Day 8 the one where a short story happened

2018: Day 8 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 20,392 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Last week fell a little bit short of my writing goal. The week did include 33 single spaced pages, 96,374 characters, and about 16,843 words. All of that was saved in one Google Doc on the cloud. To catch up this week I’m going to have to increase my daily writing target to 3,500 words per day. That target will be a little bit harder to achieve. Playing catch up for a week is reasonable, but having to play catch up week over week will make achieving my writing goal impossible. After one week of marching toward writing 1,000,000 words in a year things seem to be going ok. Even a fight with some wild allergies or maybe some type of cold did not stop my writing output. It did slow it down and that is what we are working to recover from this year. To get back on track today will need to include at least 3,500 words in this weblog post.

That may very well require digging in and writing a short story. Something has to give. This is week two of my 3,000 words per day writing efforts and the door is now open to both fiction and non-fiction efforts. I’m sure some type of mixed model writing exists that mixes fiction and non-fiction. Off the top of my head I would guess a mixed model would involve either a based on a true story thriller or a highly exaggerated autobiography. Neither of those types of efforts appeal to me at the moment. My efforts generally go one way or the other. A few years ago I was producing a ton of fiction chapters, short stories, and other novella type prose. At some point that all just sort of stopped and my recent efforts have mostly been non-fiction based. I really wanted the first week of my efforts to be pure exposition. That seemed to have happened. At some point this year I am forecasting an outburst of fiction type writing.

Clear signposting will let you know when a short story starts and stops within my weblog post writing format. It will be clear enough to ensure that no confusion exists. I do plan on using different posts for different types of formats instead of trying to fit all the content into one post per day. During the course of writing 1,000,000 words in the same year I’m sure some confusion will be caused, but it hopefully will not be from writing structures or signposting. One thing I do find confusing is the naming conventions of the Nespresso Originalline coffee pod capsules. Seriously, I have a ton of sleeves of coffee capsules and I never know until making a beverage what exactly is going to happen. My Starbucks Verismo system always had very clear naming for all of its coffee pods. Most of them were clearly marked. My other initial observation about Nespresso is that the machine are everywhere. You can buy one at a variety of stores all over, but you cannot get any pods for them. The only boutique store near me in Denver is over an hour away.

You may have noticed the awesome snapshot taken as the thumbnail for this weblog post. It is a picture of Captain Pickles the dog looking out the window. That is something that Captain Pickles really enjoys doing. My efforts to take great photographs on a daily basis should benefit from having a Google Pixel 2 XL camera. As smartphones go the Pixel 2 XL has a very good camera. It even manages to take good photos of the very quick and illusive Captain Pickles. Google Photos has been making stylized versions of my photos. Oddly enough I consider it to be a good sign when the algorithm modifies my photos. That probably means they rated fairly high on the interestingness scale.

Short Story: “The Knock” revisited and reimagined

Back in 2013 or 2014 I started writing a novel called “The Knock” one chapter at a time. All of the characters were sketched out and I was ready to produce a whole novel. For some reason back on September 17, 2014 I shared a preview of some chapters. That preview included about 2,583 words. Today I’m going to revisit that preview and extend from that initial cut at things to write a short story. It is possible that in the middle of that in typical Nels fashion I will write something entirely different. That happens far more than you can imagine. Those three chapters set a pretty solid foundation for the novel I was thinking about writing at the time. Given that I do not want to cut and paste something written in 2013 or 2014 into this writing challenge something is going to have to give here. My initial thought is to rewrite the 3 chapters after years of improving as as writer. That might be a good idea to get the ball rolling or I could start to work out what would have been the 2nd novel in the series.

Ok, I may have come up with a hybrid approach. Maybe I should just start writing chapter 4 and flash back into better rewrites of the content that was in chapters 1, 2, and 3 from my original 2013 and 2014 writing efforts. This may be the best approach. In the future people who pick up the novel in paperback format or some e-reader might wonder why it starts at chapter 4, but that is a problem for future Nels to explain. However, it seems like a wave of procrastination has kicked off and I’m cleaning up my office vs. writing a short story. Maybe this is a part of the idea percolation process. Maybe just maybe this little bit of procrastination is a good thing.

Short Story: Chapter 4 of The Knock: A Novel from the Robert Heart Series

The Knock: A Novel from the Robert Heart Series
Chapter 4 (Preview)
Aspen, Colorado

Weather could get pretty extreme in Aspen, Colorado. Winter had started early this year with a few light snow falls. Things had leveled out to an unusual warm period. Most of the folks in the area wished for a healthy amount of winter snowfall. The mail stop near the condo unit had a bunch of letters for Walter K. Wilburton. Selling people timeshare condominiums near ski resorts was sure fire way to get on all sorts of mailing lists. Once people start sending you mailers they rarely stop even if you never respond. People in the area knew that Walter traveled all the time for business and it might be some time before letters got picked up. Some pine needles had built up on the edge of the Trex deck, but that would not hurt anything. Not this time of year.

For the last few years Walter had been working out of both Aspen and Breckenridge. Selling condos was a great way network with folks while staying below the radar for any government service. Walter was not fond of social networks or anything where people shared photos or videos. Walter lived a very spartan existence. Everything that Walter did was designed to allow the outside world to accept and move on. Walter had to make very hard choices and live with the consequences and uncertainty.

Sometimes people shout out revolutionary ideas at bars or write about them online. These days both are happening with a great frequency. The knock as a recruitment technique is hard to explain. It is the kind of chance that comes only once in lifetime for a chosen few. Walter had been a part of making those choices for more than 20 years. It is easy to say that modern society has faced a decline of civility. In response, to this decline a few renegade individuals had decided to adopt an older way. A large number of philosophies exist. The way of the samurai has survived centuries and technologies advance. None of that really motivated Walter. It was a simple belief in service and the duty associated with it that helped Walter push forward every day.

Walter woke up every day and used an iPad with a data plan from AT&T to send emails and work with people who wanted to either buy, sell, or rent a condo. That part of the day only explained part of what Walter did on a daily basis. That job allowed Walter to meet interesting people who had a history of traveling. Assets had to have and maintaining a legitimate history of travel. That was one of the most important parts of the process. Equally important to having natural travel patterns was a certain spark. It was something that Walter could identify better than anybody else on the planet. Approaching an asset was always a delicate matter. Walter handled it the same way every time. It happened with a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

Walter would make sure they were along and start the same conversation that always happened with different people. It was something that Walter did a couple times a year. Bringing somebody in to the fold was challenging. One false move and things could go very sideways in the digital age. Recruitment had been getting harder and harder over the years. Managing a decentralized network of assets completely off the grid was a skill that not very many people possessed. Only having face to face conversations and only working with trusted people is a different model of managing things.

