How the words get here

I’m process oriented. I want to figure something out once, and then move on to having other interesting thoughts or experiences. That leads me to a sort of, “do one, cross off two,” mentality; I try to do more work up front—do the more complicated things first—in an attempt to reap a larger gain in the long run. I’m a tool builder you could say.

But my power of process, can also be a problem. There is, of course, an XKCD for this lesson: I digress.

Today, I wanted to share a bit of the process that I use to distill the things I find, and to focus my thinking. (I’m not going to go into how I find things, nor how I ensure a fresh “stream” of those things is brought to my attention.)

I have a WordPress-based blog using my own domain name. I also have a separate email account with a non-obvious address. It’s in my address book at “blog – Postie to Blog” [as you can see in the screenshot].

Whenever I see, read, or find something that inspires an interesting train of thought, I fire off an email to this special address. I simply brain dump my thinking. I insert bare URLs into the email. I put a “>” in front of blobs of text I want to show quoted. But I don’t bother with any formatting; it’s all just basic text.

I use the Postie plugin for my WordPress site. It’s an email client which periodically looks in my special mailbox and creates draft posts on my site. It deletes the emails as it creates the drafts.

When I want to work on blog posts, I go into my WordPress site and look at my drafts. I clean up the draft—fixing anything that I couldn’t stand having out on the internet. I dress up the links, organize the quoted parts, season it with my personal style, etc.. Very rarely, I’ll simply delete a draft. This has the advantage of giving me a chance to review my ideas for posts at some distance from when I initially captured it. Most of the time, I can see ways to drastically improve the post, but I don’t bother preferring instead to post the snapshot I had originally captured. I schedule the post for whatever day I want it to go out on. I’m writing this blog for my own benefit—it’s part of my process of reflection. So it’s not usually important when any particular post goes public.

Finally, I have a Mail Chimp account that has a recurring Campaign. It follows the RSS feed from my site, and emails whatever it finds to be new at 11am every day.

Why? Well, that’s probably best left for another day.