First retrospective on writing

Sep 28, 2022

Today is the two-week anniversary of my writing and posting every day. I’ve been reflecting on it… this is mostly for me, but there may be some value for you.

Today is a low value post for you, but reflection and process improvement area critical. I will be following a continuous improvement format. It is my go-to for discussions like this and you may want an example to go with the other posts.

Positive aspects that I can build on

  • Anchoring the writing habit in the morning has helped me stay on track. I drop my son off at school, get coffee, sit down and write. Everyday. Improvements: (1) habit-anchor in note making later in the day to prepare for the morning write.

  • My workflow has been very helpful in moving the writing forward. My prose moves from My phone to Obsidian to Hemingway to Word to VS Code to automated deploy to the web. Improvements: (1) Add a link checker to site generation. (2) There is an odd problem with Git version control and Obsidian that is a speed bump.

  • Leveraging different writing tools has identified issues with the way I write. Obsidian is great for getting down text. Hemingway helps reduce the complexity of my writing. Word is good for grammar and punctuation. Improvements: (1) Grammerly may point out further issues without conforming my style.

Challenges I can resolve

  • Selecting a topic in the morning has been a struggle. I spend too much time screwing around with what to write about. Countermeasures: (1) Make better topic list for each week ahead of time. (2) Consider themes for the week… write and breakup into manageable chunks to post - I can be long winded.

  • My first drafts are like a stream of consciousness. For example, I wrote about six pages around what will most likely be a single post. Most of it was wandering the mental landscape. Countermeasure: (3) Identify a specific concept to cover in a post. Keep them simple and smaller and remain focused. (4) Spend time outlining when starting the draft (during the planning).

Changes to make things better

  • I am spending more time than anticipated writing, on average 3 hours a day. This is not sustainable. Changes: (5) Write smaller posts, less formal. When I started my blog I decided any content would be okay, this was for me. (6) Do separate planning time to reduce the writing time. (7) Do more voice dictation for the initial draft. I tried this using my phone a few times and it worked great.

  • My use of Obsidian is suboptimal, only using it as a markdown editor. Its real purpose is using it as a zettlekasten . This will be more work upfront, but will pay off down the line. Changes: (8) Start breaking up and tagging content. (9) Review some approaches to the starting a good zettlekasten .

Conclusion

A very wise, if not ornery Scrum Master once admonished me “If you pick everything on the list, nothing will get done.” His guideline was to pick no more than three to focus on over the next week. While we no longer work together, and I am tempted to thumb my nose at him out of spite, it still makes sense. Fine Warren… here are my three for the next two weeks:

  • Create a topic list for the week ahead of time. I’ll do this on Sunday after getting coffee in the morning and spend no more than 60 minutes on it. This can include basic outlining and concept identification.

  • Identify a specific concept to cover in a post. Keep them simple and smaller and remain focused. I will start out writing with this in front of me to stay on point.

  • More voice dictation for the rough draft. I will produce a draft for two posts a week while walking or standing through dictation.

Please note: I call out the plan for each improvement. This takes an improvement from being a wish to being an action!

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