A Writing Idea

Last night I got back from Google I/O. It’s the beginning of a month of travel. I have a good number of flights scheduled for May and June. It hit me that this would be a lot of time on a plane.12.

Vegas: 11 hours total

Bay Area: 11 hours total

Japan: 27 hours total

Seattle: 11 hours total

60 hours on a plane in a month. 1.5 weeks of work. Or one workaholic week. That’s the first time I’ve actually added it up. Geez.

Okay, so I’d like to write during some of that. Well, I did write for a portion of the different trips that are complete. Mostly in a composition notebook. I’ve started doing morning pages. Or some version of it. Though I can’t say I’ve been doing them as prescribed. It’s more just getting into longhand writing.

Headings to stay organized

Now I’m rambling. I tried something on the flight back from SFO to JFK, where I open to a blank page and write 4 headings.

Then I fill those in.


I did a few rounds of this on the flight and enjoyed it.

  • Helps get me started just writing. Somewhat easy to get to two crappy pages longhand.

  • Helps force me to stop writing about that topic and move to the next.

  • Gives me a good sense of whether there’s more to that idea that I can expand on.

By the end of the small section I know if I’m trying to cram a few more words into the final lines, there’s probably more I want to say. If I’m struggling to fill half a page, then hey maybe that’s not really going to work well to finish a post.

Then I turn to the next blank page and try to expand on whatever topic of the four I found most interesting.

That writing idea the title of this page is hinting at

One of the sessions got me thinking about what I’ll be writing about if I’m shooting for 100 days of writing. The idea would be to try and have themes for the week.

I also wrote this tagline:

I’m writing about whatever to learn what I like writing about.

I’ve had a personal blog with 1500+ posts. I’ve written some articles about design. I’ve been paid to write before, possibly in the least sexy way possible: at a technical writing internship writing material for the DB2 for z/OS introduction manual.

I want to get a better sense of what I really enjoy writing about most. I thought it’d be good to focus on themes. First I was thinking I’d focus on themes for a month at a time, but that was a little too long.

I’m going to try focusing two weeks at a time on each theme. I wrote a preliminary list of ten themes. Each theme will have 10 posts each then I’ll move on. Here’s that preliminary list:

  1. Japan: I have that Japan trip that I mentioned. I’ll approach this sort of like a travel/photography blog.

  2. Framer Tutorials: Framer has grown a lot since I was using it regularly. I’d like to learn about what’s possible with the latest version and give back to one of the best online communities I’ve experienced.

  3. New York: Again, approached like a travel/photography blog. I live here and want to get back to exploring it. New York, like any other place, is different for different people. I’d like to share what it’s been like for me the past three-isa years. And write about some memories. I regret that I didn’t write more about New York when everything was completely new to me. But I recognize that there’s no better time to start writing than now. Three years isn’t thirty years. There are still plenty of things that are new to me.

  4. Design dashes: I enjoyed writing about design sprints, but they’re better as a team activity. I’d like to just compress that process into a really small design dash. Cycles of sketching exercises to get some sense of what an idea might look like. And maybe I’ll take one of them further to a prototype as a follow-up.

  5. Learning: I’ve read a lot about learning in the past year or two. I’d like to apply that to drawing. I eventually would like to be good at drawing so I’ll write about the process.

  6. Wrestling: Somehow I’ve gotten back into following professional wrestling. I’ll explain how and write about some of my favorite childhood memories involving WCW and the WWF. Like Yokozuna on a forklift.

  7. Book notes: I have a backlog of books that I want to write about.

  8. UX career advice: I think I can share some insight here on how to go about preparing portfolios, finding the right type of role, side projects, interviewing, and other things like that.

  9. Writing: I think this post and the previous post could be lumped in here. Just general thoughts on writing. Probably will be self-indulgent and meta. I’ll try out different systems and talk about what worked for me and what didn’t.

  10. Scripts, comedy: Very tentative. Making someone laugh through words is difficult. It takes work. I’ll try to read some books on writing comedy and apply what I learn and see if I can write a joke or two. Along the lines of some of the old Grantland staff and Chase Buckley’s The Future is Near.

Japan will be first, but I don’t intend to write them in this order. And I’m sure some themes will change as I go along. It’s all an experiment so I’m sure I’ll iterate as I go along. Maybe 10 posts is too many for certain themes. Maybe a theme clearly isn’t fun to write.

As always, we’ll see.

  1. Right now the meta stuff will be footnote-ish. Just got an idea: need to figure out a workflow to upload an image quickly to my domain so that I can remove the friction from including images when writing in iA Writer. I’m not the first person with this idea. Or the thousandth. One lash for every five minutes I spend tinkering with the site instead of writing. Well I’d have 3 or 4 lashes today.

  2. Okay just had another idea, to actually use footnotes with anchor tags. That seems to work okay. I find footnotes fun to read and write. This might be a crutch and help move me toward being a lazy writer. But I think the offset is that it’s fun to write them. Another few lashes to fix the styling on footnotes and also to learn how to write them in Markdown.