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A Writer’s frustrating exodus journey from notes apps to online blogs

Kwenela Tubbs

Realizing that I had a problem by not having the right purpose

So I have a confession to make. I’ve been digitally hoarding so much information in the form of bookmarks, notes, and blog drafts because I had no end game of output for why I was writing and taking notes or collecting information. I had gotten swept into the dark rabbit hole of knowledge and note-taking to the point where my why I was writing had become my purpose for writing and that purpose was not publishing or sharing what I had been writing. All I was doing was just hoarding and learning while writing and not doing what I wanted to do which was publish. So needless to say I learned the hard way that I need to prioritize writing to publish instead of just writing for writing sake.

I was more excited about the concept of writing and being passionate about what I was writing about that I didn’t think until the last minute that I had not yet published what I had been writing. The passion was driving me but not the right one was doing the driving. I wanted to be passionate about there being an end game to my writing. Publishing would be just that, but at the time I had not yet prioritized this so I became my own form of distraction by making my purpose be designing systems and writing notes in those systems instead of writing to publish. And so with that came a collection of drafts and notes that were passionately unpublished in my notes apps instead of a blog text editor.


The endless exodus between multiple note-taking and writing apps

But it was not just the fact that I would be Taking notes for the sake of taking notes that I was distracted from publishing online; the same was happening to me collecting unfinished drafts when I would switch between different writing and note-taking apps.

I mean I learned a lot about myself in the process of me doing this because switching between so many apps helped me to discover my writing and note-taking style. I have even come across styles of writing and thinking that I had never heard of before. Some of which I had wished I knew more about when I was in school such as writing using the outlining technique or using thinking maps to help with brainstorming and writing.

My writing drive surged upon discovering writing in outline style and I recommend anyone who hasn’t tried it to give it a shot! So I can’t say that all of my time invested in my “self-discovery” was a waste since there were a lot of benefits to my procrastination to publish.

But the one downfall to this “self-discovery” process was that I ended up having stashes of finished and unfinished drafts in multiple apps, because between Learning that there is no all-in-one app that rules them all and realizing that I fell victim to shiny app-tool syndrome where every time a new app/tool would come out I used to think that the app would help me solve my internal problems; I would end up stashing batches of writing entries in a new shiny app thinking that I was starting with a clean slate by using a new app only to fill that app with the same problems that had caused me to leave the previous app. The app wasn’t the problem, I was the problem.

Image by Ag Ku from Pixabay

So I would continue to leave one app that didn’t work for me and my way of thinking to quickly go to a new app and start new drafts in that app, while leaving my previous work in the old app and the cycle would continue with sometimes me going back to apps I once started in only to leave them again—the agony!

Now this was something that didn’t just happen at one time or even over a few months; this was something that happened to me in the span of about 3-4 years and it has finally slowed down to an end for me now.

If I were to tell you how many apps I used I would end up turning this post into a blog series or end up making it into a tirelessly long listicle… so I don’t want to do that here.

Maybe I’ll write about those apps and my experiences with those apps in the future, but for now, I realized that I needed to do something with all of these notes/drafts that I had because while I was constantly app-switching I knew the amount of time I was wasting and it frustrated me more knowing this.

It had even gotten to the point where even though I loved writing I didn’t even want to open an app to write because I would feel like the session would just be a waste or a forgotten entry in yet another app.

This meme below beautifully described my frustration with starting with a simple app, to then juggling multiple apps and overusing too many apps all at the same time while trying to learn them and while coming up with complex systems in them to try to solve my digital dilemma that was—well—simple and could have been done with one or few apps from the jump.

Although I didn’t focus on starting with using Apple Notes for blogging and note-taking as this meme suggests, the same point is still there.

But either way, this meme has been circulating heavily amongst many digital note apps and productivity circles demonstrating what many of us writers and students have gone through with productivity procrastination. Some of us would set ourselves up making complex writing systems while switching apps and putting ourselves through so much frustration that we just ended up going back to where we started to leave our self-imposed frustration.


Switching priorities instead of switching apps and systems

…and my focus became clear when my priority was my focus.

I realized that I needed to switch my priorities to action steps. I realized that I needed to stop focusing on writing to learn and then archive what I learned, to focus on writing to publish. In that way whatever I would be writing, I would also be learning in the process of writing, and then I would archive that entry after I published it.

Doing this would prevent me from trying to develop complex systems in my apps where I would try to categorize and organize my thoughts, ideas, and captures instead of not focusing on what was in front of me to publish it.

Once I changed my priorities, I stopped caring about what app would be used for my blogging and stopped being concerned about what notes app I should choose to archive my finished drafts ( because you know I want to be able to keep an offline copy of everything somewhere); and I just focused on writing to publish my writings online.

