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Working along on some writing projects

Yesterday I spent some time finishing up my week 52 post for The Lindahl Letter. This morning I gave it another pass including some light editing and expansion. My weekend routine of writing posts on Saturday morning and editing the post the next day during my Sunday morning writing adventures has been working out well enough. This last time around I waited till the very end of the writing process and moved all of the content over to a word processing document template setup for publishing. I’m not sure if this time around I should figure out a way to just write into the template and begin with the end in mind. The problem with that strategy is that the final product won’t include all the weekly links to videos and Tweets. To get to that point the content would have to be more embedded into the post in the form of ongoing prose instead of broken out a section of links. Unfortunately, sections of links do not translate very well to a manuscript. They are more suited to a weekly newsletter format where clicking digital links is the outcomes of the process instead of an archival purpose. 

Things to do this weekend:

  1. Finish week 52 of The Lindahl Letter for 1/21 publication
  2. Final review and publish on Upper Bound Chronicles eBook
  3. Review and publish on Dream Chaser Archives eBook
  4. Start edit of United Earth Chronicles
  5. Begin work on Older Essay’s Assembled eBook

Writing along the journey

A few different weblog posts have been abandoned throughout the last week. Earlier this week the eBook edition of, “The Lindahl Letter: On Machine Learning,” went live all over the internet. That was exciting. Two other eBooks are nearing the completion of their editing journey on my desktop. 

My projects folder has roughly 30 or so previously started or completed works. Some of them have been online for over a decade. Even if some of that content had been posted online years ago it feels like editing it before eBook publication is the right way to go about it. Sure it would be easier to just copy and paste it into a template and start the publishing process.

Oh those writing projects

On Saturday morning, I sat down and started drafting out the 52nd Substack post of my “The Lindahl Letter” series. This post will probably be dedicated to lessons learned and a few thoughts about writing a Substack post for a full year. At that time, I was still working on all three writing projects that were mentioned last week. Saturday was the day that my latest manuscript came back from the editor. That manuscript did end up coming back from the editor. I spent a few minutes tinkering with it and ordered a proof copy of the finished product to see what it looks like on actual pages. Sometime in the next 30 days that proof copy will arrive. Sometimes editing with a pen and paper on a printed copy is the only way for me to catch those last few typos that are hiding somewhere on the pages as future eratta. 

The printed version of the book is inflight and that is exciting. The next step in the process will be to convert it into an eBook. To that end, right now I have the eBook up and ready for one last edit on the final version of my latest book, “The Lindahl Letter: On Machine Learning.” My effort ended up being 154 pages and is both edited and formatted well for the page. What is remaining is one more start to finish read today to catch any last second typos or formatting problems before committing it to permanent storage within the eBook format. That type of effort requires a ton of focus and probably a few shots of espresso along the way. Hopefully, the general flow of the finished product is solid enough that my editing will move along swiftly for a final read. 

Yesterday, I did manage to share the week 50 post on both Twitter and Facebook. My strategy of social sharing the content seems to be working out well enough. I’m not going to call it a market strategy as that would imply some type of professional bar for distribution is being met and that is not the case. Put simply I’m just sharing links to the content to see if a few more people each week will start reading on an ongoing basis. I guess that is how readership grows in an organic way. 

At some point, I’m going to write a post or a book called, “Careless with the page.” That title stuck with me yesterday and I ended up writing it down in Google Keep for later review. After I complete editing the previously mentioned eBook today and get it submitted, the next step in the puzzle will be interesting. I have about 10 other manuscripts that need to be edited into eBook format and launched into publication. Earlier this year I spent some time thinking about the nature of mortality and how true it is that we need to use the time we have toward productive endeavors. Within that framework it seemed to me that all those manuscripts that are essentially parked need to be edited and shared out as eBooks for posterity.

Keeping writing a priority

Right now my focus is on working three different pieces of content to completion. 

  1. On Machine Learning – this book needs some work to update the footnotes after it comes back from the editor
  2. Considering product choices – this future paper needs to go from a talk based slideshow (PowerPoint) to a paper
  3. I need to finish the slides for my “The next 5 years of ML in the healthcare space” talk

Each one of these needs a different level of care to complete the effort. One of the things that I need to focus on continuing throughout 2022 is keeping at least 3 writing projects open. This obviously does not include my daily writing efforts or the one off projects that get sparked from the flames of imagination. This list of things that I’m working on will continue to be a living list that will undergo change. From here on out I’m just going to write about my projects. Taking that course of action will give me more content to write about and help focus on thoughts on the task at hand. Keeping a list of open writing projects helps me take my time on Saturday and Sunday morning and focus it on something more academic. One of the things that is very important to me is to start turning more of my focus to writing academic papers and manuscripts moving forward.

