Mario Villalobos

Satisfy Your Inner Geek

I’ve been thinking a lot about my tools this week, and the only real conclusion that I’ve made is that I’ll never stop thinking about my tools. It’s a very recursive thought process, and I really have no answer on how to stop it. I’m a geek. I’m always going to find new tools to try out, and if one of these tools is better than a tool I’m currently using, then my entire workflow will change to accommodate it. Part of me wants to give up and just settle on something and stop worrying so much about it. That would totally make my life a lot easier, but it’ll also make it that much less exciting. I’m constantly questioning how I do things, and I think that’s a very healthy mindset to have. There’s a certain peace of mind in knowing that I’m constantly debating the tools I use because that means I’m concerned with doing my work and in finding ways to do it better.

I’m working on something that I hope will congeal all my random and inconsistent thoughts into something a bit more solid and enlightening. I’m using Vesper (surprise surprise) to hold these notes, and I just really love using this app. There’s virtually no friction from thought to words when it comes to the app, and that’s a huge achievement for a note app, believe it or not. I’ve been working in nvAlt all week trying to whittle my notes down and organizing them in folders to separate them into different groups, and I managed to surface many old notes about ideas for stories I had. Some of these I completely forgot about, and that was one of the problems with my old system. Everything was lost in the noise. By separating everything and adding them into their own app or service specifically designed to handle that type of data has been one of those weight-off-my-shoulders events that feels good. A place for everything and everything in its place definitely applies in the digital realm.

After going through all of my digital data this week, I’ve come to appreciate paper notebooks. I’m not too concerned with tagging them or organizing them or debating whether to put it into one service or another. Each notebook serves a singular purpose (for the most part), and that just makes my life easier. Before I started journalling in my Moleskine pocket notebooks, I filled up about four of them with random notes and thoughts and dreams and whatever else one uses a notebook for. A few years ago, I spent weeks creating a table of contents for each of these notebooks, and I completely forgot about that until I found the table of contents text files. I hate that. That makes life too complicated. It should be simpler than that. This notebook is my journal, that notebook is for my novel, that notebook is for my transcribed books, etc. This focus just makes my life easier and much more pleasant, and it satisfies my geeky side by letting me try different notebooks and writing utensils just because I want to try them. Note: If you guys ever wanted to get me something but didn’t know what, get me a nice, well-made notebook and/or pen. Super simple!

I’m still experimenting. I won’t know for sure how well these tools will hold up in the long term, nor do I know how solid my ideas will be in that time, either. All I know is that I’m trying, and I’m enjoying the journey, and I feel really productive. I’m working a lot on this, and I really hope the end result is something I will love forever, especially when it comes to that project I’m working on. I hope that turns into something special. Stay tuned.