Adagia after 14 weeks -- the first microphase

Another six weeks in the bag. Building is done. Now it's time to step back to clean and tidy up. And most importantly... reflect.

Here's what took place πŸ‘‡

Entering these six weeks I had been tunnel-visioning the Tribes User interaction. This was because my goal was to help writers work on long-form projects by cultivating small groups of writers.

If that reads like a mouthful it's because it is. Not because of the writing, but because the underlying idea wasn't distilled enough. I think describing the few micro-phases that formed within this larger build-phase will help clarify why.

Projects                 aka microphase-1

A Cool Idea

* had ideas on project configuration. Instead of a collection acting as a container for organizing posts, why not allow writers to specify the type of writing they are doing? Maybe it's a novel or a non-fiction book or even something shorter like an essay. Then after defining a project type why not allow them to choose a target length? Then you could do all sorts of cool things, like displaying a word counter and also a word-countdown!

I liked his idea, and I also been trying to figure out how to entice more writing within the small individual Tribes rather than the main-feed. In my head I was convinced that getting people hooked on big projects was the way.

So I got to work on a project-onboarder** that allows writers to configure their project like how Gabriel recommended.

Potential Tangent

It was fun working on the onboarder. Too much fun. I spent more time on it than I should've even though it looks simple. I'm not even sure how it took up so much time now that I write this, but it must've been over two weeks.

As I burrowed deeper into building this onboarder, I found myself considering more and more hey what if I just double down on projects? Maybe a cool project creator and editor-dashboard is Adagia's value-prop! A flurry of ideas hit me. A progress bar that showed you how far along you were. The ability to re-order your project content. The ability to fork your project to write version-n of it. And much much more. 

At this time I honestly wanted to create a full blown web based IDE for writing projects! I would kick Scrivener's ass! 

But then I took a pause. I reflected. 

Do I believe that a slick project-editor is what will help writers finish projects? 



People struggle with writing not because they lack productivity or slick tools. They struggle because in our noisy world it can feel impossible to make space for it. Even if an app were to increase a struggling writer's productivity enough to provide two extra hours a day, unless they feel like they can fill that new void with writing, it will more likely be filled by something else that feels more natural.

We usually default to making space for things that feel normal. On a Monday morning normal might be catching up on work emails. On a Saturday night normal might be drink ingwith friends or playing video games. These things just feel like they belong to such a time slot.

Writing though? For the most part writing has been seen as a solitary act. Something easy to sweep under the bed amidst noisy days. it feels impossible to make space for something so easy to hide. And we celebrate whenever we manage to create space for it, even if for just one or two or three days. 

But what if we flipped the script? What if we could somehow make finding space for writing feel just as natural as having dinner with friends on Saturday?

Will this happen through slickness? 


This turned out longer than expected. I'll write about the other microphases in later posts. 


* Yes Gabriel no longer writes on here but he still writes emails!

** you can try the project onboarder here

"What if we could somehow make finding space for writing feel just as natural as having dinner with friends on Saturday?" After writing daily for over two years, I still don't feel this on a daily basis. Sundays do have more of a writing feel since that's when I write my newsletter, but other than that I just fit my writing in each day where it fits and it's a priority to fit it in somewhere.
2021-03-14 16:23:17
My original phrasing had been -- what if we could somehow make finding space for writing feel more like having dinner with friends -- but I noticed I was kind of writing in a sales-y way so I revised it to be flat out yugely ambitious. 

I totally understand that even someone who's wrote daily for 2+ year wouldn't find writing to feel that way. If you were to compare it to another thing that has a similar ease of making space for (experiments/bike-ride/etc) what would that be?
2021-03-14 20:03:39
Well, now you want the secret sauce, which is too valuable to give away buried in some comment. 😎
2021-03-14 22:44:41
Oh come on, I still write here.

By the way, as much as I like the projects setup, I hope it helps people actually start projects. You said something that hits the nail on the head, but maybe not in a good way: writing is a solitary activity. So it is. 

Hence I'm on a sabbatical ;)

2021-03-15 23:44:41

Documenting Adagia