Journal 15: Working on a new layout

I started working on a simplified layout for posts after writing my pseudo-live walking blog. (The first of what I hope will be many.)

I’ve been drawing again and haven’t ever quite figured out a good way to share sketches. Most people will be looking at this on a phone so I need to remember that and work toward a good format. I don’t think I’ll start sketching in 600px boxes, but I just might be sharing it that way.

This week I read an ESPN feature with Hollywood screenwriters writing a story for the Warriors season. I saw it on my phone and liked how it looked. I figured it’d have some sort of responsive design treatment so I hopped on the computer to take a look.

I was surprised at how straightforward it was. The header image went wide but everything else just had a max width of 600px. (Which, if you opened this post up in developer tools, you’ll see I’m trying nearly the same setup for this first iteration.)

Sort of a breath of fresh air and it just reminded me of the pleasant time in web development when it wasn’t tooling hell. (I’ll also acknowledge that the same tooling is what helped me put a first version of this layout together in an hour.)


This always feels a little uglier than I’d like. I’m a designer by day but you probably wouldn’t have guessed looking at the state of my site. I wanted to focus on the writing and drawing. I still do, but I know I can put 20% effort into the design and development of the layouts and it can go a pretty long way.

What’s with the farmers?
I’ve been reviewing my notes from Deep Work. It’s one of my favorite books from the last few years. I wrote a bunch of notes to do some kind of epic post I had in mind and I of course never got around to it.

I want to write some book notes posts for it though. One thing that’s stuck with me is the story he tells about a farmer and his tools. The point it is getting across is that useful tools might not be worth it. Particularly because the resources for that tool could potentially be used to get a better tool.

The resource is time and the tool he’s arguing against is social media. I’ve found a lot of value through Twitter. My current career wouldn’t be the same without Twitter.

Now is a different season though. It doesn’t provide as much value. Especially weighed against the amount of time I lose using it. There’s a lot of interesting stuff that I find through Twitter. I can and have spent entire days just reading cool things on Twitter.

Kotler and Flow, again
I re-listened to part of the Joe Rogan Experience episode with Steven Kotler through this clip about creativity and flow states. Kotler says he wakes up and wants to be writing within minutes.

For me it’s, wake up at 3:30, 4:00 AM. And I like to be… I like to be writing before my brain is awake. I want to be writing within 4 minutes of getting out of bed.


He goes on to explain that he wants to keep his brain waves in the creative phase.

For more from Kotler, check out my book notes on The Rise of Superman.

What’s with the people at brunch?

I was thinking of drawings I could do for my book notes for We Learn Nothing by  Tim Kreider. A major theme through the book is that we worry too much about things that aren’t so important in the big picture. Namely, work and careers. They’re important but we take for granted how important spending a day with friends is.

I started trying to schedule posts in really rough states. It was supposed to act as a forcing function to finish posts. Surprisingly, it worked. Along with those We Learn Nothing notes, here are three other book notes posts I wrote in the past week:

I’m slowly converging on the proper mix of writing, drawing, consistency, and ease in the system. In writing, drawing, editing photos, editing drawings, and adding them all to a WordPress post, there are just a lot of places where friction exists. Bit by bit, I’m removing inessential things from the system and posting things I’m happy to share with others.