This is the end of Chapter 4

The chapter I wrote today felt a little bit forced and is probably a false start. Instead of jumping into a chapter style format it probably would have been smarter to just try to write a tight self contained short story. Something that opens and closes during the same writing session. Trying to go back to the well and expand on an existing set of chapters was a little bit ambitious. It may have been worth it to get things moving, but it was not my best work. That chapter will probably need to be rewritten at some point. Most chapters in thriller or mystery books could not stand along. They are not written to be stand alone short stories.

Topic 1: Repacking some of my old videos for YouTube with commentary

One of the things I have spent some time thinking about is maybe repackaging some of my old videos for YouTube with commentary. They are not the highest quality video efforts. Most of them are on tapes. I know right… they are on actual magnetic tapes. Some of them are digital on tape and some of them are classic analog tape based video creations. That collection of work includes two movies that were filled a long time ago, but were never fully edited together. It might be fun to work on editing them together. With my new writing endeavor making the team to edit video that is more than decade old is probably just an indulgent project vs. something that would push things forward.

Format changes have really made huge changes in digital content. My original Sony camcorder recorded on Hi8 tapes or something analog. I’m not entirely sure that those original tapes can even be played back these days. A Sony camcorder is sitting on the top shelf of my bookshelf. To the best of my recollection that camcorder plays digital tapes. Maybe this week I will find a few minutes to figure that one out for sure. I vaguely remember having to hook up a firewire card to pull content off my digital camcorder. That will probably require both finding a firewire card and locating a firewire cable. My 4K Storm Stryker system does not really have or use firewire. That standard has not been a part of my computer setup in years.

It turned out that 2 camcorders are sitting on the shelf. They were really high up in the air and getting to them is going to require carrying the ladder inside from the garage. It is possible based on the video quality of smartphones that those are the last camcorders that I will ever purchase. I took a couple of minutes and searched for camcorders online. It seems most people are actually using cameras to take video. It seems that vlogger have started using DSLR with and without mirrors to take 4K video. Maybe things will get shaken up again and 4K will go to 8K or maybe even 10K video quality this year.

During the end of 2017 I really did start to see people buying 4K televisions from places like Best Buy, Costco, and other box stores. It is generally pretty obvious that people are buying televisions. The current ones being sold are over 60 inches. That type of television size requires a little bit of planning to move around from the store to home.

Topic 2: Season 11 of the X-Files

At some point last year, I know season 10 of the X-Files happened or something to that effect. After watching the first episode of season 11 of the X-Files I’m not entirely sure that I remember watching the last season. It must have been on in the background and it was not memorable or I don’t exactly remember it. The first episode of season 11 was a little jarring. Things have certainly changed from season one to season 11.

Topic 3: Today has enough time for one more major writing session

My routines have changed in some meaningful ways in the last week. Pretty much every spare moment that I have has spent writing. Last week my writing output should have been much longer, but some things slowed me down. I read an article about a writer that uses a dictation program instead of a keyboard to increase writing output. That is something that I tried a couple years ago. At the time the Dragon dictation software was not accurate enough to make the speed increase worth it. So many transcription errors occurred that it took me forever to edit the content back into a presentable form. Writing on keyboard produces decent prose from the first pass. Most of the editing that has to be done is just cosmetic grammar errors.

I’m sure that dictation software has improved and maybe it is time to get it a shot again. Maybe at some point this year that is something that I will try out as part of my efforts to write 1,000,000 words in the same year. Maybe this is the post where I will take the time to write down my writing tips for getting the most of a writing session. The things that work for me may very well not work for anybody else. My primary method of writing involves sitting down in front of the keyboard and engaging in stream of consciousness type writing. Sharing some legitimate writing tips may be a subject to tackle for another day.

This effort to write 1,000,000 words is pretty much my, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.” Maybe my writing skills are not on par with Robert Pirsig, but my year long inquiry into values through writing 3,000 words per day could help me improve as a writer. Maybe that is the answer to any questions about why it would be a good idea to strive toward writing 1,000,000 words in a year. The answer would be as straightforward as my inquiry into values and examining the world around me. Maybe tonight after I finish writing 3,500 words for the day I’ll read a few pages of Zen. In terms of the books on my shelves Zen probably has the most wear and tear of any book I own. Maybe later I will snap a photo of that book and use it as a thumbnail for a weblog post. That post will probably include a ton of words about the book and what it has meant to me over the years. Right now I’m not producing a high enough quality of prose to tackle that incredibly meaningful subject.

Later however when it comes time to look back on this endeavor and where it ends up in terms of having a big writing year that last paragraph may end up being the cornerstone of everything that gets put together this year. I’m very curious to see how well this ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P holds up throughout my big year.

Topic 4: Writing that extra 500 words to catch up today

I’m thinking about getting a haircut tomorrow. At some point this week my regular YouTube broadcasts need to start up again. Live streaming was a regular part of my routine for several months last year. I’m going to try to engage in both creating videos and writing 3,000 words per day. However, if a choice has to be made, then that choice will be to error on the side of writing vs. creating video. Last year I spent some time trying to figure out how to vlog and how to live stream. It was a lot easier to live stream content at 4K quality than to create a daily vlog. Remembering to capture clips throughout the day and editing them all together was interesting, but it eventually got a little bit old and I moved to live streaming instead. Part of writing every day is about finding a voice and being willing to truly engage topics in a meaningful way. Some of it is just writing for the sake of writing and getting used to that type of sustained mental activity. The physical strain of writing for hours seems to be manageable. I try to stay in a relaxed position and avoid any type of strain. At the end of the year we will see how things are going. I’m assuming that this ASUS Chromebook C101P will give out before I cannot physically write anymore. After a week of mostly writing on this Chromebook it felt a little strange to go back to my Microsoft natural ergonomic keyboard 4000 for business. I have the wired model of the keyboard and it works just fine.

Topic 5: Mobile data rates are the worst

Technological advancements abound. We live in a time where the intersection of technology and modernity is rapidly approaching. Mobile data rates are still widely frustrating for millions of people. Advancements in wireless data transmission should begin to change the game. At some point, mobile data rates have to go from being the worst parts of wireless contracts to being a thing of the past. Maybe the internet is going to become increasingly costly, but I had hoped that it would keep becoming easier and easier to use and access. Most of the use cases related to streaming and using the internet like a television are highly data intensive. For the most part, my access to high speed internet has not changed in the last five years. I should probably learn more about the infrastructure reasons that was true.

Tonight John Paul managed to download a gigabyte of Netflix shows using a mobile network. Oddly enough this did not involve watching Netflix the shows were just downloading in the background to the phones memory. All of that happened due to somebody learning how to download shows to watch offline and thinking that was a fantastic thing to do. If it had happened over the home internet, then we probably would not have noticed. Having it happen over the mobile internet sent off some alarm bells in the form of mobile data alerts.

