Tonight, I sat down to make, in the organiser I use to track the things I post on this blog, a google sheets function to pick a random topic I’d like to write more about and share it.
That function by the way is:
=INDEX(A:A, RANDBETWEEN(1, COUNTA(A:A)))
Fill up column A with ideas, and then this field will just go ‘hey, picked one at random.’ Really handy. I use it for randomising things like who to call on in a subject, for example. Set it up, put it down, then immediately couldn’t think of anything to put in that column.
This is annoying. I also have to accept that this tool – which by now I may have been using all year – may get made at one day, but populated another day.
Writing on this blog tends to be the result of an inspiration. Oh, I know I’ve been critical of inspired writing in the past, but the trick here is that I have managed to develop the practice of making sure I have a moment of inspiration and can put it to some use. Even the least inspiration, even stuff that I wouldn’t normally consider ‘worth it.’ There will be some bad ideas that get tried, and the backlog is long enough that they can get cut before they go live. This means that any given day, what will usually happen is that I will partake of something that interests me or I will hear something interesting or I’ll explain something to someone and then I’ll go: Hang on I should write that down.
Then I do.
And that’s it! That’s what we call in phd stuff, data capture, where time spent doing things is also accompanied with documenting it. If I play a game, I can record it and decide what to do with that later. If I read a book, I can take notes, and decide what to do with that. If I watch a movie, design a game, inspect an art asset, all of that, that stuff is an avenue of things to work on.
Every day the blog gets older, though, every day I add to the list of things this blog has talked about, I find myself wondering if I’ve already covered it. This time I think I have already, but just not in these specific terms. There’s a small sub-genre of posts on the blog about the challenges of keeping the daily blog going, and sometimes I wonder if I overdo it? But then I remember that the bulk of people who read this blog only read a small amount of it, and you’re not going to see four or five of these posts every month. You might see two or three a year.
As I write this, it’s Desert Bus. Like, 2021’s Desert Bus. The charity event is great, but, it’s also a 24/7 thing, and I don’t find it very agreeable background content to the kind of creative work I’m doing. The stuff that I do tend to enjoy for that tends towards being isolated or quiet. I think after two years of it, given the amount of time I spend writing once Fox has gone to bed, I need to recognise that I do like writing in comparative quiet, without a speaker behind my head. I don’t know if that’s the new normal or if I’ve just been exhausted by not having any ‘away time’ for a year.
Absolutely core to this blog is the discipline to write every day, and the organisation to make sure that that discipline gets to be properly distributed. I have written things for theme months well outside of the time they’re for. Dread Month is the collection of the entire year’s worth of edgy, dark topics, for example. When I have queer feelings or experiences or thoughts, I put them all in Pride month. This way these topics get to fill up a celebratory month, but also when those months hit I’m not scrabbling for ways to talk about it. It’s a great trick to make it look like I can concentrate on something when really, I’m just taking this scattered idea space and putting it all in one heap so it looks organised.
This is data capture.
Get in the habit, it does make things easier.
And hopefully, I’ll have ideas I can use to fill in the column on that spreadsheet.