The Prompts Folder

Capture it now, consider it later

Scattered sheets of white paper covering the entire frame

One of my favorite workflows is my ‘Prompts’ routine.

I’m a curious fellow, and like to think I’m a somewhat intentional fellow, too. So there are often things that come to mind that I want to think about more. Or maybe that I want to explore more. Sometimes they are specific to something I’m already working on, or sometimes, they are just random ideas I want to consider.

Either way, I’ve long had different toolsets to help me capture those things.

These days, it’s the Drafts app, so readily available for capture on any device. Sometimes I speak these ideas into my Apple Watch (and often decipher them later), or sometimes I slide over on the iPad or just hit a keystroke on my Mac. No matter which it is, I know that I have grabbed hold of something I want to sit with and return to later.

From there, one my drafts actions is called ‘Prompts’, and it sends whatever it was I captured into a ‘Prompts’ folder in Obsidian. This particular folder is within my writing folder, and the folders within shaped toward a journey of words. The first is this Prompts folder, where ideas await exploration. After that, they might move to the drafts folder, or the researching folder, and hopefully someday into mythical reality of the ‘finished’ folder. But often, they are just for me, stored alongside other personal reflections and discoveries in a digital journal.

But it’s the Prompts folder I’m writing about today. And it’s the prompts folder that brought me to the place of writing these words. I try to write almost every day, and sometimes the biggest challenge is just deciding what I might want to write about. There is always something waiting for me in the prompts folder.

Often, I’m eager to write about a recently captured prompt. Other times, I use a simple plugin within Obsidian called ‘Random Notes’ and a search for all files in the prompts folder. So, when I’m sitting down to write, I can just trigger a search for random note from that folder.

That’s how I got here today, in fact. This was a prompt I had captured. Actually it’s a prompt I captured quite a while ago and I’m surprised it took me this long to dig it out of the stack of prompts. But I guess I never felt like I was ready to write about it before.

That’s another thing, sometimes I won’t be feeling a prompt and I’ll move on to the next. Every prompt might be met with a little resistance, but I just try to determine which ones I can engage that day, and most often it’s the first one that comes up. But today, well, this was the third one that came up. But I’ve been banging out the words for this first draft with little effort, and I’m over 400 words in.

I’d say its working pretty well for me.

About John Chandler

I am a spiritual director, occasional podcaster, and a freelance WordPress developer.

I am also interested in finding meaningful ways of living beyond my work, which seems to include a lot of reading, watching baseball (Angels!) or football (Broncos!), playing board games, eating salsa, and wishing I was hiking more. Oh, and coffee.

I live on the desert edge of Phoenix with my family – with previous stops in Austin and outside Seattle as a grown-up, and SoCal and Colorado as a youngster.

You can find more of my meanderings on my

Photo by Brandi Redd

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