The scratchpad

A lot of my preliminary thoughts for blog posts go into a “scratchpad”. Currently, it’s pretty much a Google Doc that just has page after page of scribblings. One line here, two lines there.

When I do finish something and post it, I highlight the entire thing, leaving a “PUBLISHED on …” note so that I don’t accidentally repost scrolling through them later.

I used to write quite frequently in notebooks – I enjoy the act of writing, using pen on paper – but it’s not something that I was doing with any consistency for a while. At least until last year’s trip to Hawaii.

So I’ve been thinking of the history of the word scratchpad. Looking it up, it’s just the combination of scratch + pad, meaning a pad of scratch paper. A place for preliminary notes.

The thing is, I don’t recall where I first heard it. I’ve been using the term for a while now, at least a couple of years. Perhaps it was referenced in something I read, or heard on the radio. But, the specific escapes me.

The nice thing about a scratchpad is that it just collects and collects and collects. The longer you scratch, the more you build up, and the more fuel you have to throw onto your intellectual fire.


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