On My Writing Workflow

Writing going forward is going to be both fun and challenging. I thought about it a lot yesterday as I wrote for the first time and worked on setting up the website. I thought about what I would write and when I would write it. I thought about the tools I’d use to minimize the interrupts and distractions. I thought about a lot, mostly because I tend to over analyze things but also because I’m excited about writing.

I don’t really have the time early in the morning to write as I usually work out at 5:00 am and then head to work around 6:30 am. I do have around 30 minutes of time when I’m on the train in the morning and in the evening on the return trip home. I think that’s the ideal time to write uninterrupted with as few distractions as possible. What I’m hoping though is that the train time doesn’t force my writing into a particular direction or box.

Heading into work my mind is usually winding up for the day thinking about what needs to be done or what stressors I’m about to take on (insert demanding traders). Working in the financial trading industry as a programmer is very challenging and taxing mentally. This means that by the time I’m heading home I’m usually mentally drained and most nights just end up reading twitter, my RSS feeds, or a good book.

So between the winding up at the start of the day and winding down at the end I’m hoping to take some time to write. This leaves late at night to write as well but given the fact that I have a loving wife and kids waiting for me I don’t see that happening until well after 8 o’clock.

So before even starting this endeavor it seems I have some challenging goals … all the more reason I need to stay organized and focused on making this work each day. One of the things I’m doing to stay focused is creating a workflow that should make it easier for me to write, edit, and publish without thinking. Most of the time should be focused on writing and little to none on the other two steps. I’m not discounting the editing step, I’m just trying to focus on writing what comes to mind and less about making it perfect.

I’ll be doing most of my writing on my iPad Air, though I can’t rule out using my Macbook from time to time either as I can certainly type faster. For editors on the iPad I’m trying out a few (Ulysses, iA Writer, Byword, Editorial, WordPress, Plaintext, and WriteRoom). The best so far has been Ulysses (which I’m using right now) though it lacks the upload abilities I’d like to simplify my workflow. I can always copy & paste into WordPress and just hit the publish button though which is pretty simple. It’s also a markdown editor which means I can write everything in a nerd friendly format and yet it’s still rich when published.

I have yet to try out Ulysses on the Mac as it costs too much for this early stage in my project. It does have iCloud sync support which is awesome and the developers seem really responsive to users. Perhaps on month 2 or 3 when I’m certain this is going to work and want to try something new. I don’t want to waste a ton of time twiddling and toying with applications later though as that’ll likely eat into my writing time.

For my blog I’m going with my trusted use of WordPress. I’ve used it for years and can configure it pretty quickly. I’m trying to select (or tweak) a theme that’s focused on reading and nothing else. Again, I don’t want to spend the time twiddling and tweaking my blog, I’m doing that all now. I want to focus on writing and at most maybe approving comments or replying to them (assuming anyone reads this).

From time to time if I read something that inspires me I’ll link to it. It could be a blog post, a book, or something else. I’ll try to do the linking as a footnote in the piece or if it makes sense inline. Given the writing is the focus here and not the link I’m leaning toward footnotes.

Finally at the end of each writing I’ll be putting the word count. Mostly to stay accountable to the goal of 750 words but also so you can get a feel for the length of each piece.

Word Count: 765

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