My main focus: Curate Content For Christ

My main focus is to curate content for Jesus Christ and I had to learn that my focus was not organizing notes or trying to develop my own personal digital garden. Realizing that my focus was my calling to tend to God’s garden, His harvest, and produce the things that He would’ve already given me to do while sharing the experiences of the things that I had done that wasted my time in hopes that others don’t make the same mistakes that I have in the “cyber world” of writing.

So that’s basically what I’m doing here with my blog CybrScribe and yes that is cyber without the ‘e’. I have many different blogs because over the years I have accumulated so many drafts of blog posts that range in diverse areas so for me publishing online instead of keeping them somewhere locked away and archived in a notes app would be much easier for me. This could be something for you to consider if you are wanting to start multiple blogs at the same time. Just go for it! It is not as hard as you think!

The only switching I am now doing is sifting through my digital notes stash for the next blog entry to work on and publish instead of juggling between different notes apps and it feels good! Good, good!!! But there was still some kind of process that I needed to have in place for this to be consistent.


Picking my tools and sticking with them

So the first thought that I had for me to be consistent with publishing was to try to migrate and move all of my notes from other legacy apps that I didn’t use or like anymore and move them over into my current apps of choice that I’ve lately been committed to blogging in. The main apps that I have been consistent with starting my blogging exodus and publication are:

• Drafts App – My Idea Slipbox– for quickly capturing ideas through text or diction (some things are published directly to WordPress from drafts through a drafts action)

• Bear App – My Active Draft Entries– for writing my active only drafts that are being produced and edited for publication (this helps me to just stay focused on what I have in front of me instead of me opening an app that has hundreds of thousands of drafts to look at where I would have to make decisions over deciding to just to write what I have in front of me).

• Obsidian App My Archive and Gardening Entries– for archiving everything after it’s been published online (this is just a glorified text editor that can read my markdown files from a folder on my cloud of choice or desktop).


But then I realized that this would waste even more time for me to do by spending time trying to migrate drafts from over 20+ apps that I used in the past to bring them to the apps listed above, so doing so would be me putting myself back down my spiral of Productivity Procrastination where I felt dopamine rushes from again organizing and developing systems within my apps, while never getting to actually publish a thing.

So to avoid this I decided that I not only needed to “put my feet in the water”, but I needed to take action and just jump head first and start publishing everything that I have. In doing so I figured that this would be how I can “migrate” notes and unfinished/finished essays and blog posts from the many apps that they are in and publish them to online blogs.

So with this plan I would:

  • 1. Pick a drafted entry from any of the older apps that I once used or pick a newly captured draft from the Drafts app Iisted above.
  • 2. Decide if I’m going to work on it a little and publish it or trash it. (There’s no need to hold onto something if I can’t take action with it).
  • 3. Work on the draft I decided to go through with editing.
  • 4. Continue the process in batches and publish.

So by doing this, I would be organizing my drafts and producing them all at the same time since publishing a blog post online allows you to categorize and add tags to each entry depending on what platform you use. I’m currently using WordPress.org (different from WordPress.com)and using Hostinger.com for the hosting service.


I hope you found something valuable in my digital conundrum

So I wanted to share all of this in case you may be a digital writer that has or is in a similar bind as I was with having a TON of notes or half-finished/polished blog drafts while having no immediate plan of action to do something with them.

I say this especially if you have fallen into the PKM/Second Brain movement of the internet which I have called a cult in not all, but some areas to where I didn’t realize that I was in a cult until I saw that I was investing a lot of my time and money with no output.

I mean there have been a lot of success stories with people discovering the powerful usages of note-taking apps and PKM systems but for me, I gained a lot of knowledge with less application, and I like application over theorizing. I mean it’s even in the name of the digital tools I use: “apps”.

So the mass notes exodus is in commencement! I’m so excited! As described in my about page on my site; Nexus Notes, I have wayyyy too much to go through, organize, and digitally declutter and so this is my way of doing that while being productive in the process with publishing all these unpublished drafts.

So hopefully you’ll see more coming from me and I hope to see you writing online with fewer distractions as well!

Until then, see you later cybrscribes!


Cover Image credit: Werner Moser from Pixabay

cybrscribe-com

2 Comments

  • One thing I have actually noticed is that often there are plenty of misguided beliefs regarding the banking companies intentions when talking about foreclosures. One misconception in particular is the bank wants your house. The bank wants your dollars, not your home. They want the bucks they loaned you having interest. Averting the bank will still only draw a foreclosed summary. Thanks for your write-up.

    • Kwenela Tubbs

      That would make sense because the bank would not really have any personal vendetta against the homeowner they are foreclosing. It’s just business I would think. I don’t know that much about the housing market but based off of what you said the bank would be like the middle man similar to a repo person who is about to repossess your car right?

      I think a lot of times people are disgusted with those who abuse their positions at jobs that do take your possessions when it is all about the dollar signs to them.

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