Happy New Year

Lots of people think up resolutions this time of year. I’ve done it in the past but never really accomplished anything meaningful by doing so. Being a perfectionist, I tend to turn my “setbacks” into “failures.”As a result, I gave up drafting New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. I prefer a more subtle approach to making changes in my life.

This upcoming year I’d like to write more. This includes, blog posts, emails to friends and family, or anything else bouncing around in my head. But if I try to create some sort of regimen or schedule to follow, then the first time I mess up I’ll feel like, “the whole thing’s blown; so, why continue?”

So, I thought I’d take a simpler approach. I’ll try to make writing as easy and as enjoyable as possible. The operative term here is “easy.” I want to be able to write whenever the inspiration hits. To do this I took a cue from LifeClever. In a recent post, Chanpory suggests a brilliant strategy to trick yourself past writer’s block. In a nutshell, start your writing assignment as an email message. He goes on to list several reasons why this may help. The biggest reason for me is a psychological one. I can write email effortlessly. I do it all day long and am very comfortable with the process. So, it’s much less intimidating to stare at my email editor than a blank Word or OpenOffice document.

My next step is to use Gmail to “manage” my writing for me. I don’t want anything complex, so a few tweaks will keep my words flowing.

  1. Create a contact for my “diary” – I just add a new contact in Gmail named “diary”, using a sub-email address. For example, if my address were username@gmail.com, this new contact will have username+diary@gmail.com for its address.
  2. Set up a filter – I use Gmail’s filters to recongnize any email sent to username+diary@gmail.com and deal with it accordingly. For me, that means: skip the inbox, mark as read, and label it “diary.”
  3. Add this new contact to any email clients I use – I’ve already done this in Gmail, so I’ll create a contact named “diary” in each of my other address books (work, school, etc.) so I can fire off a thought as easily as possible.

This makes writing an easy and flexible task for me. And by using Gmail’s filters and labels I can keep the entries I make out of sight until I want to find them again. One easy click on the “diary” label brings back all of my entries in chronological order.

Thanks for the tip, Lifehacker.


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