What is a creative period and why does it happen

Today I spent some time wondering about the nature of what exactly a creative period entails and why it happens. That is one of those things that could have been a lot more valuable a few years ago, but maybe just maybe it could prove out to be a valuable exercise today. Anyway, sometimes I go through cycles of extreme productivity and other times things just don’t happen that way. One of the really key parts of a creative period is using it to actually produce something of value. Sometimes that is the part of the process that has to be identified. Figuring out exactly what it takes to be in a creative period and knowing what to do with that opportunity are both complex things to consider. This little bit of prose feels a little stilted, but the basic point I was trying to get across is here somewhere between the lines.

My writing pattern used to be more consistent

The folks over at Google have indicated that while no more tablets are forthcoming at some point a new Pixelbook will arrive. That new Pixelbook will probably be my next mobile computing device. That is exciting. For a long time (really since the first Pixelbook came out), I have wanted to get a Pixelbook. I’m not entirely sure what benefit it will have to my writing productivity. Outside of that realization and in full acceptance of it, I still want to buy a Pixelbook. Maybe that is just one of those things that will eventually happen.

Earlier tonight I bought a copy of Ready Player One by Earnst Cline on audiobook from Google Play Books. I had no idea when the purchase was made that it was narrated by Wil Wheaton. During the first twenty minutes it has not been super distracting, but something about it is a bit distracting. It appears that Wil has narrated a lot of books. That is interesting to say the least. I’m a little bit surprised that tonight is the first time I have run into a book narrated by Wil. After another 20 minutes I have managed to start ignoring who is narrating the book and just consume the content. Listening to music probably is a better match for writing. Listening to an audiobook is typically not the best way to actively engage in writing some sweet sweet prose.

Listening to an audiobook and writing for a bit

My office chair

Most of the websites I host have been updated to the new server now. Only one more needs to be updated. All the links to my main website are now different, but that was inevitable at this point in the migration process. Earlier today I spent a few minutes writing down just a bit of prose that reminded me what writing prose is all about. Maybe I needed to settle back into my daily writing routine. Maybe that is something that will not work out any time soon. One thing is happening and that is related to a bit of entertainment. Tonight I’m listening to an audiobook version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on Google Play Books. That was enough to help me sit back and relax enough to write something. Part of the process of writing is really about the act of writing and therefore is more about the creative spark in action than the creative spark on its own. That might be enough to consider for the rest of the night, but it turns out more is about to be brought forward.

One thing that remains true is that this ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P is breaking down slowly as I keep writing. One of the things I’m curious about is when Google will start selling the next generation of the Pixelbook. That might very well be my next mobile personal computing device. I pretty much need something with a keyboard and a rather small screen. It turns out that I simply do not like to write on my ultrawide monitors. My preferences for writing seem to include using a notebook, netbook, laptop, or generally a mobile computing device with a legitimate keyboard. I tried to use a ton of different bluetooth keyboards and smartphones, but not of those combinations really worked based on my need to write for longer periods of time. Apparently, I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about my next Chromebook.

Writing based on a daily cadence

a notebook, pen, and glasses

For years, everyday I have sat down and hammered out a few words. Sometimes those words are purely for myself and other times they are posted online. Honestly, most of my online writing is for myself. Really only my efforts to publish academic papers should be considered truly public facing words. Contributions to the broader academy that comprises the written tradition of academic thought are about giving back to that tradition. They are about making a contribution that moves things forward. Maybe recently the mass proliferation of academic publications has made it harder and harder for those contributions to be heard and shared. Perhaps the echo of academic thought has grown smaller in recent years. More and more it is the echo of popular culture on social media that effectively brings people together at scale. Even historically most academic publications had a small, but highly dedicated following of intellectuals that were interested in having and keeping a shared understanding of the world around them based on keeping tabs on the rich tradition of what was published within the academy.

Right now sitting next to me on my desk a copy of the Public Administration Review (PAR) needs to be read from cover to cover. For better or sometimes for the worse, the one academic journal that I have consistently read over the last 20 years is PAR. Sitting right on top of that journal are copies of Wired magazine and Data Science From Scratch by Grus. Those three publications probably reasonably encapsulate my current academic trajectory. Maybe that can help inform my daily writing cadence going forward. More likely than not, I will continue to generate highly functional journal entries and occasionally sit down to write long form articles. During the moments where being reasonable seems easy I might acknowledge that more of my time needs to be spent writing academic articles, but that is always easier to dream about than to actually muddle through. Hammering the keyboard to produce some prose is almost always going to be about either what has my attention at the moment or what I’m passionate about. It is a rare confluence of events where stream of consciousness writing ends up being academically publishable.

Beyond the depths of that first overwritten passage

Opening with a witty barrage of prose might be a good way to get going. Beyond the depths of that first overwritten passage a nugget of truth might be hiding. Perhaps during the course of those moments when first filling the page something forms or builds out of nothing. Each moment follows on the legacy of the last. Echoes of promise and unfulfilled momentum shake a little bit of truth from what was left. Building out that start be it a fall start or a truly epic passage of pose the folly of overwriting always exists. The truth always turns out to be that potential outpaces performance. Every perfect possible future opens the door to something truly great. Unfortunately, each of those doors tend to have a certain commitment or consequence. Taking that first step toward a future that could be perfect might not unfold as a perfect journey.

Maybe this is the moment I break out my fountain pen and write some lyrics or some form of poetry. That might end up being more and more unlikely as the typing keeps going. Tonight I’m stuck between listening to music while writing for a bit or maybe having Netflix on in the background. Tomorrow I took the day off work. It will be a day devoted to working on something. That is the big question right now… what exactly tomorrow will hold is a secret that has been kept from all my momentary considerations. Tomorrow is a day right now full of possibility. Every door is open and every moment could be a moment that opens the floodgates of productivity. For me right now the potential of tomorrow probably outpaces anything that will actually happen. Somewhere in that thought is a seed of truth. Maybe it is a honest one with the potential for more.

Tomorrow I’m probably going to focus in on using my Google Cloud Platform (GCP) account to begin work on an automated newsletter based on a custom build natural language processing neural network. Sure that might seem like a lofty enough goal for a single day of fun, coding, and a few meals of Soylent. Maybe I’ll start watching the Alien quadrilogy and work on some coding in the cloud. Yeah —- that sounds like it will be desired direction for tomorrow. Things could devolve from that nobel path to an afternoon of Warren Zevon records, but we will have to wait for the moment to know it.