I’ve been attempting to work through having fewer distractions in my life, especially throughout the day and especially stemming from my phone. I spend more time looking at my phone than I really like, despite the fact that my first inclination is to reach for it at literally any moment of downtime. No one else has joined the call yet for a work meeting? Better doomscroll for a bit. I need to upload a freshly built Docker image to the development lab via VPN, and it’s going to take about 2 minutes? That’s 2 minutes I can spend looking at nonsense on the Internet.
Ideally I could just avoid having my phone in the room with me while I’m working, but the reality of the situation is that I typically need to have it on hand. I get calls related to work on it, and I use it for MFA across a wide swath of services. Instead, I tried to make myself feel less inclined to constantly reach for it with less things that I want to check all the time. One of my first attempts at minimizing how much my phone distracts me was to get off Mastodon. Mastodon, much like how I used Twitter before it, almost immediately became the thing that I would always feel the need to look at, as if missing a single post was going to somehow make a big difference. I should have realized how far down the Mastodon rabbit hole I had gone when one of the main things I noticed about any Mastodon iOS app I tried was how it handled refreshing my timeline.
Moving away from Mastodon wasn’t too bad, but I still like the idea of having somewhere that I could post random nonsense, quick quips, etc. I wanted somewhere for content that wasn’t really “blog post” worthy but felt like fun to put online somewhere. I initially started with Tumblr. This actually worked pretty well, as Tumblr functinos decently well for both long form content and shorter content, especially when I wanted to post links, images, or even quotes. I actually even started working on a CLI Tumblr client that I could use from a VPS I was SSH’d into. I haven’t made it very far other than an extremely early build that allows for a few different post types, but I found their API pleasant to work with, especially via their SDK. The problem, however, is that Tumblr didn’t really solve the problem. I still ended up following a handful of other blogs, and before long I was still finding myself absentmindedly reaching for my phone so that I could spend a few minutes scrolling through memes and anime GIFs. Like many other social media platforms which aren’t Mastodon, Tumblr also has a vested interest in keeping my eyes glued to their platform as much as possible. As a result, a specially curated timeline of content their algorithms thought I would like was always waiting for me if nothing had recently been posted from the accounts I followed.
I went back to the drawing board and eventually realized that Write.as could work even better for this. Naturally, it has support for both long form posts like this one as well as shorter content that doesn’t even require a title. So that’s what I’ll be giving it a shot with, especially while I still have more than 6 months of time left on my Pro subscription. What’s also cool is that it has an API, so I may shift my focus into working on a CLI client for it rather than continuing with the Tumblr one that I (hopefully) won’t be leveraging much going forward. This would allow me to easily write content from any web browser, from my iOS devices via the Write Freely app, and from an SSH session if I have my (eventual) app installed.