And thinking about writing is not the same as writing.

Reading about writing is not the same as writing.

Tweeting about writing is not the same as writing.

Having a conversation about writing is not the same as writing.

Shawn Blanc in Writing vs. Writing

Replace writing with whatever it is you want to do. Designing, taking photographs, running a marathon. You’re not doing it unless you’re doing it.

Writing vs. Writing by Shawn Blanc

Send your Instapaper reading log to Readability ›

The web has been a buzz with Readbility talk this last week. I’ve been waiting to hear how it’s going to work with Instapaper, which has just been answered by Marco in this post.

The question I’m still left with is. What if I find an article I want to read because someone I respect has linked to it, but which I really don’t agree with? I only support things I believe in and not everything I save to Instapaper falls into that category.

My First Conference (Part Two)

I’ve been trying to work a seemingly random collection of thoughts into a follow up post about New Adventures conference. It’s not really happened so I’ve chosen to just throw them out there to anyone who is interested.

Overall I enjoyed the day, it was fun, informative and pushed me out of my comfort zone, teaching me things about design and myself that are valuable and I am processing in order to improve.

Most enjoyable was Brendan’s talk. He was the most entertaining in delivery and engaged the audience excellently. His passion for design is infectious, but something I felt myself identifying with straight away. I don’t obsess over using the right pencil, but my friends can attest that I do obsess over other seemingly pointless items.

Most disappointing was Veerle Pieter’s talk about inspiration. I really enjoy Veerle’s blog, and so was looking forward to hearing her talk but, for me, it had too much example and not enough insight. I was hoping for some processes which people could adopt or adapt to make their own and use as triggers in the creative process. I know we all work differently, but hearing how someone goes about finding inspiration when all they are hitting is brick wall after brick wall can be inspiring in itself. Veerle also seemed to contradict some of the talks from the morning, with a theme of doing something a certain way because you like it rather than for a particular reason. Whilst design is subjective and sometimes we go with our gut, there’s usually reason for doing it beyond “I like it”.

Most thought provoking was Dan Rubin’s talk on maturing the industry by developing a language that has meaning and that everyone can understand. Having moved to a new job around 3 months ago and having had the opportunity to work on a couple of web jobs, this struck a cord. The things I mean when I refer to something and the things they mean when my new colleagues refer to something are easily confused on these jobs, however, when it comes to a print job everyone knows exactly what the other person means.

Elliot’s talk, Andy Clarke’s, Jon Tan’s and Mark Boulton’s were also some of the most informative, interesting and thought provoking talks that left me feeling inspired and motivated. Good stuff that I have already noticed is informing the way I work.

New Adventures was a really good day, which I thoroughly enjoyed, hopefully I’ll get to a few more in the future and I’m certainly hoping that I can make it to New Adventures 2.

Fragmented Attention ›

The complaint comes from the fact that a lot of us are sick of the friend or acquaintance who gives us less than their full attention. The complaint also comes because we’re starting to get tired of being that person ourselves. Especially when we see the cost is has on our relationships with those we care for the most.

Focus isn’t just about doing things. It’s about making sure it’s on the people it should be.

More Ideas Than Time, but More Time Than Focus by Shawn Blanc ›

Shawn hits the nail on the head once again.

Often I find myself wrestling with the tension that I have more ideas than time. There are many great things I want to do and build and ship and start, but I just don’t have the time to do them. However, I’m finding that the real problem is not my lack of time — it’s my lack of focus.

I think we all struggle with the notion that we don’t have enough time to do all that we want. In reality we don’t have the focus to do them. Time is a constant that we have no control over, focus and motivation come and go, what matters is how we make the most of it when we have it and how we generate it when we don’t.

What’s Better Than Productivity in the Office? ›

Having recently started a new job, I found this post from Shawn particularly topical.

…there is something much more vital than productivity to the success of a work environment: unity. Will this person fit in, get along, and bring the unity of the team up a notch? It’s not until that question is answered that I then look for teachability and, lastly, talent.

The very fact that I get on well with my new colleagues makes it easier to go into work and I already feel a sense that we look out for each other during the day. I already know when we are up against it, instead of moaning, we’ll pull together to do the best we can.

My First Conference (Part One)

This week I’m heading to my first design conference in the form of New Adventures in my home town ((Well 25 minutes outside of the city is technically my home town, but I was born in Nottingham so close enough.)). In the past I’ve always looked in on conferences from the outside, so when I heard about naconf I figured it was time to take the leap.

