Using my smartphone for good, not evil

Actually it would be more fair to say I’ve been using my smartphone (currently an iPhone 8) for harmless nonsense, which is still better than using it for evil.

I’ve made a few recent posts to the blog during my morning commute, using the Ulysses app to slowly tap out a post and then upload it directly to my blog. I marvel at the technology, even as I lament how few will see my carefully-considered nonsense. I even just recently had a two-day stretch of zero visits on June 21 and 22. This is bad even by my own sad standards. I clearly need to work on the SEO and other acronyms to boost hits. More clickbait! More gossip! More whatever it is people want. Maybe just a redirect to Facebook.

It feels like the writing muscles are finally starting to halt their atrophy, as I am using more little blocks of time to write errant thoughts down, moving ever-so-slightly closer to perhaps engaging in some fiction writing again.

Mainly, though, I am not using my phone for social media, except for using Slack at work, which is not really in any way fun, so doesn’t count. There’s hardly any clickbait.

What do I use my phone for? Here’s a list. I like lists.

What I use my smartphone for, in order of most to least

  1. Listening to music
  2. Sending and receiving text messages with my partner. A lot of this includes Bitmoji nonsense, which I love and adore.
  3. Logging food/water in the MyFitnessPal app
  4. Adding or removing stuff in the Reminders app
  5. Checking stats in the Activity app
  6. Occasionally checking email, either personal (Gmail) or work (Outlook)
  7. Checking calendar appointments (almost exclusively work-related)
  8. Adding errant thoughts using the Drafts 4 app
  9. Adding errant and less-errant thoughts using the OneNote app
  10. Sometimes checking the weather or news
  11. Using the flashlight function
  12. Making or receiving an actual phone call
  13. Playing a game
  14. Writing a blog post (this one may move up the list over time)

What I never use my smartphone for

  1. Making the world a worse place (to my knowledge)
  2. To smash open walnuts
  3. As a level
  4. To play music without earbuds or earphones. Seriously, why do people do this? Do you do this? Don’t do this.
  5. To plug in a nice set of headphones (zing!)

The amount of writing I’ve done since posting Inspiration Cat™

After posting the cat to inspire my writing on June 7th, here is how much writing I have done (excluding forum posts):


That’s right, Inspiration Cat™, as I am now officially calling him/her, has achieved the opposite. I have written no blog posts, no fiction, nothing at all except stuff required for work and a few errant words to accompany photos on Facebook, which I feel bad for doing every time because I believe Facebook is actively making the world a more terrible place.

Also, why isn’t there a competitor to FB that just provides a place to hang out with friends and family and nothing more? Come on, Silicon Valley billionaires, throw a few dump trucks of money at this while the world burns.

Anyway, I should be writing more. I’ve read books about writing more. I know all the techniques. There are no secrets. It’s about discipline and making the time, making the commitment. I can do all of these things right now, instead of watching people rant on the internet about the $999 stand for the new $4999 monitor Apple just announced at this year’s WWDC. By the way, I’ll have my own thoughts on this in an upcoming blog post.

So here it is, another blog post about how I’m not writing. If I put all of these posts together, I bet they would stretch to the moon. Or at least to the end of the condo.

I’m past making promises now. No more promises. If I write, I write. If I don’t, you can find me ranting about $999 monitor stands or searching for funny cat videos, or sometimes going outside and stuff.

Amusing cat image: Metaphor edition

This is an apt metaphor to illustrate my writing efforts in May.

I promise to do better in June, which is a pretty low bar, so I should actually achieve this.