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.