I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

In Search Of Flow

Like most of the world, the arrival of an iPad in my life has meant a lot of my estab­lished routines and beha­viours have changed. I’m no longer set­ting up camp on my sofa with my Mac­Book Pro to spend some time read­ing RSS feeds and going where the links take me, instead this time is being spent using my iPad. I find I’m using my Mac­Book Pro a lot less than I used too, that’s not neces­sar­ily a neg­at­ive thing though, as the time that I do spend on my Mac­Book Pro is much more mean­ing­ful than it used to be. I’m find­ing myself going through a shift in mind­set as I’m more focused when I sit down with my Mac and don’t find myself drawn to the likes of Twit­ter and Reed­er. My pro­ductiv­ity has increased, which can only be a good thing as I gradu­ally pick up more freel­an­cing work. The work that I am doing has become more mean­ing­ful, that is with one excep­tion. Here.
The blog. It’s slipped and largely because of my shift in beha­viour. Most of my blog­ging revolved around read­ing inter­est­ing art­icles and cur­at­ing them on my site. This then drove me to write longer form con­tent when I wanted and when some­thing attrac­ted me suf­fi­ciently. I now find myself both link­ing less and writ­ing less. Not good.

Reading a Ton More

I fol­low a lot of very good blogs, most of the things I read are on the inter­net and since get­ting my iPad Instapa­per has really come in to it’s own. Shawn Blanc nailed it when he wrote

So in short, Instapa­per is the best way to read the Inter­net. And the iPad app … is the best way to read your Instapa­per articles.

The trouble is, if a large por­tion of your read­ing mater­i­al comes from the inter­net, the desire to share increases. It’s so easy in today’s world to share some­thing to Twit­ter or Face­book, but if you want to add a little com­ment­ary to that link and share it on your blog, well it’s a little trick­i­er. On the Mac I can hit Cmd‑1 and MarsEdit will fire up with the link pre-pop­u­lated and any selec­ted text quoted. On the iPad, thats not so easy. Theres no MarsEdit for iPad and well, quite frankly, the iOS Word­Press app sucks and copy & past­ing back and forth between apps isn’t the easi­est or quick­est way of doing things. Put quite simply the bar­ri­er to entry for post­ing on the iPad was too high.
So what’s the big deal? Well, like many people I like to write. I don’t con­sider myself a writer but one of the reas­ons I star­ted blog­ging was to give myself anoth­er cre­at­ive out­let; a place to stretch muscles that don’t neces­sar­ily get stretched all that much; a place to, should I need, release a little about top­ics that don’t neces­sar­ily interest my friends.
I miss it.
The trouble is I don’t really know where to begin, and so in my usu­al man­ner I began to prob­lem solve. The con­clu­sion I reached? I find it easi­er to write when I have a reas­on­ably steady flow of things going through the blog. Some momentum. The best and easi­est way of cre­at­ing that momentum, or gen­er­at­ing flow, is by cur­at­ing links and point­ing people to oth­er well writ­ten and inter­est­ing content.
For once my think­ing on this sub­ject seemed to coin­cide with some oth­er folk on the inter­net. Shawn Blanc and Ben­jamin Brooks touched on this recently in The B&B Pod­cast. When they vis­it a site they want to see art­icles before they will begin to meas­ure if you are worth fol­low­ing. Some­thing I agree with quite strongly, if there is a good art­icle on a site I vis­it I will take note, if there are a couple in close suc­ces­sion, chances are you’ll end up in my feed read­er. But if there are large gaps between art­icles and noth­ing else pos­ted it makes a site feel stag­nated, a stag­na­tion I feel has begun to devel­op here. I want my site to feel alive and the best way to do that is to write reg­u­larly, and, because I’m out of prac­tice the best way to break a cycle of not post­ing is to link to oth­ers. It’s not and nor should it be the sole pur­pose, but an act­ive site is a cared for site and a cared for site usu­ally brings good content.

Beginnings of a Redesign

Seek­ing out an easi­er way of build­ing that flow led me down the path to the begin­nings of a redesign. I needed an easy way to share links on the blog.
So to help me begin to devel­op this flow I’ve made a few changes to the site. A slight facelift which aligns to a grid but really is a frame­work for the future and has allowed me to make a couple of adjust­ments to the beha­viour of my links. For those of you who have noticed the titles of the links now point straight to the site I’m link­ing too, so rather than includ­ing the link in the text as I’ve done in the past I’m now free to just include my thoughts. It leads to a more stream­lined way of post­ing from both the iPad and my Mac.
Thanks to Ben Brooks’ adjus­ted book­mark­let and the plu­gins that it requires I can now post more eas­ily to the site. The pace isn’t quite what I’d like it to be but it’s devel­op­ing and my hope is that I can pay more atten­tion in the long run and begin to write my own art­icles with a little more reg­u­lar­ity than the sporad­ic post­ing that I seem to have settled into.