was more or less a vision for contemplation that captured my attention. A lot of things will need to catch my attention to help spark a 3,000 word a day writing habit. That pretty much means that I need to sit down in front of the keyboard and dedicate a pure hour to the practice of writing. Just like somebody who practices the piano or guitar to improve their skills. The daily writing habit helps to improve writing skills.

Most people do not willfully record and publish their piano or guitar practice sessions. Maybe the guitarist Buckethead is the exception. Brian seems to churn out albums at an unprecedented rate for a guitarist. To keep up with that type of prodigious creativity I would have to encourage and embrace my tendency to engage in stream of conscious writing. That is a relatively easy thing to accomplish.

It works the same every time. You sit down and start to write. Whatever comes to mind is where you start. From that point in time you just focus on embracing the practice of writing and let the words take you forward. My general state of momentum helps me embrace striving forward. Focusing on the past and dwelling on things can be a part of being a reflective practitioner, but it has to be couched within a guiding principle that involves striving forward. Improving, learning, and refining strategy are all good things to do based on past results. Over thinking things and just remaining in the intellectual weeds of the past does not really benefit the future.

Inherent within the struggle of striving forward is the next step. That step informed by the last but independent. Each step powered by good intentions. We tend to keep striving forward. To write 3,000 words per hours you have to pretty much surrender all reservations and just go with it. Writing for the sake of writing. Each impulse converted into words and plastered on the page. Making that happen involves just going. You pretty much have to let your mind focus on the task of writing and stay in that creative pocket for as long as you can.

Distractions are pretty much inevitable. Life involves so many factors that push and pull on your time. Dedicating an hour a day to writing for the pure purpose of writing used to be something that was a part of my daily routine. Every night before going to bed a writing session would occur. Some of those sessions were much more productive than hours and that is ok. Sometimes gold pours out and sometimes it does not. Part of the process is striving forward and embracing the good days and trying to get as much out of the great days as a possible.

Writing with citations and in a proper academic style typically takes longer. Some topics I can write about and cite as i got without picking up books. That harkens back to the time I spent writing and reading about civility and social capital. I remember the thrill of just finding a library shelf and reading every book related to the topic at hand. That type of reading is oddly satisfying. Understanding how different contributors to the academy took on challenging topics and how they dealt with them in print helped me understand topics in a deeper way.

Some of my more satisfying writing sessions have involved writing either short stories or fiction chapters. It has been a long time since I had the time to sit down and just writing a story. Being in the habit of writing tends to help me produce a wide variety of different things. Focusing in on one topic for 3,000 words would really help ensure a great degree of depth vs. the breath introduced by jumping around from topic to topic. Reading disjointed prose probably won’t be fulfilling. It probably will not be fulfilling for the writer either.

Taking the time to truly think about something in a deep and meaningful way can be fulfilling. For example, I could write about the rise and inevitable fall of the National Football League. That topic probably has enough ground to cover to fill several volumes of notebooks. A large portion of the population probably has an opinion on the subject. It would probably end up being somewhat controversial in parts based we just don’t agree on anything anymore. Spending the time to write about the nature of truth in general and just how hard it is to gain agreement anymore might be a better use of my time. That type of treatise about the nature of truth would be a great inquiry, but it would probably also be less readable.