Latest paper research notes

Over the last few days, I have been looking at sketches of the healthcare landscape in the United States. My research is strictly limited to that universe of care at the moment. Maybe later I could do some comparative analysis, but at the moment a limited universe is necessary to make progress on this initial research effort. I have a very large Moleskine sketchbook that has A3 size pages. Which for those of you who do not know happens to be 11.75 inches by 16.5 inches. That gives me plenty of space to sketch out ideas. At the moment, I have been working on three different sketches that will be converted from sketch to slide at some point. That effort includes mapping the healthcare space, plotting the next 5 years, and a sketch of where ML will be in that 5 year mapping of healthcare. My initial analysis showed a bunch of different ways to look at things. It feels like the overall ecosystem is being pushed from a lot of directions instead of being driven organically into a cohesive mesh.

Some digital housekeeping

It is that time of year when I open the bookmark manager in Google Chrome and try to clean things up a little bit. The next few observations about the links I’m keeping around the top of my browser.

I have a guitar pedal link saved that I’m considering for purchase. It’s up first on the bar just below the tabs. That link will probably end up getting transferred to the “Older” links folder at some point. That is the final resting spot for links that get accumulated in Google Chrome. 

Next up is a link to the Google Doc that holds all of my Substack posts both previously written and outlined for the future. That document holds countless hours of effort from the previous year. At this point, I don’t really need to make a new document and storing all of the posts in one document has been useful overall. 

Right next to that Google Doc is my link to YouTube subscriptions. This is a stream of all the videos from channels where I’m a subscriber. Honestly, this is the best way to use YouTube to display the most recent content you care about. If you are just using the regular stream, then you are missing out on seeing all the content the channels you subscribe to in one list based on upload time. 

For some ineffable reason, I still have a link to the Newegg Shuffle right in the middle of my screen. I was checking this daily at one point to buy a new graphics card at retail pricing from Newegg. Right after typing this sentence that link is getting moved to the “Older” folder. 

After that link was removed the next 6 are just eBay searches that I like to scan every day as a sort of relaxing way to consider something different. I created a folder and put all 6 of the links into the folder to make the bookmark bar a little bit more tidy. Now it is very easy to right click on the new eBay folder and just open all of the tabs at one time. This will save me a bit of time moving forward. 

9 more bookmarks were hanging out after the eBay folder and I just moved them all to the “Older” folder as they are not currently important to me on a daily basis.

End of year projects

Week 46 of The Lindahl Letter came out on Friday and this weekend I started really deeply working on the posts for the rest of the year. The posts for the rest of the year have enough of a draft completed that they could go out right now and things would be ok… things would not be epic or even really acceptable at this point, but the foundation exists and that is a start. My weekend writing efforts have to be kicked up a notch here going forward. It looks like I may need to start working on a presentation for 2022 as well. I’m going to follow up on that one and figure out exactly how many minutes of coverage will be required.

Working on manuscript updates

My writing schedule has been updated for Sunday on a go forward basis. The schedule now includes a morning writing session to review my Substack post and work on academic articles for 1-3 hours, publishing a note on LinkedIn about the last Substack post, and sending a Tweet about my last Substack post. Working within that writing schedule will probably help increase the readership of the newsletter. To pick up my subscribers the content is going to need to be posted to Twitter and to LinkedIn. This week I even elected to login to my highly dormant Facebook account to share the link. 

Over the last two months my writing productivity has really plummeted. That is something that needs to be rectified here one day at a time. Reversing a trend like that is just about spending the time at the keyboard to write larger blocks of prose. I have a manuscript in progress that is entitled, “On Machine Learning: The Lindahl Letters of 2021.” I’m going to publish my entire set of 2021 Substack posts in one long manuscript format. All of the content has been put into a basic manuscript draft and I’m currently working on starting at the beginning and reworking the content from start to finish before publication. This is one of those things that I’m probably going to need to send to my editor before final publication. Right now the manuscript is about 165 pages long, but that could easily get longer before publication. 

