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Nailing the Workflow

I’ve played around long enough. It’s time to commit to my writing tools and stick to them. Here’s the list.

As far as I’m concerned, Scrivener is the winner on Mac. I’ve tried them all and have no more questions. Scrivener is it for me.

Discovering Writing Kit made this decision easy. It quickly became the de facto app for writing on my first-generation iPad.

I’m still waffling here, but since growing to version 2.0 Writing Kit has the edge. It not only syncs with Dropbox (natch) and handles Markdown beautifully and mimics the writing environment I enjoy on my iPad. Elements 2 by Second Gear Software still runs in my stable on my iPhone and iPad because it allows me to send HTML-formatted emails from within the app.

By setting my default Dropbox folder to the root directory, I can move within both apps from one project to another. For instance, I just swapped from my Mac to my iPhone and back to edit this article within the Scrivener hierarchy. Cool huh?

Note: I’ve heard it’s best to close Scrivener when you leave your Mac if you plan to edit files while you’re away. I hear that’s bad juju.

Just because I’m nailing my workflow to the apps I described above doesn’t mean I’m excluding apps–such as OmniOutliner for iPad and iThoughts–that support my work.

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Getting Serious About Lists & Goals

Designer and developer Dave Gamache, recently known for releasing the Skeleton website framework, wrote about setting goals for personal growth.

I love to do stuff. So much stuff in fact, I often find myself overwhelmed by my own unorganized ambition, but luckily, I found my fix. I wrote a while back about my brain drain technique, which is fantastic for relieving stress and nailing short term tasks, but I was still trying to figure out how to manage longer term goals. While it might not be the perfect fix for everything, I’ve settled on 3-month goals.

Dave goes on to describe how he outlines several objectives in five categories, or approximately 15 objectives every three months. My five categories will look different than Dave’s, which during one 6-month period were:

  • Personal Growth
  • Career Growth
  • Financial
  • Travel
  • Fitness

When you set your goals, include methods for measuring your progress and don’t set goals that are impossible to reach. Set dates and milestones ahead of time to mark your progress.

“Without committing to a date, it’s not often you’ll realize your goals.”

Use your tool of choice to record your goals and objectives. Organize a project with contexts in OmniFocus. Grab your iPhone (or your pen and a notebook) and write a few words to jog your memory later. Draw a picture. Whatever tool works best for you is the one you should use.

Dave listed a few firestarters for people having trouble starting categories or goals. He suggests committing an hour or so to consider and answer three simple questions. Remember how easy it is to lie to yourself, so be honest.

  • What are three things I want to do?
  • What are three things I want to be?
  • What are three things I want to have?

I’m looking forward to getting started. How about you?

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from Seth's Blog: Talker's block

Michael Schechter (@mschechter) pointed out another great article about writing shared by the always-great Seth Godin titled Talker’s Block. Here’s an excerpt to round out my hat trick of sharing writing about writing.

Seth’s Blog: Talker’s block:

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

 

The first two posts:

  1. Writing in the Margins
  2. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITERS’ BLOCK

OK. I’m done for now.

(Via Michael Schechter)

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Writing In The Margins

Another great meta-post about writing in the same vein as my recent find from Andy Ihnatko. This excerpt is by Michael Schechter:

Writing In The Margins:

So often we think of writing as this pristine thing. Something precious, something that requires a special place and a special time. This is crap. Writing is getting words out of your head and on to some media. No matter what, no matter how, no matter where. Don’t get me wrong, some writing is better than others, but the gist of how it’s done is fairly universal.

 

(Via Eddie of Practically Efficient)

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You are what you read

Some blogs are comprised of audio, photos, or videos, but most of them are still brewed the old-fashioned way, by stringing together a bunch of (hopefully) related words and publishing them to the Internet for everyone to read and discuss.

Rinse. Repeat. Rinse again. Seriously, go wash up. People are beginning to talk.

My first thought as I began to think about which direction to steer my blog was, “What do I want to read?” I reviewed some of my favorite writers and major influences and found a few common threads:

These folks are the cream of the crop. It’s ridiculous to set my goals so high, but that’s what I’ve done. I’m not here to compete with them and surely don’t claim to join them. I do understand the craftsmanship that goes into what they do and I’m a huge fan of their work.

¡Mios Dio, man! This could get embarrassing!

By the way, most of my reading happens in Instapaper, which Marco Arment (@marcoarment) updated to 4.0 this week. You really should go and buy it now.

Categories
general

Getting Serious About Lists & Goals

Designer and developer Dave Gamache, recently known for releasing the Skeleton website framework, wrote about setting goals for personal growth.

