When Good Intentions Collide

A workflow for writing and thinking and stuff.

January 7, 2014

Let me tell you about a few good intentions that are ever present in my life:

1) I think it’s a good thing to write words, sentences and paragraphs everyday. That’s not to say I do it, but I have good intentions about it. A few years ago, I even started a website called 501Words which was a shared writing exercise to produce a manageable 501 words everyday. The website launched with a fair amount of interest, and good intentions, from others. The interest didn’t sustain and after a year, I killed it. My good intentions, however, survived.

2) I have long had an ‘incubator’ of ideas that I want to develop or think more about. The tools have changed over time, but I’ve always found ways to quickly and easily store ideas that come to mind. Most have stayed the original few words or sentences that I first captured, never growing any further. Occasionally I review them, and admire how clever I was to think of such things. Or delete them.

Something fun happened with these intentions last year – they got married. It seems obvious now, but in mid-2013 it occurred to me that my daily writing would be a good place to work out all of these stymied thoughts. I have a folder in Dropbox1 where I now put ideas I want to explore. When I have a small block of time to write, I settle in to that folder, open up one of the ideas, and start building it out. Sometimes these are initial thoughts about a sermon I’m going to do, a concept I want to understand better, a conversation I’m going to have, or maybe even a blog post to draft (though that doesn’t seem to be the case of late). They can be anything – the ambition is that I want to write interesting words and think meaningful thoughts. This has me doing both.

1. I’m leaving out details of the technical setup on purpose. Maybe that’s a post for another time, but this is meant to be about the heart, and not the how-to, of the workflow. My guess is, if you have the same good intentions I do, you don’t need another post about nifty writing apps and setups.

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