My New “Sketchbook”

Published on Author Christopher Fahey9 Comments
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The WordPress blog admin “Dashboard”, where I am currently typing these words. If you look closely, maybe you can see what kinds of things I might be posting here in the future.

I have what I fancy to be interesting ideas just about all the time, and usually when this happens I like to start scribbling in my little portable paper sketchbook.

After blogging for only a few months, however, I now find myself rushing here instead, to my WordPress dashboard, to quickly jot down a few words — sometimes as little as a three-word title — and saving it into my growing list of unfinished blog drafts.

For those unfamiliar with WordPress or other content managment software, most blogs let authors save many unfinished posts as drafts before we actually “publish” them. I do this all the time. Later, I can work on these unfinished fragments from anywhere, whenever I feel ready to do so. I have over twenty of these fragments right now, some days old, some months old.

This is exactly how I work in my physical sketchbook, too. In fact, sometimes I wonder if using WordPress to express my ideas will diminish my output of drawings on paper, or if, instead, blogging will simply provide an additional channel — especially since the whole point of this site is to allow me to publish my sketchbook ideas fluidly and seamlessly alongside those ideas that come out as words. I think the latter is happening. I think I’m starting to get a feel for the voice and the beat of my blog, my publishing rhythm.

[Bonus: Can you find the paradox in this post?]

9 Responses to My New “Sketchbook”

  1. I go through this same issue. When I was commuting to work I would jot things down in my graphpaper pad. I could put lists, structure ideas, draw rough visualizations of the ideas. Now I often dump these into digital form directly, or try to.

    The act of working with paper seems to add something for me, but it is not in front of me. I have added a blank piece of paper that I use as a pad for my optical mouse. I write notes on it (often while on the phone) it fills in some of the gap.

  2. Actually, that is really interesting what you say. The way I work with ideas for drafts is that I email them to my gmail account and then attach a label to my gmail such as “A-D blog post draft” or “A-D draft” with the hopes of writing a story out of it later on.

    Actually what I have noticed is that if I dont write the article immediately, I never get around to it and the moment is lost.

    For instance, I wanted to write an article on how Marvel Comics is really just a propaganda tool and wanted to publish the article around the time that the new Captain America came out…. well it’s not on my blog so it never got written. I still think its a great topic – think yesterday Captain America fought Nazis and Fascism, Today there is a struggle between some super heros that dont want to register as WMD and others that want to fight for “freedom”…

    Anyway, sorry to bore you, hope you publish my comment!

    :) Fancy Nancy

  3. I do the exact same thing and our number of drafts look very similar. ;) Honestly, if I don’t jot down an idea I have, there’s a good chance it’ll die. Since I easily lose paper notes, I consider a server a much safer place to store my thoughts.

  4. yep, I’m the same too.

    I reckon of all the drafts that I write, about 30% of them are written up into posts in a timely manner, about another 15% are written up a long time after the idea was first recorded (usually because I’m having a mental blank for new things to write about), and the rest end up being deleted… eventually (either because I’m bored of them or because they were time sensitive and their time had passed!)

    i used to use gmail for this purpose – now it all goes straight into WordPress.

  5. Leisa: What you say about using drafts as a kind of emergency backup idea storehouse for days when I want to post but can’t think of anything is so true. If I just skim through my drafts, more often than not I can find something in there that I’m ready to bring to completion.

  6. I usually find it inconvenient to carry around a notebook, and in times when I could have a notebook I’m usually near a computer anyway, so I don’t use notebooks any more.

    Instead I have my wiki: http://fatcaterpillar.org/wiki/

    For times when I’m not near a computer I used the sound recording feature of my phone (Sony Ericsson K750i) as a little dictaphone. I can usually mumble enough into my phone to get down any idea, even in situations when I couldn’t use a notebook (moving train, outside in the dark, etc).

  7. Stewart: Using a Wiki as a notebook is awesome!! I don’t think it would suit my style, however. I am just waaay to conscious of my sketchbooks/notebooks being works of art, and wikis are just a little bit too spontaneous for my control-freak tastes.

  8. Did anyone get the paradox? Is it something to do with your new sketchbook still consisting of “graphpaper”? Please enlighten us.

    BTW I am new to the site, first visit, very interesting so far, keep it up. Cheers.

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