Category Archives: Weird

When you have no idea what to write, use randomness in your favor

I've been trying to keep up a daily pace to blogging here; that's been my habit for almost ten years. The problem is that it's not always easy to know what to write about.

I've taken to using a few prompting tricks to help sort through some ideas about what to write about. The simplest one is one I haven't heard of before: use the day of the month as a key into the letters of the alphabet, and thus write about something appropriate for that day. E.g. on the 1st of the month be inspired by the letter 'A' categories, on the 10th come up with something appropriate for 'J', and today the 23th come up with something to do with 'W'. If you have enough categories, this actually isn't too hard; I have "Weather", "Web/Tech", "Weblogs", "Weird", "Wiki", "Winter", and "Writing" to choose from. X is much harder.

The same trick works to sort semi-randomly through your contact files, looking for the long-lost "U"-lettered friends on the 22d.

Equal attention by letters of the alphabet does not guarantee an equal balance of attention across all things; you'd be better off somehow taking the old encyclopedic route of splitting C into Ca-Ch and Ci-Cz, and lumping W-X-Y-Z together. 

A little bit of deliberate randomness makes it appear as though you are more attentive to odd things than you might otherwise get if you just focused in on the simple things. Brainstorms that focus on something that are not for today's letter can be scheduled for posting into the future on the appropriate day-slot. 

I find myself wishing that my contact manager would let me graph frequency of names across two dimensions, so that my name would be 5 across and 22 down, sorted together with all of the other E. V.'s out there.

Anyway, just one more great weird idea to throw out into the world.