Normally my writing happens in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. I have not tried to use any other work processing software in years. Seriously, I have not even looked at LaTeX editors in some time. However, in my infinite search for bound of joy yesterday it seemed like now is the time to take the plunge and reintroduce myself to the joys of writing and working in a LaTeX editor. This effort is directly related to my renewed interest in publishing content at a much faster rate. Maybe the best method to move forward it to compose survey builds based on answering relevant questions, collect data, analyze that data, and publish papers based on that activity. Perhaps that is the best method to begin to move forward at a rate of producing 3 to 6 articles per year. Honestly, to accomplish that goal I am working on a strategy to produce a paper every 30 days next year. That should allow enough false starts to really get to a genuine pace of 3 to 6 articles a year.
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.
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.
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.
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.