I’m closing in on writing 3,500 words today. That is both interesting and exciting. This type of writing output involved three different writing sessions. First, an early morning writing sessions that was not all that productive, but did kick off writing process. Second, a mid day writing session that happened to line up with the kids naptime. That second writing session is where the bulk of the writing occured. Third, this evening writing sessions while Kaylee is going to sleep seems to be just rounding out the day. I could sit and write for another hour or more, but sleep is probably inevitable at this point.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker Custom Build and ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

P.S. Tomorrow may very well be the first day of the new year that my office will be clean. A lot of traveling around and being very busy have created a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up. Things have gotten piled all over the place and they need to be sorted out. Cleaning my office is not exactly something that happens on a regular basis. It happens on a semi-regular cycle that is spawned by a random series of unfortunate events. Most of the time a pile of some sort falls over and that triggers the cycle.

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

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.

Day 7 a solid weeks worth of observations about writing 3K WPD

2018: Day 7 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 16,843 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

I went back through my week of epic writing weblog posts and added an opening to each day. The last seven days have been epic. Now that you have been able to enjoy a solid week of lengthy weblog posts I am sure that you are ready to truly enjoy 2018. That new weblog post opening sequence includes the day of the challenge and an approximate word count. At some point along the journey to 1,000,000 words written in 2018 I’m going to figure out or write an automated plugin that counts the words for me. That seems like a good use of my coding skills. Maybe some type of writing plug exists that will show daily writing statistics or something that effect. I’m sure some other writers are looking for daily writing statistics within their weblogs.

Today was the day I finally opened up and played my 25th anniversary edition 180 gram vinyl pressing of R.E.M.’s album Out of Time. Throughout all of my efforts to update my posts with interesting statistics about my journey the album Out of TIme was playing. For those of you who may not be aware I picked up an audio-technica AT-LP60 stereo turntable that connects to my Audioengine A5+ Premium Powered Speakers. That configuration has worked well enough for listening to music for the last few years. Sure better turntables exist these days. The number of really awesome and epic models has exploded recently. This one works well enough for my needs. At some point I might upgrade, but that is probably going to happen any time soon.

My Audioengine A5+ speakers have been great. They provide audio with a clearly defined right channel and a clearly defined left channel. Most of my records were recorded with just two channels in mind. Some folks call that stereo. To that end it seemed like a good idea to setup my office sound system with just two desktop speakers that were ready to bring audio joy to my life. At one point that was a continuous playlist from my Warren Zevon seeded Pandora station, but lately it has been a mix of full digital album plays and vinyl records.

Topic 1: Today’s scenic thumbnail image

Those algorithms over at the Google Photos server made a stylized black and white photo from one of the downtown San Antonio photos I took. That photo seemed decent enough and was chosen as the thumbnail for the weblog post today. One of the real challenges hidden within my march toward writing 3,000 words per day is picking good featured images for my weblog post and social media thumbnail. Taking a really good photo that captures the essence of each day is going to be a serious challenge. Years ago my random photo taking skills were nearing epic proportions. They were really good. These days I just don’t manage to pull my phone out and snap random photographs in the same ways. Briefly the idea of using a selfie each day crossed my mind, but that however was quickly rejected.

Topic 2: keeping up with 3,000 words per day on the weblog is hard

Please keep in mind that I write way more than 3,000 words per day. Between Microsoft Office products, emails, chat sessions, and random social media posts my output far exceeds my 3,000 words per day target. Those words however will never grace my weblog screen. That means that keeping with a true 3,000 words per day in a weblog publishable format is going to be hard. My overall goal is to focus on writing 1,000,000 words on this weblog in the same year. That year being 2018. The daily target to help me achieve that 2018 goal is 3,000 words per day.

I watched yet another Andertons Music Company YouTube video. This one happened to be titled, “Blackstar 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Amps.” That probably slowed down my word output for the day by just a little bit. Certainly that has to wholesale be Rob’s fault. Writing on my main computer is a little bit different. I’m using a 34 inch monitor with my word processor on the right half and the aforementioned YouTube video playing on the left half of the monitor. You may be wondering how the audio is getting from the computer to my Audioengine A5+ speakers. That digital to analog conversion is happening via an Audioengine D1 24-bit DAC/Headphone AMP. Seriously, I never thought a digital to analog converter would make a difference, but it does. At some point when inspiration strikes I will try to provide a more articulate full throated explanation of D1, but today is not that day.

Topic 3: A Kansas City Chiefs home playoff game

Today is the day Kansas City will be hosting a home playoff game. This year I got to attend a home Kansas City Chiefs game. The Kansas City Chiefs played the Miami Dolphins. It was cold. Arrowhead stadium was pretty much the same place I remember visiting as a kid. Kansas City really does have a great setup for driving to games and parking with relative ease. Going to a game in Denver is a lot wilder proposition. Parking is harder and you cannot really see the same type of tailgating that you see in Kansas City.

Today should be a very interesting. We will be making nachos. Based on some nachos I got in San Antonio. They had an interesting mix of toppings including chips, a cheese sauce, some type of microgreens, sliced black olives, sall avocado pieces, pickled jalapeno slices, very thin fresh radish slices, and slices of cherry tomatoes. Today I will be making the same type of nachos during the Kansas City Chiefs game. Maybe I will compare my nachos to the photo taken of my San Antonio nachos. That sounds like a brilliant case for a side by side comparison.

This morning involved some housekeeping. Dry cleaning was picked up. Christmas lights were taken down. At some point, I’m going to take down the Christmas tree. Taking the tree down is pretty easy and should probably happen before we watch the Chiefs game today. The tree disembles into about 5 pieces. They fit into this very large bag. Seriously, the bag is pretty heavy. Next year we may switch back to a live tree.

The game is about to start. Most of the professional pundits seem to think Kansas City has good shot at defeating the Tennessee TItans. I’m getting ready to watch the game eat some nachos.

Topic 4: Gearing up to take action

The Christmas tree has been taken down. I believe it is a General Electric pre-lit Christmas tree from Costco. It was heavy. All of the pieces have been taken apart and are in a giant red bag. That bag is now in the basement. That tree will probably spend the majority of the year in the giant red bag in the basement. You will at some point be able to look at the book end weblog posts that describe putting up the tree and taking down the tree. We will be able to see if putting up the tree is more exciting than taking it down. That is probably the case, but I seem to be blocking out how the tree got up the stairs last year.

