I have an envy and awe for writers who do it longhand. Sure, they are mostly dead or (I suspect) lying but having one medium, one channel for catching thoughts, to-dos, note taking, developing ideas, sketching and writing has a definite appeal. I take a lot of notes on little folded pieces of paper and write in a variety of paper journals but often that becomes more of a long-term thought buffer for ideas that were intended in the moment of their conception as a something to act on immediately.
Similarly, I throw a lot of junk into Evernote that I never look at again. All the starred items from my RSS readers (yes, plural… I have yet to find a mobile one that suits me) end up there, typically never to be looked at again. There’s also the Send-To-Kindle button for long form things which do get read and marked up with notes (see the intense man in gray furiously thumbing his battered 3rd Gen Kindle Keyboard on the train) but those notes are stored in such an obtuse format and synched to nothing and nowhere (Amazon: the features you want, just implemented in a terminally awkward manner)
What I need is to be seeing more Interesting Things in the time when I am otherwise searching for novelty by sifting through the internet. The piece that’s missing is some mildly intelligent app that pulls from these things and flings old notes back in my face to be reread and dealt with when I am sitting down with the time to do something about it. Perhaps it could be activated by a big physical button on my desktop labeled “I’m Starting to Fuck Around”. Further, it should sort the 80,000 things I’ve tagged #watchlater into a single channel, playing one after another, sorting the shorter blips together, and putting the longer stuff (>7min) on a sidebar for when I have some serious non-typing time in me.
Despite what my consumerist impulses tell me, personal history has taught me that the solution isn’t a new fancy piece of technology or a subscription to a service that I’ll not look at again but just a better arrangement of what I’m already using. A few settings tweaks and some bigger behavior tweaks. Take the time to arrange the pieces and go forth, yelling at the stupid little man at the controls somewhere inside my skull.
The first step, obviously, was writing this.