Oh Hi Monday How Are Things? (Weeknotes 2021-11-29)

Hi Monday, how are you? Freezing, innit?

I had a post being written to try to think through my daily routine, but I’m not sure it’s ready. I’m struggling to focus the last week though, so I figured maybe writing some aims down on paper and in blog form would be a bit of a polariser.

A brick barn set against a blue sky

I had a burst of energy last Monday, got out of the house and had some good thoughts. Tuesday was admin, and the rest of the week I just felt pretty tired – I can’t tell if it’s some vague illness haunting me badly, the time of year and cold weather, or just coming down from "general life" the last few months. I don’t feel particularly overwhelmed or stressed, but I do feel like my brain has got used to doing eight things at once, and is confused when that’s not the case.

One of the things that my brain keeps nudging me on is that I’m not writing enough, not being open enough. Not in a bad way, more that I remember how useful writing up weeknotes was, and that writing things down is actually a good way to keep myself accountable to myself. That’s particularly useful nw that I’m doing My Own Thing. Writing things down makes it much harder to hide from the harder thoughts.

Last week I did update the Groundlake site to look more professional – it has a logo, a footer, and sets out my thoughts a bit better, I think. I’m happy to keep tweaking it, but I’m definitely a lot happier spreading the link round now. (Shout outs to Ash and Barney for helping me debug and improve it.) It was also fun to get into using Inkscape and understanding SVGs more.

I also sent out some feelers for conversations, namely to the Brighton New Media list and via the Climate Action Tech group Slack. That’s helping to line up a few conversations – I don’t want these to be sales calls, just to get to know people and get my head into it all properly. Compared to 3 months ago, I feel a lot more confident in that, which is good. I haven’t necessarily done or learnt much more, but I understand my own position and strengths in the space, and can talk about myself more confidently. I’m a terrible blagger 😉

Friday was also half-wiped out by looking after an ill son and taking him for a drive-through PCR test. It was nice to hang out with him, but also a reminder of how disrupted the world in general is these days. I still find it strange people don’t seem to be taking this into account more when planning contingency.

This week I really want to push more in getting better working practices in place. I still feel very scattered, jumping between emails, different projects and charities. I definitely still feel like I need to "win work" rather than "build something", and I don’t think that’s the right approach necessarily. And I feel like I’m against the clock a lot – stopping at 1 or 2pm is something I find hard to do.

I started reading Business for Punks recently, the book by BrewDog founder James Watt (assumedly before the more recent problems around a ‘toxic culture’). I found it in a charity shop for a quid or two and, while a lot of it is fairly pithy, generic punky statements, it’s also the sort of kick-in-the-butt I need at the moment, a good reminder that I’m doing what I’m doing now because I want to do what I want to do.

Which is hard. It’s hard to know what you want. It’s hard to stick with it (especially with my monkey mind). And it can also be hard to get that across to other people without sounding arrogant, or condescending. It’s a fucking minefield. (Yes, I swore because I wanted to. And because I want to be more like Writers’ HQ TBQH.)

Today I have sat down with my no-lines no-nonsense notebook and drawn one line for the year ahead (Jan-Dec), one for the next 3 months (Jan-March) and one more for December. I’ve started with a practical – what level of earnings do I really want/need in a year’s time? I’ve jotted down some thoughts for some basic things to set in place for 3 months. And I’ve brought things back to the Punk for the month ahead, because every day you kind of need to start by reasserting itself. Especially when those crazy dreams about giant staircases are still floating around.

Here’s what I have for my punky-asserty-month-ahead aims, organised into "outer" and "inner" for easier delineation between the kinds of work and the kinds of mindset I will need. (I find the "outer" stuff harder, and will hapily plug away at the "inner" stuff if left to my own devices, but that’s useless.)

Outer aims/principles:

  • Be visible
  • Be actively interestedin others’ work
  • Punk the interesting stuff (ie don’t be afraid to write with enthusiasm)

Inner aims/principles:

  • Practice your art (or my art. Who’s the bleedin narrator here?)
  • Catalogue learning
  • Do interesting work (duh, but so easily forgotten)

Each of those has led to some practical actions, so here’s what I want to get on with:

  • Keep track of interesting ideas somewhere, so I have a "reserve". Tie it in with my list of things to learn
  • Tidy up the styling and navigation on my Markdown-generated notebook pages, as the Groundlake section is becoming a useful asset
  • Look into getting my own servers running more sustainably. I’ve been with Mythic Beasts for a long time but can’t see any sustainability info on their site. And with the energy crisis kicking in recently, my home-hosted sites are now powered by Shell Energy 🤔
  • Set up a blog for Groundlake, for more relevant open notes. Use this as an opportunity to try out more static blog generators.
  • Talk about what I’m doing more on Twitter, Mastodon, and weeknotes

That should keep me busy.


Screenshot from NaissanceE showing a large underground city

  • Finished reading China Dream by Ma Jian. "Enjoying" may be the wrong word here – it was a tale that was bleak, fascinating, but one that needed writing and reading.

  • Watching Stath Lets Flats on channel 4, great casual viewing.

  • Finished playing through NaissanceE, a classic brutalist exploration/platformer from 2014.

  • Carrying on with Genesis Noir on the Switch.

  • Enjoying some Mario Kart 7 on the Nintendo 3DS. My friend code is available here 😉

  • Helping out at the new local repair cafe, where I failed to fully fix a CD/radio/tape-player, but did get it working on batteries.