It was a process to gear up to take down the tree. That process involved eating lunch and storing up just enough motivation to jump in and take care of the tree. Getting to that point was not very easy. I had to gear up to taking action. Staying positive is very important. Staying real time and keeping things off the to do list is very important. That is why having to gear up to take action was so much troubling.

My outlook on things is firmly grounded in the idea of staying positive. Enjoying life and having fun is about staying positive and having fun. That might sound simple enough to read, but it is also pretty simple to say. It remains a little bit harder to think about. Staying positive and keeping a positive outlook might take a little bit of effort at first. After some time you might just find that staying positive will transition into just being positive.

Topic 5: Hope and the NFL playoffs

Unlike some folks I’m not mad at the NFL this year. Like most Kansas City Chiefs fans I am hopeful that they will do well in the playoffs. That slump in the middle of the year did not inspire confidence in the team, but every playoff game is a chance to move on. A home game is an even better shot at moving on in the playoffs. I’m still surprised that Andy Reid asked the fans to stop tailgating a little bit early and ensure the stadium was full at kick off. It does appear that they gave out some type of towel to the fans for the game. My new Xbox One S support 4K, but my TV and my cable provider do not support 4K broadcast content. Apparently, my cable provider has some limited content on a Television based application that only runs on Samsung and maybe a few LG televisions. They call it the Ultra HD Sampler App. To me it is just a pile of disappointment.

Let’s consider for a moment the primary use cases for how people will consume 4K content. First, people are buying 4K televisions. They were all over the seasonal holiday advertisements and I personally witnessed them flying off the shelves at Costco this year. Second, people are starting to get smartphones, tablets, and other devices that support very high resolutions. Third, a number of folks have desktop computers capable of displaying 4K content. None of those use cases have been enough to motivate the cable company to start delivering 4K content in a meaningful way. I see a number of advertisements about satellite based 4K channel delivery.

We are more likely to go internet only than to subscribe to satellite television again. We cut the cord and went internet only for several years. That was fine. We had a TiVo and it recorded over the air content. I’m sure TiVo has gotten much better at being a content hub since my cord cutting days. A quick search of my weblog told me that the last time I mentioned TiVo was 2012. It looks the first references happened during 2011. I may do some searches on my collective works to see if anything shows up. To the best of my recollection we liked having TiVo. It worked pretty well and I remember liking it.

It does appear that my TiVo box is still in the basement hanging out in a box. Maybe at some point I’ll bring it upstairs and get it plugged in. I’m sure the modern boxes are much better, but it would be interesting to see what is still saved on it. It would be like a digital time capasle of pure nonsense.

Topic 6: Taking the time to edit all these posts

Writing and producing prose has been my primary goal this week. Taking the time to read through my posts and edit them as not been my primary focus. Now that I’m sitting here watching the Kansas City Chiefs and reflecting on things that stood out to me. Sometimes sitting down and watching a good game can help me focus. Nothing helps clear my mind like two hours of focusing in and out of an NFL game. It has been a long time since watching a game without interruption from start to finish was an option. That pretty much extends to all of my time these days. I can break out a few hour and half hour blocks.

Editing something takes a little bit of perspective. That normally starts to develop several hours after writing something. Writing and editing the same prose in on session is problematic. Sometimes that same sentence with a grammatical error will seem ok during the same writing session, but the next day I could correct it. Right now my writing efforts have yielded about 15,441 words so far. That is actually a little bit behind schedule. Seven days at 3,000 words per day would equal out to 21,000 words. You may have deduced that I need to have a little 5,559 word burp of productivity to catch up here today for the week. That may require picking a topic that inspired a little writing passion and going with it.

Topic 7: Just going with it — My thoughts on getting an education

I’m sitting here trying to figure what what topic could anchor this week with a 5,000 word explosion of productivity. Those couple days of allergies in Texas did slow me down just a little bit. This will be a good lesson for the rest of the year. It is better to keep up with the 3,000 word writing goal each day vs. having to work really hard to catch up. Based on my list of writing topics that has been appended to the bottom of each post now would be the time to write about my thoughts on higher education.

My thoughts on getting an education

Trying to give somebody feedback on getting an education is a tricky topic to tackle. My honest thoughts on education are that you get out of it what you put into it. That might sound simplistic, but it is really my attempt at sharing an absolute truth. Say for example that you take an introduction to public administration class. That class is either going to use a textbook or have a guided journey through a syllabus full of classic citations. Either way you are going to have a chance to absorb a lot of information and learn about the field of public administration. Somebody who attends all the lecture and skims the reading materials will probably move through the course like most of the students in any college course. Somebody who does not attend any of the lectures, but takes the time to really read and understand every word of the source materials will probably have a rock solid command of the material.

That is basically how learning works. You get out of it what you put into it. Some folks will get a college education and will go on to a career. They might look back and thing that they could have gotten more out of certain classes or they could have gotten more out of the experience. I did not really start taking my classes seriously until graduate school. You might have read that last sentence and frowned. As a truly reflective practitioner I spend time thinking about what could have been done better. That is always a great question. You don’t want to spend all your time second guessing or breaking things down, but it is healthy to spend a certain amount of time thinking that way. I could have absorbed a lot more information during my undergraduate years.

I did not really pick a direction and start moving toward it until later in my college career. That is really the crux of my thoughts on education and getting an education. I look at it based on two key factors. First, handling the process of getting an education. Second, figuring out what all of that education is going to do for you as you move forward into a career. A lot of professions require a certain amount of education and that forms the basis of a career. Going to school and getting an education to enter a certain profession is a lot safer a course of action than getting an education and trying to plot a career after graduation. Think about that proposition for just a second. Seriously, beginning with the end in mind and working toward that goal is always an easier value proposition to justify.

Topic 8: The Chiefs 2nd half

During the first half things seemed to be going well. People in Kansas City were happy and the game seemed in hand. Maybe things did not go well at halftime. Throughout the start of the 2nd half things have gone poorly for the Kansas City Chiefs. Marcus Mariota just passed the ball to Marcus Mariota via a deflection for a touchdown in a playoff game. That happened. Travis Kelce has also been ruled out. Those two things happening are probably enough to make the 11 point lead seem suspect. We will see if the Kansas City Chiefs can stand up to some adversity and play defense while focusing on running the ball.

Now the Chiefs have gone 3 and out… they need to focus. Somebody from the Tennessee Titans special teams just ran into the punter. Oh no… a phantom offsetting penalty… here we go again with the punt. Wow that was an amazing turn of events… the punt was fumbled and recovered by the Kansas City Chiefs. This game has gotten rather exciting. I may sit here and react to the rest of the game. It has been a long time since i went with a sporting event live blog. People still do live blogs of things, but it seems to be something that peaked a long time ago. Now it seems that people would be more likely to react to a sporting event by sending out a tweet storm. That Chiefs field goal attempt that just hit the bar will be inspiring tweets from people for the next hour. That wave of social media interactions is about to unfold.