I love to do stuff. So much stuff in fact, I often find myself overwhelmed by my own unorganized ambition, but luckily, I found my fix. I wrote a while back about my brain drain technique, which is fantastic for relieving stress and nailing short term tasks, but I was still trying to figure out how to manage longer term goals. While it might not be the perfect fix for everything, I’ve settled on 3-month goals.

Dave goes on to describe how he outlines several objectives in five categories, or approximately 15 objectives every three months. My five categories will look different than Dave’s, which during one 6-month period were:

  • Personal Growth
  • Career Growth
  • Financial
  • Travel
  • Fitness

When you set your goals, include methods for measuring your progress and don’t set goals that are impossible to reach. Set dates and milestones ahead of time to mark your progress.

“Without committing to a date, it’s not often you’ll realize your goals.”

Use your tool of choice to record your goals and objectives. Organize a project with contexts in OmniFocus. Grab your iPhone (or your pen and a notebook) and write a few words to jog your memory later. Draw a picture. Whatever tool works best for you is the one you should use.

Dave listed a few firestarters for people having trouble starting categories or goals. He suggests committing an hour or so to consider and answer three simple questions. Remember how easy it is to lie to yourself, so be honest.

  • What are three things I want to do?
  • What are three things I want to be?
  • What are three things I want to have?

I’m looking forward to getting started. How about you?

Categories
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iPhone 4S – An Introduction, Not A Review

Apple’s new releases have encouraged a flair for fiscal irresponsibility in me reaching back nearly two decades.

My will was strong as the positive reviews of the MacBook Air began flooding the web, but this is probably due to the higher upgrade cost. I need a new laptop like I need a new iPhone. Besides, iPhones are cheaper.

So, I have a new iPhone 4S.

I knew the 16gb version at the low end wouldn’t be enough and I was pushing the limits on my 32gb iPhone 4. The available stock at the nearby AT&T store helped me select the 64gb 4S. It was all they had left, so that’s the one I got.

It’s my Christmas, birthday, and anniversary gift for the coming year and that’s just fine with me. There aren’t a lot of little things I want, but there are a number of big ticket items on my wish list. Now, there is one less item to worry about.

Now, it’s time to get reacquainted with my new friend Siri. I knew her when she was younger, but we have a lot of catching up to do.

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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITERS’ BLOCK

Ithnatko is so good. Writers, read this article. Here’s a piece of it for you.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITERS’ BLOCK. – Andy Ihnatko’s Celestial Waste of Bandwidth (BETA):

As a writer, you are never “blocked.”

Here, let me say it again, with more markup tags:

***As a writer, you are never “blocked.”***

The fact that you’re not actually writing doesn’t mean that you’re not actually working. You’re also working when you’re thinking. Figure out what the problems are and _solve_ them. Solve them in a half-assed way if you have to; slap enough duct tape over the problem that you can proceed to the next step. Go back later and improve it in the editing process.

Or! Just put the whole thing aside. Just for now. Even in the worst, most frustrating situation, you’re not “blocked.” You just can’t make any progress on this one thing.

So write something else.

Categories
general

iPhone 4S – An Introduction, Not A Review

Apple’s new releases have encouraged a flair for fiscal irresponsibility in me reaching back nearly two decades.

My will was strong as the positive reviews of the MacBook Air began flooding the web, but this is probably due to the higher upgrade cost. I need a new laptop like I need a new iPhone. Besides, iPhones are cheaper.

So, I have a new iPhone 4S.

I knew the 16gb version at the low end wouldn’t be enough and I was pushing the limits on my 32gb iPhone 4. The available stock at the nearby AT&T store helped me select the 64gb 4S. It was all they had left, so that’s the one I got.

It’s my Christmas, birthday, and anniversary gift for the coming year and that’s just fine with me. There aren’t a lot of little things I want, but there are a number of big ticket items on my wish list. Now, there is one less item to worry about.

Now, it’s time to get reacquainted with my new friend Siri. I knew her when she was younger, but we have a lot of catching up to do.

Categories
general

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITERS’ BLOCK

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITERS’ BLOCK. – Andy Ihnatko’s Celestial Waste of Bandwidth (BETA)

As a writer, you are never “blocked.”

Here, let me say it again, with more markup tags:

***As a writer, you are never “blocked.”***

The fact that you’re not actually writing doesn’t mean that you’re not actually working. You’re also working when you’re thinking. Figure out what the problems are and _solve_ them. Solve them in a half-assed way if you have to; slap enough duct tape over the problem that you can proceed to the next step. Go back later and improve it in the editing process.