Earlier this morning I just could not manage to get back into the flow of writing. A trip to the donut store and a stop to get some coffee happened, but a bunch of time writing never occurred. Getting back on schedule with a writing routine has to be my primary focus moving forward. Yesterday I created a draft post with two solid paragraphs of content. For some reason that was where my productivity stopped. I’m about to watch the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday night football. During that game my plan is to try to rework the content and get it ready for publication on Friday.

A busy Sunday writing day

Today was super productive in terms of writing. For some reason, I got up this morning and worked to take my Substucks and work toward getting them into a publishable format. That all started with a moment of introspection, “Right now I’m wondering if The Lindahl Letter newsletter currently published on Substack should be offloaded as a year one manuscript for publication. It would be pretty easy to just take the 52 posts and strip out the links/thoughts and Tweets sections.”[1] A few moments later a second thought occurred about the subject as well related to the possibility of switching up topics every year for a really deep research focus including 52 different inquiries. That one I’m not as sure about, but well over an hour was invested into formatting the The Lindahl Letter into a Microsoft Word document ready for publication via a book aggregation service that handles publishing across a multitude of platforms.

The advertising plan seemed a little bit sad after the first draft. It went a bit like this, “Sometimes when the internet is not working do you miss having a physical copy of The Lindahl Letter on your bookshelf?” Yeah, that did not seem compelling to me either. However, if that is something you were looking to have, then you can look forward to a publication of the one year manuscript. Right now the topic list is out to week 59 and I have a few more topics to transfer from my Google Keep files. That took the planned writing list out to week 65 which was a little bit better. I’m going to need to spend some time working on more topics to feed into the list. So far during the writing process the topics have sort of been generated in little spurts of creativity. 

Footnotes:

[1] At the moment, only 46 of the 52 posts are written and ready to go. Outside of that temporal problem the manuscript is mostly done.

Working into a bit of writing

I’m going to let this missive go out as a Tweet storm using the Twitter Thread feature today. Generally I have just allowed it to do a single Tweet which would allow people to get back to the weblog from Twitter via the link if they wanted to read that particular gem of intellectual audacity. Really they are mostly just my musings about the intersection of technology and modernity of the process of writing. 

Yesterday I constrained my writing session to blocks of 280 characters based on a Twitter limitation. A consequence of that constraining was that only 5 blocks of wonderful prose were created during the writing session. Some of them were pretty good, but a couple of them got stilted and otherwise sad. Trying to take an idea that was just written and then editing it down to the limit of 280 characters was really time consuming and just slowed down my entire writing process. My writing had no flow or effective path forward. Writing and them immediately editing that block of prose is not the way to go for my writing endeavors. For better or worse it is best to ride the winds of inspiration to produce prose and circle back when the winds calm down to edit after the point of inspiration. That is pretty much the best method for me to generate prose. Effectively that means opening a blank word processing document (Google Docs) and just typing until the need to type is done. A long time ago I used to really have to write before going to bed for the night. You could describe it as a bit of hypergraphia or the compulsion to write. 

All these ideas would show up and just sort of swirl around. At the time, I felt like they were all the most important things I could commit from inspiration to recorded prose. Being compelled to write really did end up taking a lot of sleep time and converting it to working time. Eventually over the course of writing millions of words my daily writing sort of morphed into something that happens in the morning instead of the evening. I wake up and in that foggy period of waking up and getting ready to go I work on writing until I do not want to write anymore. Maybe the mix of writing all day and working on academic things, Substack posts, and other projects has been the key to organizing my writing into a series of routines. I could end up with a better writing schedule beyond my reserved weekend morning writing blocks and sometimes a Friday evening block of time. Those times are usually enough to really dig in and do some academic work. To get that type of work done I need blocks of time that are uninterrupted and allow me to do deep work with a degree of focus that is beyond my other writing sessions. 

Given all of that previous argument above has been written and recorded, I have been working into a bit of writing for about thirty minutes now. A lot of my blogging content ends up being about the feeling and process of writing. I sit down and allow the stream of consciousness writing session to occur without any real control of it or reservations about it. To that end sometimes I end up with a bunch of process related content about writing and thinking about writing. You can find the other content being produced under separate cover based on academic articles and other types of content creation like Substack posts. At one point all of the content ended up floating around in the same stream and for me that worked out well enough as the whole process was to get things inflight for me out of intellectual curiosity.