The Chiefs are probably going to have to abandon the running game and move to a short passing based offense. Only 2 minutes are left until the 4th quarter, but the game seems to have really had a swing. Even the Arrowhead stadium crowd is a little hesitant. Everybody has moved into the main television room here in the house. We are all just hoping that Kansas City has a few defensive stands here and close out the game.

I’m pretty much in the write about what happens mode. That pretty much means that I will be writing about the things that catch my interest and are happening around me. Oh that last touchdown rushing play by the Tennessee Titans just made things very interesting. They had an illegal shift during the 2 point attempt and that penalty just got declined. The Kansas City Chiefs are up by 5 in the 4th quarter protecting a lead during a playoff home game. Nobody can say the game is not interesting.

To mix things up I just fed the dogs. This game is getting wild. Both Captain Pickles and Peppercorn were ready for dinner. At the veterinarian clinic today Captain Pickles weighed in at just under 50 pounds. Soon enough our puppy will stop growing so rapidly, but probably not for another few months. The Chiefs just failed to convert on a 3rd down and 2 yards to go play. This next drive will be very interesting. This is playoff football in the National Football League. This drive with 10:00 minutes to test the Chiefs defense.

Timeout with just under 7 minutes left in the game. My Chromebook battery has run out of charge. I’m now just texting this on my phone. Writing on my phone is much slower, bit that is ok. This game has been stressful. Tennessee scored and went for 2 and failed. The Chiefs are now down 22 to 21 with more than 6 minutes left. This game went from potential blowout to very competitive. I wanted the rest of the game. It was like watching a balloon full of hope deflate every so slowly. This may have been the game where the hope people had for the franchise faded away.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker Custom Build using Google Docs

P.S. As this week comes to a close it would be good to take a moment and recognize how important writing with a purpose is writing quality prose. My goal for next week will be to change directions and start working toward writing about one solid topic for 3,000 words a clip. That may take a little bit more planning and a lot more focus. Part of this entire exercise is focused on improving my overall writing skills. That is something that will pay dividends on a go forward basis. Part of what I want to accomplish is developing a more fluid and conversation writing tone that can span several pages of contained purposeful prose. That I believe is something reasonable to accomplish within a year. You could sum it up within a simple proposition related to writing better essays.

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.

Day 6 of my 3K WPD journey included some observations about traveling

2018: Day 6 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 13,324 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Standing at the gate getting ready to board an airplane my name got called out. Naturally, I was looking around trying to figure out who was looking for, “Dr. Lindahl.” Turned out the folks over at United Airlines made me a note. It was a handwritten thank you for being a member of the rewards program for 5 years. It was surprising. Probably not entirely necessary, but I appreciated that somebody took the time to write me a hand written thank you note. Maybe hand written thank you notes are not as common as they used to be. This one was just a few sentences on a piece of cardboard, but it did make me smile and appreciate the folks at United Airlines. They got a shout out on the weblog today #myUAMoment. I’m not sure if you can use a hashtag in the middle of a weblog post, but that happened.

The other day I was complaining about some noise from my Bose Qc35 headphones during a flight. Yeah — I’ll admit it must have been user error. The background noise was from the air jet that had become pointed right at one of my ears. Now that I have had the time to think about it the error condition was pretty obvious. Maybe I was tired at the time and logic was not being used to actively engage in problem resolution. This flight is pretty full. I’m on another one of these United Express Embraer ERJ175 regional jets. My final review on the airplane is that the seats are not comfortable. Maybe that is all part of the plan to get you to upgrade to the more comfortable first class seats at the front of the airplane.

Wow — I just realized that the entire post from my last trip to Chicago never got posted to the weblog. A huge gap exists in posts from December 5, 2017 to December 30, 2017. That gap is actually full of a tone of really epic and interesting writing that apparently did not make it online. That happens sometimes. You can imagine that it is engaged prose that talks to the reader and presents useful and interesting observations. They apparently were destined to be shared only with the cloud. Maybe a content spider within the cloud read them or at least virus checked the documents. I’m half tempted to just cut and paste that 2 hour epic into this post, but we will not have any of that nonsense on the march to writing 1,000,000 words this year.

Maybe I am just more sensitive to it these days but ever flight seems to be more turbulent. This flight has had a couple spurts of turbulence that actually stopped me from writing for a few moments. I cannot lock in and look at the screen when things are bouncing all over the place. My ability to write just about anywhere under any condition continues despite the turbulence. These words need to be written in this word processing document so they can be shared online. At this very moment the sun is just over the cloud edge on the horizon. I would have taken a picture of it and used it as the thumbnail for this weblog post, but digital cameras are horrible at taking pictures into the sun. That last little bit of turbulence was almost jaring. I’ll try to load a picture of the clouds in the middle of this post. That may or may not turn out well within the weblog post. For the most part my weblog entries do not feature very many photographs or videos. Back when all of this started some of my posts were entirely digital pictures.

During the course of loading all my digital photos into my Google Photos account I realized that some of the older ones were taken at a pretty poor resolution. A decade ago, the resolution seemed to be cutting edge. It was the best available at the time. Camera phones were even worse back. Digital cameras have come a long way. A decade from now they probably won’t even talk about digital photos. Everything will be memory based vs. still images. People will just call up the exact memory or share the memory with others. Imagine the day when you will get an email with a memory in it. That assumes that email will still be a thing. Things could just evolve into users and the omnipresent cloud. Content in whatever form it takes would go from user to user or user to a storage location.

That almost devolved into a futurist essay about the nature of how we share images and memories. At some point, that is probably something that you will get to read about. This year could be the year that happens for you here on this weblog. Marching toward writing 1,000,000 words in the same year pretty much means that any and all topics that even remotely interest me are going to receive a huge amount of coverage.

Flickr is one of parts of my digital photography journey that I actually miss. At the very start, it was a great place to share photos. Everybody who I subscribed to had really great content that was inspiring or at least caught my attention. It was a community of interest built around a general love of photography and sharing images. Like many things that were associated with Yahoo something changed and I lost interest in the platform. My account was deactivated after the major Yahoo account breach. That company floundered in ways that will be dissected by business students in classrooms for at least 100 years. A lot of companies grew and built out huge online communities only to fade away.

All of my weblog posts are hosted on my own domain and they will exist for as long as the bill keeps getting paid. After that only the word that are picked up in online archives or published in weighty tomes will make it. Some really vibrant communities existed within Yahoo and AOL environments. Those communities of interest came together and eventually faded. I’m not sure if they accomplished anything amazing or if they pushed society forward by strengthening the very fabric of civil society, but they did exist and then they disappeared.

