Working on my short story writing skills one day at a time

Writing on my 34 inch monitor is not working very well for me today. That just might be an understatement. It is not working at all. Maybe getting back to basics and writing using my ASUS Flip C101P Chromebook will fix things. Perhaps having a screen that large is just making it hard to focus on the written word. This screen is about 10.1 inches with a resolution of only 1280×800. So far it seems to be working. Writing is happening. It is happening in a slow and somewhat stunted way, but it is starting to happen with a greater degree of depth and frequency. At some point during the course of this 30 minute writing session or typing on this keyboard my plan is to stop thinking and just open my mind the world being created. That pretty much means that today is going to veer off in the direction of a short story. Writing a whole novel (autocorrect had level instead of novel; that made me chuckle) seems so far away from where my thoughts are today, but maybe just maybe waxing philosophical about the snowflakes falling outside will inspire some type of short story. It will inspire some type of prose that could string together something into something interesting.

My fountain pen was at the ready. Now the keyboard has become my writing tool of choice. Outside my window it went from a bit of morning rain to dropping some very large snowflakes today. We shoveled the driveway twice today. The snowflakes are still falling and might continue doing that until late tonight. My thoughts for the briefest moment drifted to the idea of writing a novel about the concept or more boldly put bewildering process of being grown-up. It happens, but it is one of those things that make shows up without any fanfare and never really drifts away. It only brings more and more rules with it to form up a foundation of acceptable things. Distorted by my vision of the way things were being grown-up remains something that generally is hard to do. That just might be the central thesis of the rest of the words that would be written in this novel. As a premise it is not the worst way to start writing about things. Some things keep changing and a lot of things just sort of remain the same day after day.

Listening to a few more audiobooks

Today I listened to the last few minutes of the Moneyball audiobook on Google Play Books. Over the last couple months I have been listening to a ton of Michael Lewis books. Maybe it was the writing style that pulled me into this pattern or maybe it was the right content at the right time. During the course of searching to see if Michael Lewis had a Twitter account a thought stood out. It was the idea that maybe people avoid social media and just focus on writing every day are going to be more productive. That thought just stuck with me and I thought maybe productive people are just productive. More or less this was a thought derivative of the winners win principle. Writers tend to engage in the practice of writing. Some people are super productive and others are simply not going to ever achieve that degree of production.

Photo of an audiobook playing

Today I used DuckDuckGo

This year I’m going to stop using some of the Publicize features of WordPress. Specifically, I’m going to remove the links to the Twitter and Google+ services. For the most part that does not really do anything to the written word that will be published on a semi-regular basis. Removing the linkage to those two services will stop the need to set a featured image for the posts. That is actually one of the parts of the process that I needed to step away from in 2019 the most. Seriously, trying to take and post a photograph every day was harder than I had expected it to be. It was really tough to take a new and novel photograph every day. My daily routine is simply not that interesting. One of the things that I did change in my daily routine is the search engine that I am using. Today I used DuckDuckGo to search for a few things in my Chrome browser. It worked just fine and is something that I will keep doing.

Sharing a photo of a Denver sunrise

Earlier this morning I managed to snap a picture of the sunrise. It was fantastic and majestic (dare I say fanjestic?). The camera on my Google Pixel 3 XL does a pretty good job of capturing a moment, but it does not produce the type of depth and detail that a really amazing full size camera captures. Those amazing machine learning algorithms over at Google Photos did some magic to the base photograph. One of the photos shared below is stylized and the other is an enhancement. Both of the modifications look pretty darn good in my opinion. It is amazing to see what the machine learning algorithms are able to accomplish with a photograph. The real question is if the algorithm could be extended to make a decision about quality vs. numerically better. The algorithm that did the enhancement was designed to move the image from the original to something that would be considered enhanced. It was able to complete a transform that is numerically accepted as an improvement or at some level at least an acceptable alteration. None of that effort relates to a judgment of quality. None of it helps determine or explain why that transform improved the image.

Google stylized this photo of a sunrise in Denver
Google auto-enhanced this photo of a sunrise in Denver
The original photo of a sunrise in Denver

A full day of working in the Google Cloud Platform

Breakfast happened. Espresso shots were made. The movie Alien (2003) is playing with a few directors cut edits on the television. I have to say that today got off to a good start. I’m setup to sit and work for the next few hours without any planned interruptions or disturbances. The entire Alien quadrilogy is queued up to provide something in the background to help keep me focused. That might sound counterintuitive, but I work better with either some music or content on in the background. Sitting down and working in absolute silence is a recipe for my mind to start racing and for my attention to get pulled in a myriad of directions.

Things got real pretty quickly this morning. It just took a few moments to setup a new project called newsletter in my Google cloud Platform (GCP) account. Setting that new project up was probably going to be the easiest part of the whole process. The next little bit of time will be spent working on setting up a natural language processing neural network within my GCP project. My efforts today will be broken down into three areas: 1) setting up the neural network or maybe using the natural language API, 2) building a content ingestion method, and 3) starting work on developing the workflow necessary to ingest content, process that content in a meaningful way, and generate a newsletter based on that content. Writing all of that into one really long sentence made me realize just how much work is on tap today. All of the foundational things are already in place. Today will be able staying focused and putting things together in an ordered and thoughtful way.

Yeah —- I made some progress today, but my ambition outpaced my ability to build all of that in one day. In hindsight, I probably should have known better.