How I Work

First, a little note on the blog:

For 7+ years, roughly 2001-2008, I maintained a humble but decently prolific blog, with posts no more than three or four days apart.

Over the last three years I’ve been essentially silent in the public space. A few reasons:

  • I chose not to attempt publication of either A Story About San Diego or 26 Miles Offshore, the novel and poetry collection I’d been working on, events that the old blog was building up to.
  • I made an enormous career change in 2008, choosing to walk away from a (very highly compensated) full time job to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. In the following three years I’ve started three businesses. Two of them are going strong today. One of them is requiring me to learn ‘from scratch’ a skill which may be one of the most difficult to acquire in the world. All of which has left me with very little time for writing creatively.
  • The creative writing I have been doing has largely ended up in three places: On a private wordpress blog which has superseded my flat-file journals, in private emails, or on one of the private forums I use to communicate with others in the fund management world.
  • Honestly? I was a little burned out on social media & posting/tweeting/friend feeding. I needed a break.

Are these roadblocks out of the way? Yes and no. But I’ve got a new truck and an itchy clutch foot. It’ll likely be a bumpy ride, getting back up to speed. I’ll probably have large gaps between posts this year. Times when I lose momentum, get mired in putting out fires, and basically blow off my entire readership base (Sorry mom).

As a tease towards what might be more regular public posts, I thought I’d put up my current tool config, in case it might be helpful to someone looking for their own model.

To me the most important thing in tool selection is the balance between these three needs:

  1. Making free-form, blank page essays at solving problems, sharing ideas and expressing joy – the jazzman with the trumpet.
  2. Cataloging, collating, tagging and indexing entries to facilitate rapid access and cross-referencing – the accountant with his books.
  3. Sharing what is created/extracted – the man who owns the well in a desert town.

And these are the tools I use:

  1. Mellel for OS X. Blank page, limited bells & whistles, no constraints word processor. Everything I write, unless it’s a one-off email or tweet, begins its life in Mellel.
  2. Local WordPress install running on my MacBook (managed with MAMP), gmail, and a delicio.us account. At the end of every day, I transfer whatever I wrote (and anything I found on the web that didn’t make it into delicio.us) to this local WordPress install, tagging and categorizing. Being able to search in gmail and delicio.us is a no-brainer, everyone does that. Tagging my journal has made an enormous difference in referencing ability, and consequently my ability to use my archive to solve new problems.
  3. Public WordPress install running on a Windows server. This blog, my primary public voice.

That’s it. A three tier content flow model: Creative Space -> Private Space -> Public Space. And it all either runs on or is managed by my trusty MacBook Pro, which may be 4 years old, but it still rocks the socks off of most of my PCs.

Cardinals announcer Al Hrabosky on hitting

“This game is about failure. You’re a hitter, you fail 70% of the time. This game is how you deal with failure. You strike out, you get made to look bad in an at-bat, you’ve got to forget about it. Come back, challenge the next at bat. Don’t give anything away.”