the blog of Brandon Gandy

The Idea Series – Week 7

#NaNoWriMo is wreaking havoc on my life. For three days in a row I wrote nearly four thousands words every day. When I close my eyes I see my keyboard and an empty page. All I smell anymore is Starbucks.

So doing these lists has now turned, perversely, into some kind of respite from the madness. A daily meditation. A thought exercise that is somehow less work than everything else I’ve been doing.

Let’s see what that looks like.

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How To Be Super Effective Using Daily Personal Notes

The majority of my time spent in Support, I was one of two people on a team. The software we supported had a fairly large suite of tools, covering a wide range of business cases, each with unique and specific logic behind them. If something wasn’t working correctly, it often wasn’t a clear-cut problem. Was it broken completely, or just off a little bit? Were we missing data? Was the design wrong?

Chances were, if we couldn’t resolve the issue right then and there on the phone, then it would turn into a research project. It involved collaborating with the customer’s business team (and, often, the IT team), our own developers, and each other.

Being a small team, we often had a great many open tickets at once that required us to spend time researching, following up, and writing documentation. Even so, I was able to always deliver on time. Partially, this was done by managing expectations (something I will be writing a couple of posts on, most likely). But what helped me the most in succeeding was my notes.

Taking an extensive and detailed set of notes every day helped me keep on top of my tasks more than any other software tool I could use. It helped me stay on time. I was able to keep anything from ever falling through the cracks. I always made sure my tickets — both bug reports and enhancement requests — were thoroughly detailed. Even today, having been away from Support for years, I still do this.

The best part of all was it required almost zero effort to maintain. How? I’ll show you.

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#NaNoWriMo18 – Day 5

I’m going to be completely honest: I missed a day and a half, and have only caught up today. My “side” project has been untouched since Day 1, at least by my own hand. My co-writer has been plugging away at it, thankfully, and we are still making progress!

More after the break.

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The Idea Series: Week 6

#NaNoWriMo18 has started, and I’ve spent the majority of my past two days at a keyboard typing. In this time, I’ve written almost eight thousand words. My fingertips feel like they should be bleeding, but thankfully most of a lifetime of this behavior has hardened them to such trauma. If only the same could be said for my mind!

Anyway, let’s jump in.

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#NaNoWriMo2018 – Day 1

Because I am an insane person, I’m participatingĀ twice in NaNoWriMo this year. I will also try to blog about it as I go, as a warm-up and warm-down exercise, and as yet another way to publicly hold myself accountable.

If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, the goal is this: write a novel in one month. 50,000 words in 30 days; 1,667 words per day. Yes, people participate voluntarily. Yes, I might be a ball of frayed ends powered by caffeine and neuroses by the end. But it will be fun!

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On Catharsis

That’s all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones.1

“Content,” as it’s so often called, is more abundant and cheaper than ever.

We have access to more movies and television, more books, more music than ever before. We are glued to our screens. We scroll our feeds every day to see what everyone we know is posting, and we put up our own posts for others to see on their own feeds. All the while, not fully conscious of what all of this is: we are consuming narrative, and providing our own narrative in turn to be consumed.

Perversely, we seem more than happy to ignore the importance of narrative as an actual communicative device. It feels like too many people are ignorant, or all too keen to dismiss the idea, of narrativeĀ as a tool to learn about the world and the people in it; or as a coping mechanism for when you are going through hard times; or a way to connect you with your deeper self.

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The Idea Series: Week 5

No preamble this week; let’s dive in.

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10 of the Best Things that Happened to Me

It’s good to reflect on your life and single out the events that have had large, net positive impacts. When you focus on the things for which you’re thankful, it’s like drawing from a bottomless well of happiness. This is an entirely personal exercise, so feel free to skip past.

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The Importance of “Why?” in Troubleshooting

There are two types of troubleshooters I’ve met.

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The Idea Series: Week 4

This week, I lost the Old Blog. Let this be two lessons: a) make backups of your work; b) you don’t have a backup until you’ve tested it. I had to re-create the entire blog, this time opting for WordPress, and I had to do some deep digging to find copies of several posts totaling several thousand words written. But I did find them!

Anyway, let’s get to the Ideas.

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