0625 – consolidate your thoughts

I feel a slight increase in mental clarity after finalising my thoughts on a project that I want to work on. I know it seems counter-intuitive that a new project might be mind-clearing – the reason this works is that the project draws upon existing raw material in the junkyard of my mind. It’s kind of like one of those puzzle games where you have to connect the dots – I just figured out a way to get rid of a lot more dots in smart, elegant way that makes sense to me, and so I’m quite proud of that. I don’t want to talk about it explicitly here because I want to keep it separate from myself – I want it to be anonymous. There’s no particular reason why this is the case, I’ve just gotten a little tired from being so public-facing all the time and using my real name and face on every goddamn thing I do, so I think it would be quite refreshing to have the opportunity to write in a place with an ‘anonymous’ voice. That scratches one of many itches.

What are the other itches? Well one of them is that I want to be writing for an audience. My blog used to be for my circle of friends – that became obsolete once Facebook and Instagram (and Snapchat, I suppose) became things. Then it evolved into something to talk about Singaporean news. I got tired of that because I found myself becoming very sensationalist. So I stopped, pulled out, decided to do the 1000wordvomits project. It’s been literally 4 years since I’ve started the project and in that time I’ve only written for myself, and for my company’s blog at work. And of course, probably thousands of comments on reddit and hacker news, and posting on Facebook and Twitter and so on. But none of that scratches the itch I want to scratch – which is to write something that adds up to something big. Yes, the 1000wordvomits project will add up to a million words, which is cool, but it’s not FUNCTIONAL.

What else? Well earlier on the way home from work today I was thinking that I’d really like to do a sort of “Operation Clean Slate”, and really wipe out as many things as I possibly can. I’m sitting in my study now and looking at my thick stack of books and I’m wondering how many of them I’m ever actually seriously ever going to read. Probably less than half. Maybe less than 25%. Why am I keeping so many around? It’s just this weight of obligation that’s a little too much to bear after a while, seriously. And I’m also thinking of all the remaining detritus (this is my new most reused word) that’s lying around – my notebooks from my teenage years. Haven’t I taken pictures of them over and over again? How many times do I have to do that? Why don’t I just get rid of them? I suppose I want to have them kind of represented in some sort of “one touch” format. Meaning… I want to get, at a single glance, all of whatever I wanted to get out of 2010, 2011 and so on. Kind of like a really good summary that’s evocative and makes me think. I think I was overly fixated on making that public-facing, which again isn’t really necessary. I can really just do it right here in Evernote. I could start by having a notebook for each thing, with separate notes for the sub-parts inside it. Once all of those are done, I can get rid of the thing. Then, I can see how I’d like to consolidate the notes. In a sense every book is a sort of book of book of books, in terms of how the information is organised.

Anyway. What net? I need to go to work tomorrow, and so I need to get to bed as soon as possible, and so I need to finish this word vomit as soon as possible. Can I hit upon one more interesting-ish thing to say? Well I’ve been learning while doing my overall reviews that the frustrating thing to see when reviewing old word vomits is multiple topics within a single vomit. Because then I can’t just put it in one or the other – or if I do, I have to decide to downplay one thing or another. Therefore, when writing a word vomit, I should try my best to stick to one topic. What’s the topic here? Heh – my wife is coding up a game of Tetris, and the thing about tetris is you have tetrominoes (beautiful word) that form rows and disappear. And that is what I want. I want things to disappear from my head, from my life. How would I feel if I came home and all my books were just gone? Would I actually be sad? Not really. I can always buy more books if I really want to. In my head I’d like to reduce each book to a note on evernote, or a blogpost. Well it has to be one. I should have a system. And then I can just “digest” everything and never have to revisit the book unless it’s so good that I really want to. Every book should have a sort of scoring system, a sort of comment.

Yeah, that’s another thing I’ve learned while going through my massive trail of vomits. That everything should have a comment for later. That’s how you have decent code, too, right? You’re going to forget what you were up to so you want to remind yourself and leave waypoints and signposts for yourself.

All in all I have a pretty good feeling about 2017, at least so far. I need to break it down quarter by quarter, month by month, week by week. Stay focused. Eliminate things that aren’t necessary. Write the reviews. Do the reading. Get it all done. You can do it, Visa. I believe in you.

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