As with most years, I had hoped to start off 2023 with a flurry of new blog posts. Instead I caught Covid, which knocked me out for most of ‘betweenmas’ and put paid to my hopes for a productive start to the year. At the time of writing this post, I only just feel like I have begun to get back to ’normal’, or at least as normal as things have been since 2020.
I began writing this post after realising that it is the first of June and I might as well attempt once more to write a post every day. The speed with which the first of the month comes around, inviting another such promise, always amuses me. But at the moment I am not sure whether this blog will still exist come the end of the month. I think I want to start again in pastures new.
I decided to create my own deck of creativity cards. I was sick of all the adverts for similar products on Instagram. You know the kind. They’re covered in pictures, patterns, and buzzwords. You shuffle the cards and draw them one at a time. As you place each card on the table, the brain’s natural desire to tell stories, create patterns and produce meaning takes over.
I made a deck without too much thought for form or consequence.
This post explains some of the modifications I made to a minimal Jekyll theme to get this blog as I wanted it. This blog (currently) uses the excellent Sidey theme by Ronalds Vilciņš. His site looks eerily similar to this one, at least at time of writing.
The theme is pretty minimal in terms of features (and appearance) but it scores well on the Google Page Speed test. The features I added have increased the build time, but have not affected the speed of the site in terms of the page speed test.
As much as I hate to write about writing, especially when I write so infrequently, I feel I need to reboot this blog. I wrote so few posts in recent months I considered giving up altogether.
I’ve been stressed. Sometimes this manifests in being unable to sleep. Sometimes it manifests in all my interests and ideas seeming to be completely pointless. Sometimes one of those precedes the other. Sometimes it works vice versa.
This year promises to be exciting so this week I tried to buy a diary. One of those day-to-a-page affairs for scribbling down all the things I’ve seen and learned about. I thought they might be cheap now the calendar is turning to February. No such luck. There were a few week-to-view diaries going for half price in Waterstones but nothing suitable for my needs. I have lots of Field Notes notebooks if my urge to write gets too much to resist.
It can be a struggle to keep writing. I’ve found this happened a lot since I moved the blog. First, there was the business of moving things over. That meant a lot of thought about old posts and which ones I should keep. A lot of the time I thought “how on earth did I have time to write this?!”
Then there seemed to be a lot more barriers to writing than previously.
Witness the pressure of a new notebook. You sit at your desk, trying to get it started with an amazing piece of writing. Something worthy of that crisp new page. You want it to tumble out of you, fully formed and coherent. Something that justifies you abandoning the previous one. As though first drafts don’t exist. You cast yourself into the role of shaman, of seer - of someone gifted a prophetic vision.
I am writing a long post that I will either publish as one long post (about five or six thousand words) or as about seven smaller ones each closer to the average post length of about eight hundred words. I have to get it out-of-the-way soon as my mind needs to focus on my health economics essay.
It is hard to write short posts to a timetable, let alone churn out long posts on a regular basis.
I’m pretty close to a round number. To date I have written 298,500 words for this blog, not counting posts that I have discarded or deleted. This will be the 505th post currently on the blog, which makes for an average of just under 600 words per post. Some posts are just a picture or a video or a gallery though, so that distorts the average a bit.
I don’t think I can write the 1500 words I need to hit 300,000 in this post.
I recently started a new job and moved in to a new flat. This means I’m too busy to write any long blog posts at the moment. Also I’m still not quite at home there, so I tend to spend my evenings tidying up or setting up new things. It’s a shame because I have plenty of things to write about (even without observations on moving, starting a new job, etc) but I guess the writing will happen eventually…
What it is Ulysses is a markdown editor for the Mac. It has a simple drafting model that makes it easy to organise ideas and move between them. Pieces of writing are represented as sheets that can be tagged and grouped together - the grouping can be made manually or using filters. There are no files, the sheets are entries in a single database that is synced with iCloud. Because everything is plain text it won’t eat up your storage space.
I have now been writing decent length articles on this site for about a year. I have learned a lot in this time, mostly about writing but also how to express your feelings and how to marshal your ideas and passions into action. For this month’s “five on the fifth”, I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned.
Writing posts consistently is hard… There are a lot of things that get in the way of regular posting.
The other day while writing some rather self-pitying notes in my blog book (yes, I handwrite all this rubbish before I go to bed at night!) I came up with some useless superheroes, or rather the only superheroes that a washed-up guy in his early thirties could hope to be. Because I haven’t got any ideas for “five things on the fifth” this month, I decided to flesh out a few of these.