As someone who works primarily in print but has a real fascination with the web I’m hoping to learn a lot and figure out where my layout skills can cross over to the screen. I’ve heard it said many a time that print designers shouldn’t switch to the web, but equally I’ve seen many high profile designers achieve great things in both formats.

I’m most looking forward to hearing some of the best in the business share some valuable insights into the various topics. In particular I’m looking forward to hearing Veerle Pieters share some thoughts on triggering inspiration and how we can break through the block we all suffer from time to time. One of the things I find hardest when I’m designing for the web is inspiration. When you use the web so regularly it’s very easy to let yourself fall in to a pattern of “this goes here, that there…” and before you know it you have a very insipid run of the mill website. I’m hoping I may pick up a few techniques to help me use my experience in designing for print be the inspiration for designing for the web. ((I was going to go on here highlighting all the things I’m looking forward to, but, as I began writing I realised I’d be highlighting all the talks in the schedule. It seems, unsurprisingly, that they all compliment one another nicely.))

Since it’s my first conference I know I won’t be able to soak everything up all in one go, but I’m going armed with a brand new Moleskine and I’m hoping the notes I make will compliment the slides when they are released. The whole day will be a learning experience, but the learning doesn’t just stop once I’ve left the venue. It continues in the follow up and, most importantly, in my efforts to put what’s been said into practise.

Beyond the talks, I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting a few of the people I’ve come across on the web. Be it via blogs, twitter or some other means it’d be great to meet some new faces in the industry. So if you read this, or follow me on Twitter do come and say Hi!

Be brilliant at the basics ›

Some excellent little quotes from David Airey well worth taking on board. I particularly liked this one.

“Your corporate culture is not something that can be ‘rolled out’; it is the sum of what individuals do on a day-to-day basis. And understanding why they do what they do.”

As with any culture, a business one has to grow not be imposed.

Leaving Tumblr

It’s been just under a year since I began trialling Tumblr as the basis of my blog. At the time I was writing from Electric Weekend but had been struggling thanks to several events that happened at the end of 2009. In an attempt to get back in to the swing of blogging I’d decided to make a clean break from my first blog and start again.

For a while I posted regularly but I soon fell in to a trap of consuming rather than writing. Tumblr makes it very easy to find new blogs to follow, not a bad thing, but I found it all too easy to consume rather than create. However, in the last month or so I’ve begun to feel that desire to create again, to write on a more regular basis. Not only that but I wanted more control, and this is the driving force behind my move back to a WordPress based site.


One of the things I used to enjoy most about my old site was the ability to change things up should I feel they’ve become stale. I could more easily try out new features should I come across something I liked the look of. But it goes beyond this, I wanted more control of the fundamentals of the site.

One of the things that has frustrated me most, not necessarily with my site, but with the sites of bloggers who use Tumblr, is the poor archives. It’s frustrated me that I’ve not been able to find a link or an article on someone’s site. It’s such a bad experience that I began to think people, or at least some people, will have the same trouble finding things on my site as I’m having here.

It all boils down to the fact that I’d like to design the overall experience people have on my site and the only way I can do that is to move to a self-hosted platform.


So having admitted I’d like to have more control over my site, here I am using a default theme. Well the answer to that is simple. I wanted to make the move while I had the desire to write more. I’ve already wasted a month knowing I wanted to leave Tumblr, and so rather than wait until I’d got a fully designed blog I decided to make the move now and begin tailoring my site as I settle in to my new surroundings.

But not everything is running without some customisation. I’ve already begun my design process with the URL’s ((Thanks to a little inspiration from Ian Hines.)) which feature a more friendly sentence like structure that I hope will grow as I develop the site.

You’ll also notice that comments are available on this post. Having not had comments on my site for a long time I’ve begun to feel that on certain posts it might be quite nice to try and foster a bit of conversation, they won’t be on by default but I hope to be able to turn them on from time to time.

I’m also hoping to find a way to bring most of the content from my Tumblr site into this one so that everything from PBcom can be archived here. But whilst all this is going on, I now feel I have a website where I can start to be myself again. Somewhere I’m hopeful I can get back into the flow of blogging regularly, with a mixture of long form articles and links. A place where I’m happy to create is far more important to me than discovering even more content. This year I’m hoping to use my time more wisely, and hopefully this move is the first step in using my online time in a more productive manner.