I used to write more frequently about assessing the evolution of my writing processes. Whether that was the actual writing process itself or the production involved with the conception to publication of these essays. I haven’t done so lately, admittedly, because I haven’t given myself time to look back at where I’ve been. The tool I wish I would have added sooner was my writing calendar, “Betcal.” Here’s why and how I wrote this essay.
“Betcal” is just my name for my writing schedule.
I’ve had myriad documents like this over the years. I write them even today, based on the calendar, but localized so I can organize my thoughts. The secret sauce that made this list successful was two-fold. First, it’s easily accessible for anyone, and easily editable for me on any device I’m using. Second, I can visually see what essays I need to fill in the gaps next. I still make mistakes where I choose the wrong day for publication, so sometimes, close readers will see duplicate or missing entries for 7am or 7pm timeslots, but at the moment, this is all me.
No editors, no readers, not even any WordPress double-checkers.
Having a visual aid like this is helpful for me since I was able to piece together what I needed to work on next based on how I felt. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write exactly about how it looks now, but let’s go ahead and refer to that.
Below, you’ll see a screenshot of how Betcal looks on May 12.
The N stands for JuNe while the L stands for JuLy.
My next essays to write are for June 25 7pm, June 26 7am, 7pm, then Jun 28pm, and et cetera. I had alternating purple and pink for the essays I wanted to write each day, but with my current energy levels being at around low to non-existent, it’s more aesthetic, I suppose. The last time I worked on the infrastructure of Betcal, I had tentatively planned Media Meandry essays for most mornings and Downsizing Zeal essays for most evenings, but I’m flexible as long as Saturdays and Sundays have essays on “The Story” and Sober Living and Wednesdays have Rowing Machine essays and Sober Living essays.
It’s a complicated schedule, but I have some reason for it.
I want to write about a variety of topics while having those anchor days. I may skip around but ideally, I’d like to write chronologically, so unless I have a bunch of sobriety topics to write about that might fill in those eight gimme slots, I like to keep some balance in that regard. I thought about publishing an essay that will publish on June 27 at 7pm in this slot instead, but although it does dig into some trying information, I didn’t feel like weighing myself down by thinking about that topic and using it as the focal point of additional essays. Instead, I went to this picture I’d saved on April 03 at 7:24am.
Here’s how Betcal started off back in November:
Without having an actual calendar, I didn’t know where to slot things in.
Although that has betrayed me once or twice, where I thought something was scheduled for publication in a certain timeslot but wasn’t, or there was a double-booking, those are easy enough to fix by checking the main page. It would be easier to have a support team to clear out some of these problems, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I accept these as post-production steps, like my pre-production steps, which is where I’ll write about how I wrote this essay.
I’d vaguely wanted to write this essay since April.
Even after taking the screenshot, I wasn’t inspired to write about the topic, so it sat in my queue until today. I looked over things to write about after watching some Tested videos about shop organization. The tools of my workshop are a laptop and some folders with things, but watching Adam Savage talk about upgrading his physical infrastructure is always uplifting and motivating for me, so I rode that wave of inspiration to this essay.
I rolled over the scope of this essay while watering my virtual plants in Viridi.
There’s something to be said for micro-procrastination where you give yourself about five minutes or less to mull over ideas, like letting your mind’s backburner heat up an idea to just warm enough to serve. Too much procrastination can lead to rewards being wasted without the efforts you had wanted. But in small doses, procrastinating with something else can ease your mind into a process that might seem overwhelming before you began your micro-procrastination.
I loaded up an album for background music and edited the screenshots.
I uploaded them and began referring to my list of general notes for how I wanted to write this essay. I usually like tracking when I start and finish writing so I know how long it takes, but sometimes, that locks me in unhealthily. I had forgotten for this essay, but I’ve been in a lot of general pain, so, oh well. I have some generic templates for each time of essay I write. I loaded one of those templates, which includes the general formatting of the WordPress site and the Endtable you’ll see below.
After uploading the pictures and getting this all prepped, I’m ready to write.
The writing process itself is mostly just writing what I’m feeling at the moment, following my mind’s imagination, over any strict reference points, usually. This essay used some quotes from my notes, but others might just have a strong enough of an idea to where I blast through this in enough time where I don’t even think about it. Writing something deconstructive like this of my process does imply a certain degree of metatextuality where it has to be just self-aware enough to not lose its coherence.
Other than adding in the May 12 screenshot spontaneously, everything flowed from start to finish over some forty minutes.
|Sources: My personal experiences, mainly.|
|Inspirations: Besides the Tested videos about shop organization? Here, let me paste in my notes, unedited:
roll over the idea in viridi
original at 7:24am on April 03
Here’s why and how I wrote this essay.
Lately, I’ve been trying to use some general reference, where here it was “Here’s why and how I wrote this essay,” to avoid going too far off-topic. Generally, however, I just write what I feel like writing. Hopefully me writing about how I write helps you in your writing or doing whatever it is you do.
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshots: Before and now of Betcal.|
|Written On: 2020 May 12 [7:30pm~ to 8:10pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 May 12 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|