Making a contribution to the academy remains a goal of mine. Only significant contributions to the academy influence academics for years, decades, and even longer. Maybe the greatest contributions to our understanding of philosophy have already occured. It is also possible that the door is still open to make a contribution that spans time and influences things beyond our current political differences. Being strategic involves moving beyond tactics. Being timeliness timeless could involve moving beyond even strategy. It come involve changing the way the game is played. That about that one for a moment. I’m just going to ring the bell on this paragraph and move on to the first topic of the day.

Topic 1: Mountain cedar allergies are the worst

My trip to San Antonio started off at the same time as a cold front. New years this year was cold. Things toward the end of the week started to warm up. It happened rather gradually. Based on how I feel right now whatever Mountain cedar is it can stay in Texas. I thought maybe that a cold was coming on this morning, but I’m pretty sure it is just an allergy to Mountain cedar or something else in the Texas air. Google does not agree with my assessment a card popped up to notify me that people with seasonal allergies should be ok in San Antonio today. It will be really easy to conduct a simple A vs. B test on this one. Tomorrow we will see if my allergies are still going wild at home in Denver. Oddly enough I had never really heard of Mountain cedar. I suppose it is a real thing. A couple of quick Google searches pretty much confirm that it brings sadness to people with allergies to it every year. We learn new things every day and that happens to be what I learned about today.

Topic 2: Yes I listened to the new Taylor Swift album today

My musical tastes are somewhat eclectic. My two primary XM radio stations are Lithium and Octane. Grunge and alternative music from the 1990’s make up the bulk of what I have listened to over the years. Sure rock and metal were a part of it and I listened to a lot of fusion guitar from Steve Vai, Eric johnson, and Joe satriani. My vinyl record collection is full of Warren Zevon, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton. My go to music over the last few years has been pulled from the complete works of Warren Zevon and a Pandora channel inspired by Warren Zevon tracks. All of that said… was that enough background to jump in and admit that my phone right now has a copy of Taylor Swift’s latest album Reputation.

You made it this far into the post I’m sure you will keep reading on and enjoy for a moment that during this flight I listened to the entire album from start to finish. Taylor is so popular that I’m probably not the only person to listen to the album on this flight. Taylor writes really interesting lyrics. I’m pretty sure that just like Dolly Parton has been a prolific songwriter Taylor Swift will fall into the same camp of writing songs a ton of songs people listen to for decades. If you are not clear on that Dolly Parton reference, then you might be surprised to find out that Dolly has written more than 3,000 songs. I’m not going to cite a reference on that one. You will just have to trust me on it or engage in some adventurous Googling.

A fun bonus fact for you today since you made it so far into this post… my go to album for airplane takeoff relaxation is by Tears For Fears. It happens to be the album, “Shout: The Very Best of Tears for Fears.” It starts out with the song Mad World. I have listened to at least part of that album during every flight for years. It sounds pretty good using my new Bose Qc35 wireless noise cancelling headphones.

Topic 3: Night time flights

Over the last few years, I have taken a ton of early morning and night time flights. Very few of my flights have been in the middle of the day. They are either at the start or the end of the day. That just seems to be how things work out. People generally keep to themselves the earlier or later it gets on a flight. Just now during this flight the sun is finally disappearing beyond the end of the clouds on the horizon. More turbulence has yet again disrupted my typing. This flight has been bumpy. My new ASUS Flip C101P Chromebook has doing very well during the flight. I did forget to turn down the screen brightness. Now that things are getting darker it became pretty obvious that the screen brightness was all the way up. Even a Chromebook will suffer battery drain from supporting 100% screen brightness.

Topic 4: Burst writing

One of the main drawbacks of burst writing is that it is great for generating paragraphs. Long form writing ends to string together a few paragraphs. That means that each one cannot be completely separate from the next or it will probably befuddle and annoy the reader. Sometimes writing just happens in bursts. An idea arrives and all of a sudden a paragraph shows up. If that paragraph can link into the next, then you are starting to engage in the fine art of writing. It might turn out to be an essay or maybe even the next great novel. My words are mostly written for myself.

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

P.S. My goal for next week is to spend some time writing on my treadmill. I have a walking desk treadmill setup that allows me to walk and type at about 1 mile an hour. Maybe some exercise will help push my writing to the next level.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— My thoughts on getting an education
— 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.

Welcome to the fifth day of my 3K per day writing journey

2018: Day 5 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 11,182 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Right now in this moment my will to write is limited. Sometimes getting started is as simple as opening my Chromebook and starting at a blank word processing document for a few minutes. Today was one of those weird days. Things felt a little bit rushed. They felt a little bit out of sorts. Traveling for such long periods of time can take a toll on you. I’m thinking about getting my bag packed. For a few minutes today I started searching the Timbuk2 website for large size command messenger bags. My current bag is a medium size messenger bag. Everything fits into the bag, but I’m pretty much at the limit. Throughout this trip the bag has been full.

Without question I have been happy with my last two Timbuk2 messenger bags. I even purchased one for Joni. Running out of space is really a function of the gear I travel with constantly increasing. Writing using my Asus Flip C101P Chromebook has been pretty easy. Charging with the USB Type-C cable has made things much easier. The screen seems to be nicer and the overall device runs smoother. I could really tell a difference when watching video on Netflix. Before starting this writing session I wrote down 5 topics to cover on a piece of paper. That is probably going to be a key part of my writing journey this year. Naturally, it would be easy to sit down and write a series of 3,000 word open letters. Each one would probably stand alone, but that would not help build a rock solid narrative that would be interesting enough to sustain my writing journey throughout 1,000,000 words.

Maybe it will be easy to sustain a format that involves opening with a few paragraphs and then moving into a series of 5 topic based vignettes. That type of rigor will help break down the writing effort into manageable chunks each day. My goal for this first week as to really get into the practice of daily writing. It is much easier to sit down and ponder things. Even talking out loud sometimes feels easier than sitting down to write long form prose. For me it is about getting into a solid and sustained writing mode where my thoughts are easily translated to a written form. Maybe it should be effortless and free flowing. That happens from time to time. It is amazing just how much fun it is to engage in pure free form writing.

Today was one of those days that just a few moments of being creative is enough to shake things up. It is possible that sorting this year of prose autobiographically is a nod to the movie High Fidelity (2000). That realization came to me today in the middle of writing this epic paragraph of stand along prose. This work of prose really is intended to be read from start to finish just as it was written from start to finish from January to December of the same year. This could very well end up being the longest work of collected words I even end up putting together. I am highly competitive so it who knows if I would ever try to beat my previous big year writing goal. Setting a new personal best record for words created in a year seems reasonable. The reasonableness of the whole thing breaks down as you approach 1,000,000 words.

