The Hermit Project - Part 1

I promised I would start talking about my Hermit Project. It’s a TL;DR, so I don’t believe that will fit a single post. Plus, I hope to receive questions and give more details about the concepts behind my project.

Journaling has been an essential part of my journey. I started journaling on the iPad, writing using an app called Notability. I was okay with that. Writing with a pen gave me time to think about the content of my writing. But it came with two problems. First, I started caring about how I wrote instead of what I wrote. The second was the notifications that came with the iPad.

I belong to a generation where writing on a keyboard is easier and faster than writing with a pen. And, believe it or not, I am writing this text while attending a conference and not looking at a keyboard at all. I discovered that journaling using a keyboard is far more efficient for me than with a pen. That’s because I can blurt things more easily and quickly without thinking about how I write or lagging behind the “analogic” pen. And we’re talking about personal issues: the less I think about them, the more genuine the thoughts will likely be.

So, I started writing on my Mac. It was efficient for journaling, but I discovered I was tempted to wander around and open chats or visit websites. I tried hard, but the temptation was there when I had an “idle” moment of my brain, instead of focusing on my issues or feelings.

The significant shift happened when I visited my friends Nina and Atsuko. Nina had this concept of distraction-free devices, and she was researching it herself. The most impressive one was a modification of a typewriter so that she could write on it, but the characters she typed were sent to a computer for recording (I believe as serial).

I was totally fascinated by this idea. But, with the life I’m doing, split between London (UK), Milan (Italy), Innsbruck (Austria) and frequent travels across Europe/US, it was pretty much impractical to bring a typewriter with me.

So I started thinking about it. How can I have my distraction-free device so that it can be easily with me? Nina was an incredible source of inspiration for this project. But also Kiwa on Mastodon. Both had small handhelds, the former a Psion and the latter a (I believe) HP device with MS-DOS. Plus, I’ve read an article about a writer -George R.R. Martin- still writing his texts on WordStar.

I have a GPD Pocket mini-laptop, so what if I install just the bare minimum command line Linux and write to something similar to WordStar? Just one virtual terminal console, and nothing else. Would I still be distracted?

… to the next episode :)

My GPD Pocket

2024-02-12