The curious case of the disappearing ideas
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- 5 min
I've taken to setting aside time in evenings to write these entries (and very late in the evenings - its currently 11:40 PM). This has mostly been fine in terms of my schedule. I have university during the day, and I also often have other activities such as choir in the early evenings, so the late evening is pretty much the only time that I can write my entries without having it potentially disturbing the rest of my day.
But this has also lead to another thing which has arguably already negatively impacted this blog - I've forgotten almost every idea of what to write by the time I reach my allotted writing time.
Sometimes, I have a good idea in the middle of the day, or something to discuss that I've just done, and either of these would be a good idea to type up as an entry. But by the time its the evening, after the vast majority of the day has gone and my focus begins to turn to the next day, I find it incredibly difficult to remember the details of my thoughts, the minutia of my activities or the ideas that came to me throughout the day. Admittedly, this isn't a particularly promising thing to admit at what is effectively the restarting of this blog, but in my opinion it is better that I am aware of this problem (especially as it would be likely to persist if never recognised) and am now able to think of methods to combat it.
One potential idea for me to do away with my structured day and instead to write whenever the ideas come to me. This is somewhat tempting, because starting to put down ideas when they are fresh often means that the ideas will all be left semi-formed for me to come back to later to fill in. I could quite easily see (however unlikely) my drafts folder reaching peak capacity, with too many half-formed (and likely duplicated) ideas left strewn around that I am left with the paralysis of too many choices. The main reason why I wouldn't necessarily want to do this approach, however, is because of the structure that I need for the rest of my life. I'm currently in the final semester of my Masters, and as I have previously mentioned, I am in the process of writing my thesis. Writing a thesis is a time consuming process, but I am also taking a full course-load in addition to my thesis, resulting in even more time being dedicated to university. Thus, I require a large amount of rigid structuring of my day in order to ensure that I am able to get all the work of the semester done (and its arguable that I still don't have enough structure to comfortably make it to the end of semester with full marks).
Another idea is to note down ideas in a journal of sorts, with none of the ideas as fleshed out as they would be (this is arguably just a variation on the above). I already keep a small Moleskine journal on me to keep track of my tasks for the day, which has often proved invaluable in ensuring I don't forget assessments. Without modifying my day much, I could quite easily take short notes of my day and my ideas for this blog. The disadvantage of this approach is simply that I would likely need to provide myself some context for each thought in order for my previous thoughts for each topic to be able to be recanted as I had originally thought. Even of the topics I have already covered, if I had just written the title in my journal, I doubt that I would have been able to restate all of the points that I have.
Even as I struggle with this, I am lead to be incredibly impressed with the various YouTubers that I see uploading new content on a regular basis. Whilst it is arguable that some topics practically write themselves (product reviews or political news come to mind), the variety work between those topics needs to be interesting for their existing audience to continue to want to watch it. I think an example of this is LinusTechTips, who upload six videos a week on their main channel (and even more on their other channels). Whilst the majority of their content is product reviews or based on technology news, in the last two weeks alone they've included videos about a Chinese x86 chip, a budget build from the jankiest origins, run a "tech support" challenge, done a video on the custom air conditioning in Linus' home, discussed a pyramid-shaped case that was requested and looked at the remaining players in the (arguably dead) sector of mp3 players. That's an incredibly wide range of topics, all of which appeal to their audience and all of which have an incredibly large number of views, but all entirely original content ideas. That they have been able to keep up with the insane schedule of new videos, all whilst keeping fresh and original ideas coming over a matter of years is incredibly impressive to me.
I suppose I should hope that I can do the same.