Or! Just put the whole thing aside. Just for now. Even in the worst, most frustrating situation, you’re not “blocked.” You just can’t make any progress on this one thing.

So write something else.

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Daring Fireball: Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot

The most beautiful piece I’ve read about Steve Jobs.

Daring Fireball: Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot:

But the thing that struck me were his shoes, those famous gray New Balance 993s. They too were well-worn. But also this: fresh bright green grass stains all over the heels.

(Via @gruber)

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Daring Fireball: Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot

But the thing that struck me were his shoes, those famous gray New Balance 993s. They too were well-worn. But also this: fresh bright green grass stains all over the heels.

(Via @gruber)

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Every Day is Opposite Day

Why do our kids insist on doing the opposite of what we ask them to do?!

“Shut the door.”

The door stays open.

“Open your door.”

The door stays shut.

Going a little nutso here. Advice welcome.

“Stop yelling.”

They get louder.

“Speak up!”

They speak quieter.

We’ve run the gamut of “suggestions,” with our fair share of wheeling and dealing, whispering and yelling, rewards, time out, and groundings. Same results, nada, for years.

“Turn the TV off.”

The TV is on.

I’m not talking about the occasional butting of heads. I’m talking about exactly the same conflicts in our house every single day.

“Put your backpack in your room, not in the foyer like a trap!”

Backpack? Right there in the foyer.

Seriously, we’re open to suggestions. E-mail me.

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general

Every Day is Opposite Day

Why do our kids insist on doing the opposite of what we ask them to do?!

“Shut the door.”

The door stays open.

“Open your door.”

The door stays shut.

Going a little nutso here. Advice welcome.

“Stop yelling.”

They get louder.

“Speak up!”

They speak quieter.

We’ve run the gamut of “suggestions,” with our fair share of wheeling and dealing, whispering and yelling, rewards, time out, and groundings. Same results, nada, for years.

“Turn the TV off.”

The TV is on.

I’m not talking about the occasional butting of heads. I’m talking about exactly the same conflicts in our house every single day.

“Put your backpack in your room, not in the foyer like a trap!”

Backpack? Right there in the foyer.

Seriously, we’re open to suggestions. E-mail me.

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Team Hal

If you’re in the Atlanta you should see if the North Fulton Drama Group is performing Henry IV Part I at Barrington Hall in Roswell. Last night, Julie and I took the kids and a friend to see the opening show directed by our pal Thomas.

I posted a few photos of the troop’s excellent performance.

Falstaff & Hal

Go see it!

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My Wrist Used to Hurt

I had a theory that Apple’s Magic Mouse, possibly exacerbated by the Magic Trackpad, was killing me. I use the mouse at work and the trackpad at home, and the pain in my right wrist has been steadily increasing during the past several months.

Three days of field tests that began with swiping a larger mouse off the desk of a coworker who has been out of the office lately seem to support my theory. When the pain eased after a single day of use, I quickly ordered a Logitech Professional MX. After three days, the pain in my wrist has practically vanished.

Something else that pains me is that I adore my Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. Alas, I am passing those on to others and digging the Pro MX.

Categories
general

Team Hal

If you’re in the Atlanta you should see if the North Fulton Drama Group is performing Henry IV Part I at Barrington Hall in Roswell. Last night, Julie and I took the kids and a friend to see the opening show directed by our pal Thomas.

I posted a few photos of the troop’s excellent performance.

Falstaff & Hal

Go see it!

Categories
general

My Wrist Used to Hurt

I had a theory that Apple’s Magic Mouse, possibly exacerbated by the Magic Trackpad, was killing me. I use the mouse at work and the trackpad at home, and the pain in my right wrist has been steadily increasing during the past several months.

Three days of field tests that began with swiping a larger mouse off the desk of a coworker who has been out of the office lately seem to support my theory. When the pain eased after a single day of use, I quickly ordered a Logitech Professional MX. After three days, the pain in my wrist has practically vanished.

Something else that pains me is that I adore my Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. Alas, I am passing those on to others and digging the Pro MX.

Categories
check tags

Back Home Again

Sorry for the rapidly changing themes here on my hosted WordPress site. I am still looking for a theme that feels right and, for now, have returned to the Vigilance. I’ll try to settle down soon.

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Hmm. Something to consider

A quick Google search led me to this article on WebMD about stress:

Some stress is normal and even useful. Stress can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help you win a race or finish an important job on time.

But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school.

May be worth thinking about.