Topic 1: Wring for 30 minutes in pure silence

Ok. It has finally happened. The mute button on the television has been pressed. Sure the screen is still showing the news, but no sounds are being made. I can hear somebody next door doing something that sounds like picking things up and putting things down. Maybe they are packing or unpacking a suitcase. Outside my window the sounds of the city never really stop. Living downtown or staying downtown involves getting used to the sounds of the city. Traffic runs by and you can hear engines and other sounds. Sometimes sirens or horns pierce all of the other sounds to jump to the forefront of your thoughts. For me it is always the sounds of the wind that catch my attention. Focusing on the world around me is one of the reasons that listening to music or television helps me focused. It helps ground me to the moment and it helps me stay in my writing zone.

Something about absolute silence mixed with a soundtrack of a busy city have always caused my mind to wonder. Daydreaming in the middle of a writing sessions is inherently problematic and leads to disjointed and otherwise useless prose. Producing an endless string of thoughts could really drive us in any direction. That is the pure joy of writing. You can think about or imagine anything and bring it to life on the page. I’m waiting until after the 7th day of my 2018 writing project to start brining any short stories into the fold. I felt like the first 20,000 words should be devoted to the process of ramping up my writing routine.

Ugh. I just stopped writing to check my email for a minute or two. That did not need to happen. I should have stayed focus on the task at hand. That task is to produce 3,000 words for the day and pack my bag to go home. This week involved more travel than usual. In fact the extra travel days pushed me toward having to check a bag. That was actually a very good thing during my last flight. The overhead bin space on the airplane was highly limited. My regular Timbuk2 roller bag would not have fit. The bigger bag that I brought with me this would would not have come close to fitting. You may recall from some of my earlier notes this week that the airplane this week was truly uncomfortable. I’m hoping that maybe it was just the seat and that this next flight will be more comfortable.

You can squeeze a lot more out of 30 minutes of writing than you might think. Sit down and pick up your pen and try to write for thirty minutes straight. Getting used to typing for 30 minutes straight is really an interesting thing to figure out. This ASUS Flip C101P Chromebook has a decent keyboard, but the process of typing for 30 straight minutes can be taxing. You have to make sure you are sitting in a comfortable position and that you are not straining anything. Today most of this written session happened while laying down and staying completely still. I just had to remind myself not to pick up the remote and turn back on the volume. Distractions are very easy to encounter and awfully hard to avoid.

We are closing in on getting to the halfway point for the day and we are only on writing topic number one. That probably means that we will be able to hit the goal for today and still have some room for improvement. Deciding what to do with the time we have is a very important part of life. My commitment to spend a large part of my 2018 year writing is a conscious choice and something that I feel is very important. This topic did not hold my attention for 30 straight minutes.

Topic 2: I’m hopeful that during my flight inspiration will strike

Sometimes writing on an airplane can yield some good results. You really have to sit down and commit to writing. I throw on my Bose Qc35 wireless headphones and spin up some music. Keep in mind that for me listening to music is about experiencing an album from start to finish. I listen to the music in the way the artist intended in pure album form. That means I have about an hour or so to start typing aware before the music stops. Writing in one hour spurts can produce interesting prose. Most of the time in the past I have taken the time to collect my thoughts about life, the universe, and well everything. Those great deep think pieces are about trying to grab the universe by the soul and make sense out of everything.

From time to time writing on an airplane can be hard. Sometimes you just do not feel like writing. In those cases, I have found that working on producing segments of an article of non-fiction book to be a more reasonable thing to accomplish. That can be problematic without an active internet connection. My Chromebook does not contain my complete works in digital form. They are stored within the cloud. A cloud that is only accessible via an internet connection. Sometimes you just have to go old school and break out the pen and paper. My digital archives contain a number of half finished books, essays, and other works of non-fiction.

Some of them will one day get completed and some of them are just awful false starts that will apparently reside within the cloud. I did spend some time today thinking about the structure of posts on my weblog. They are presented in reverse chronological order from newest to oldest. That makes sense for a weblog, but it is the opposite way of how I intended this 1,000,000 writing effort to be consumed. Within my standard weblog structure people will always be exposed to the latest prose vs. being able to to start from the beginning. It will probably be prudent at some point during the process to present the content in the right way.

Writing one paragraph at a time seems to be how this night is going. I seem to be writing one good paragraph and pausing for a minute or two or getting distracted. That tells me that i’m not building toward a meaningful goal. Writing with a purpose might help guide my prose toward something that will deliver a meantiful message. At the moment that message seems to be that writing for two hours per day seems to produce a lot of content about writing for two hours per day. I’m sure that things will pick up as I get used to writing at this clip for a sustained period of time. Maybe by the end of next week I will have hit my stride and we will start work on writing either a collection of short stories of a book made up of lengthy 3,000 word chapters.

Topic 3: Figuring out 6:00 AM

My alarm went off 45 minutes ago. Things happened in the last 45 minutes. Writing was not one of those things. This cup of coffee sitting next to me is acceptable. The flavor is not outstanding, but it does not taste watered down or burnt. This room has a strange little table in front of the small 2 seat sofa. It probably is meant to replace the desk layout within the room with a sofa and working table configuration. That layout change makes sense. I wonder just how much time people spend sitting at desks in hotel rooms each day. This first part of my day always unfolds rather slowly. Coffee helps. I’m pretty much ready to go and on my way after defeating this first hour or so each day.

Here is what I have learned in 5 days of endeavoring to write 3,000 words per day. The first 1,000 words normally happen like they would have any other day of my writing career. From the 1,500 mark to the 2,000 word mark a slow down period occurs where things do not generally go very well or very quickly. My second wing from 2,000 words to whatever the day ends at seems to either happen effortless or to draft out. My writing output does seem to be very bimodal. It is either fast or slow, but I do not seem to have a gear in the middle between the two.

Topic 4: Writing a leadership book

Maybe this second cup of coffee is working. I’m already thinking about writing a leadership book this year. One of the things that I have been working on drafting involves a biographical pass of my college experience mixed with some of my thoughts on education in general. That may or may not be an interesting thing to work on next week. This week I spent some time thinking about a sketch of a leadership book. All of the data driven ways to manage a workforce came to the forefront in the last decade. Some newer insights related to more qualitative methods to review a workforce are starting to appear in dashboards and infographics. People can now mix together qualitative and quantitative key performance indicators with ease. The real question would be how people are using things generated by AI and big data to lead. I think that type of leadership will end up generating a new wave of leadership books. Mixing those kind of concepts and talking about how to deal with the current changes in the workforce and economy in general could produce some very interesting reads.

