Monthly Archives: April 2008

Writing In Bursts

One of my biggest downfalls when it comes to blogging and writing in general is my tendency to over think each individual sentence and word. I find that my output quickly grinds to a snail’s pace as I over analyze what I’m writing and search for the perfect turn of phrase. Even Mary, my lovely wife, has commented on how long it seems to take me to write what should be a quick email to a friend.

Becomes of the various projects I have in the works in conjunction with the big axodys reboot/remodel/axodys(heh!) I definitely want to start maximizing my writing efficiency. As such I’ve been looking into different strategies for improving my writing output.

Recently I got an email from Bum Marketing guru, Travis Sago, that included a link to a free ebook that offered various strategies for improving your writing speed. The ebook wasn’t particular long, but the idea that really jumped out at me was the idea of writing in short timed bursts.

There’s something about being up against a clock that has a certain appeal to me so I’m actually giving it a try as I write this. On the one hand I think the quality of my writing could drop, but I don’t think it will drop off that significantly. Mainly I’m curious to see how many words of cogent content I can get down on the screen, before my time is up. Finding a way to compete against myself is usually a pretty effective way for me to find improvement.

To aid me in this task I did a quick search on Google and downloaded the unassuming little widget I found called minutes (runs on MacOS 10.4 or higher). Minutes only takes up about a square inch on your dashboard and can be set for for up to 600 minutes or as few as 1. The downside of using a widget like minutes is that you can’t glance over at it to see a nice to-the-second countdown number unless you specifically pull up the Dashboard. On the other hand, minutes actually calculates what time of day the alarm will go off so you can glance at your menubar clock to see how much time you have before the alarm goes off.

Working against the clock allowed me to write the bulk of this post in a productive 15 minute block of time. I’m excited to further experiment with writing in bursts further because finding 10 to 15 minute chunks of time is very doable even at a place like our house where there are lots of young kids seeking my attention.

Of course writing in bursts is just one strategy and I’m sure that there are a lot of other good ideas for writing quickly and efficiencty. Please leave a note in the comments if you have any good tips or suggestions for increasing writing speeds.

What is Axodys?

A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds
 
–my daughter’s book of nursery rhymes

A Username

Axodys started out as my AOL username back in the mid 90s. I wanted a unique handle rather than some common term differentiated by a number so I combined two words I liked into a new one. Thus exodus + odyssey became axodys. Although I cast AOL aside at some point in the mid 90s, I continued to use axodys as my handle as the web grew in popularity in the late 90s and beyond.

A Blog

In early 1999 I decided to buy my own domain name and build a website; axodys.com was the logical choice. I didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t much in the way of blogging software at the time so I spent a couple months doing a hand edited weblog in bbedit until my interest and enthusiasm kind of petered out. Everything changed in the Fall of 1999 when Blogger was released as a free service to the internet. I immediately set up axodys.com as a blog utilizing Pyra’s breakthrough system and the rest was history. It was incredibly empowering to be able update from anywhere with web access after doing everything by hand for so long. Even more importantly I was part of a new and pioneering blogging community.

A Concept

At some point not long after creating the username Axodys, I began to think about what it actually meant. The meaning of the two original root words was important to me. An exodus usually means a departure from something- usually by a lot of people. An odyssey is generally a long and eventful journey. So what do you get when you combine these things? While I asked myself that question shortly after coming up with the word axodys, it was not something I ever really answered satisfactorily or even tried to too hard to figure out. I think early on the journey element had a stronger emphasis than the departure, but over time it’s coalesced into something a little more balanced in my mind. Yet it still defies a simple definition. At the moment I would describe axodys as a state of departure from old ways and habits, and an exploratory journey, metaphorical or physical towards new thoughts and knowledge. It’s about improvement, flexibility and evolution. And this is kind of zen, but it just occurred to me: axodys is itself subject to axodys. In other words axodys is constantly evolving further meaning while evading complete definition.

A Blog and Concept

So now that I’ve explained my conception of axodys where does that leave us? Well, I’ve been unsatisfied with the state of axodys.com for a long time. If anything is in need of axodys it’s axodys.com. If anything should be about axodys, it’s axodys.com. That said, at this point I really don’t plan to talk specifically talk about axodys very much. I really see axodys as more of an overarching theme and principle that I want to approach this blog with. Hopefully the changes and improvements I hope to make will reflect this in the coming weeks and months. At any rate, it’s time to weed the garden, please join me as I roll up my sleeves and get to work.

It’s Not An April Fools Joke

Early this morning I successfully migrated this blog from its longtime home at Cornerhost and onto a shiny new VPS at Slicehost. That was an educational process in and of itself that I’ll cover more in the near future, but that’s not the focus of this post.

The time has finally come to resume posting regularly on Axodys again. It’s been a long time coming; mainly because it’s something I’ve thought a lot about, but never acted on. “Paralysis by analysis” is certainly the phrase that comes to mind. That stops now.

For the past three or four years I’ve fiddled around with finding ways to monetize this blog and generating online income, but I’ve been generally unsuccessful. Part of the problem has been a lack of focus and direction. Axodys started out as a web learning exercise back before “blog” meant anything and although it has evolved quite a bit since its early beginnings it’s been tough to find the correct direction. Blogs that get a lot of traffic and have a lot of readers are generally pretty targeted to a given niche; Axodys has always been fairly random or a rundown on my daily minutia. That stops now.

It’s time to move forward. Come back tomorrow to see if I’ve finally figured out what that means.