The Go Note Go / Snippets Divide

I love using Go Note Go. Sitting down with no screen, just a keyboard, feels really good. It clears my head, and straightens out my thoughts. I imagine meditation feels similar to some people.

In some ways, Go Note Go is fulfilling some of the early objectives of snippets. It allows me to write without hesitation or uncertainty. However, that was not precisely my goal with snippets. My goal with snippets was to be able to write publicly without hesitation or uncertainty.

Coming back to write this snippet, having written so much on Go Note Go lately, snippet-writing feels a little heavier than it used to. It feels a little more like I’m writing something public, whereas for so long snippet-writing had felt like I was writing for no audience.

Fortunately, this heaviness faded quickly. Even four paragraphs into this snippet, having now spent a full minute or more reminding myself of my rules and efforts for keeping the barrier to publication low, this feels easy to write again.

Still, there is a tension between Go Note Go writing and snippet writing that this minute of thinking does not resolve. The tension is this: I write so much in Go Note Go, including dozens of ideas that would be great to publish for snippets, but as a result of writing them in Go Note Go, I am less inclined to make snippets of them.

Why is this? Is it because I have a limited amount of snippet-quality writing time in me, and I’ve repurposed it for Go Note Go writing? Is it because writing something I’ve already written about is less enjoyable than writing something new? I think it’s a combination of these things, more the latter than the former.

When I write in Go Note Go, the quality bar is even lower than for snippets (hard to imagine, I know). The Go Note Go writing is full of typos and repetitions. The typos are there because I cannot see when I’m writing; I do not go back to correct anything because there’s no mechanism for it. Also because Go Note Go is not published anywhere, I can drop inhibitions even further than I do for snippet writing.

Once I’ve put a snippet idea into Go Note Go, in principle it should be easier to turn into a snippet. It’s just a matter of cleaning up the text from Go Note Go to make it snippet-worthy. Snippet-worthy is a much lower bar than story-worthy. However, cleaning up text from Go Note Go to produce a snippet doesn’t seem as rewarding as writing a snippet from scratch. Snippet-writing is like thinking; Go Note Go-cleaning is another type of activity altogether.

Still, there are ideas in my Go Note Go writing that I do want to publish. So, my proposed strategy is this: I’ll write snippets about those ideas from scratch, when it feels appropriate to do so. I already review my Go Note Go notes periodically, so now when I do so I’ll keep an eye out for snippet-worthy ideas. By doing so, I think there’s a good chance some of them will turn themselves into snippets simply by virtue of being sufficiently interesting to me.

The biggest such idea that comes to mind is “Keyboards, keyboards, everywhere, and not a spot to think." This is a blog post idea I’ve written multiple parts of in different places, but which I haven’t pulled together into its complete form yet. It’s a post about the promise of technology, how attention-seeking tech has prevented us from delivering on that promise, and how headless keyboards like Go Note Go provide a path toward reclaiming our attention and allowing us to reach out fullest potential as users of modern tech.

A blog post isn’t a snippet, but I’ve decided (after initial hesitation) that it would be totally fine to produce snippets using content that will ideally eventually make it into a blog post. This is similar to my decision to allow myself to publish incomplete snippets. It trades off some novelty when the blog post is finally published in return for keeping the bar to publishing snippets extraordinarily low. I value that goal more than I value preserving any kind of surprisal when I publish a blog post, rare as that is. So, I’m likely to write about the “Keyboards, keyboards, everywhere, and not a spot to think” idea in snippets well before producing the blog post I aspire for it. (Update: Done here!)

In writing this snippet, I trawled through some of my Go Note Go writing. It’s fun for me to look through. It’s a distraction from finishing this snippet though. I look forward to writing snippets about some of the ideas I encounter in these Go Note Go expeditions.

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