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

P.S. Today involved a lot of travel. Sometimes traveling helps inspire most excellent prose and other times it does not.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— My thoughts on getting an education
— 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.

Day 4 of working toward writing one million words this year

2018: Day 4 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 8,859 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Dinner tonight involved ordering a cheese pizza and an absolutely wonderful raspberry filled devil’s food cupcake. Seriously, it was wonderful. A few years ago we had tried to make Roberta’s Pizza Dough Recipe from The New York Times in our home kitchen. Tonight the pizza that was delivered must have had extra cheese on it. It was a surprisingly heavy pizza. The dough from the pizza reminded me of a much thicker Roberta’s pizza. Sometimes when you are hungry just the smell of a freshly delivered pizza can bring you joy. Tonight was one of those nights. From the very moment the pizza arrived and was taken out of some type of warming container it smelt fantastic. Three very large pieces of pizza were consumed in rapid fire. A fourth piece of pizza is still waiting in the box to be eaten. Soon or later it will probably be the final part of dinner.

Before that last piece of pizza became the focus of my dinner journey a cupcake may or may not have been consumed. It arrived in a funny cardboard box. With just a little bit of effort the top of the box came off. Sliding the top of the box to the side of my tray happened almost without any thought about it. Both side flaps released and the box opened up to allow you to grab the cupcake. It was billed as a raspberry filled devil’s food cupcake. That description turned out to be true. I cut it in half and enjoyed one half straight away before returning my focus to my last slice of pizza. Sometimes a really filling and exciting dinner is enough to help me relax and begin the writing process. Without question you should be able to tell if it helped based on the last two paragraphs.

Tonight was going to be a night that included a pizza and a movie. A quick pass through the channels on the television opened the door to maybe watching Tin Cup or trying to find something else to have on in the background. Most of my writing sessions have some type of soundtrack. It might be a movie or maybe just some music. Writing without any noise or distraction does not happen very often. Maybe it would be an interesting experiment for me eliminate all distractions and write in complete silence for an evening. It has probably been more than a decade since that type of writing session occurred.

Most of my days and most of my time are filled with some type of noise. My time seems to be filled with things happening. Taking the time to meditate in absolute silence has not really interested me. Instead of silence I would rather listen to an album from start to finish or maybe even just turn on the television. Given some time for reflection that need for noise really does seem to be consistent. We do have to take the time to be reflective practitioners and think about how we want to execute our craft. We have to make a decision about how we went to move forward. The decision to strive forward should be something that receives a proper amount of consideration.

Instead of engaging in a proper amount of reflection my thoughts wondered to what it would take to hand carve a guitar. Building custom guitars has always been something that caught my attention. It predates even my need to surf the internet for new computers. Carving a guitar body by hand is probably something that I could do this year. Trying to carve a guitar neck would require a certain amount of more advanced skills. That said it would probably be possible to buy a guitar neck and carve a custom guitar body. For some reason that type of effort really does seem to come to the forefront of my thoughts. It would probably be a better strategy to spend my time reflecting on writing with purpose.

We have reached day four in the long journey toward writing 1,000,000 words in 2018. At a clip of 3,000 words per day that means that each work my writing target would be 21,000 words per week. That is larger than the minimum average words per week required to hit 1,000,000 words per year. One million divided by 52 comes out to about 19,230.77. This week I am on track to hit my targets and while that is a good thing it has also opened my eyes to just how difficult the journey will be this year.

Topic 1: Understanding the art of meaningful conversation

People talk to people every day. Taking the time to have a very real and meaningful conversation sometimes seems like a lost art. This is not a treatus about mining for conserational treasure. This batch of prose provides an inquiry into what it takes to engage in meaningful conversations with people. For the most part it takes a certain amount of time and energy to engage in the art of meaningful conversations. Sometimes it is much easier to sit down and write long form prose vs. trying to talk to somebody for more than 10 minutes. It feels like people are getting busier and busier. Sometimes I think that social media is breaking down long form communication.

Throughout my efforts to write 3,000 words per day this week I have developed a method for setting up my weblog posts. I pretty much set up the shell of the weblog post and continue to push in more content throughout the day. The post has a scheduled time and I have been tinkering with it up until the time it publishes. I spent some time this week trying to figure how to graphically show my writing output per year. It might be an interesting graph. At some point, that is probably be built ut as a live graphic.

Consider for a moment the principle units of communication in the workplace. Two units of communication that are pervasive are email and meetings. Both of these units of communication constrain how people exchange information by time or format. People do not want to sit and read ridiculously long emails. Brevity in the fine art of workplace communication tends to carry the day. Meetings constrain communication based on time. Really complex or difficult discussions take time. They may require more than one engagement and they may require a lot of back and forth. I would argue that people do not really have the time to engage in truly substantive meaningful dialogue anymore. Either a surface level agreement occurs on a direction or a directive is given to move forward, but the foundations beyond the surface level are not properly addressed to the point where all due consideration is complete.

Topic 2: Picking the right movie

Tonight I never managed to pick a movie to watch. It is now a little bit late in the evening to start watching a movie. Tonight would have had to be a Netflix night, but that did not happen. The number of movie channels here is pretty much limited to some HBO variations. It is amazing just how much video on demand changed my ability to pick the right movie for the night. Selection processes used to involve reviewing options and picking something that was on a channel. Beyond selection of a channel it would have been possible to put on a VHS, DVD, or eventually Blu-ray disc. Streaming and video on demand simply changed the delivery model for movie content forever. It really changed what it meant to pick the right movie.

To be honest it has caused a lot of lengthy search sessions. Some of the searches did not yield anything useful. They were just a waste of time. Given that most of the time I’m just turning on the television to have some noise in the background that is probably not a very efficient strategy. Sure the ultimate answer would just be to watch reruns of things like the X-Files, Northern Exposure, and Andromeda. That would constrain the search process and just help move things forward. It would also be a lot less interesting. Searching for new and interesting things is exciting.

Today was one of those days where the words were not flowing at a reasonable pace. It turns out that writing 3,000 words every day is a pretty big commitment. From time to time I have been known to produce a tremendous amount of words in a short period of time. Inspiration strikes and sometime that is enough to create something in a single writing session. Writing 3,000 words a day is about more than riding an occasional wave of inspiration. It is about finding a purposeful reason to write and engage in generating prose.

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

P.S. I’m working on sketching out some more topics for the year. My first few days of writing have been rather ad-hoc. At some point, I will need to start writing based on a roadmap of topics. It may be easier to start writing short stories. My ability to rapidly write short stories could help push my writing efforts forward this year. Sometimes writing non-fiction is harder than writing fiction. Other times the words are ready to jump onto the page and writing is going to happen either way.

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.

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.