I am in a blogging rut. I am not finishing the blogs that I have started. I am struggling to thoroughly finish getting thoughts written down and begging the world to give me new experiences. After more than 75 blogs where I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about the filling strategies of a box of Dunkin’s Munchkins to launching investigations using Lloyd S. Nelson as a guide, I am now in a funk. This state of writer's block is a first for me as I am against a personal pace to post something once per week. I do have six blogs on a litany of subjects started, but they just aren't finished. I have dozens of reminders on my phone that I use to begin a reflection, but they are just collecting electron dust. My flow to produce is becoming quite turbulent versus laminar as I am struggling to reflect, produce, and process at my established weekly cadence.
In fluid dynamics, the stability of the fluid through a pipe is measured by something called Reynold’s Number. Its founder, Osborne Reynold, designed a visual tool that showed how a fluid could go through a glass pipe in states of being laminar or turbulent. He was then able to calculate the stability of the fluid to indicate how turbulent or laminar the fluid would be as it transitioned through a pipe. It is a simple calculation requiring the fluid's density, flow speed, and characteristic linear dimension in its numerator. The product of these three is then divided by the fluid’s dynamic viscosity. This equation then provides a unitless number that deems the fluid laminar if it is less than 2300, a transition fluid if the value is between 2300 and 4000, and turbulent if the value is above 4000.
Relating this to my struggles with writing a blog, I question what has changed in the stability of my processes. When creating a blog or running a project in general, the task can be interpreted as if it is likely to be laminar or turbulent through its creation process. Consider a team that has a reputation for producing projects at a certain rate, whereas they complete the project in a laminar fashion by transitioning it smoothly from start to finish, creating no scope creep, and minimally disrupting its surroundings. Whereas, a turbulent project has the propensity to mix with a variety of departments or concepts, maintains a rush to expedite, and is scattered conceptually when the scope is created. What if Osborne Reynolds also found an equation that measures the fluidity of running a project too? What if he found an equation that is hindering my inability to create a blog? Let’s see.
Let's consider density as if it was stress, and is the mass of decisions as a ratio to the time to make them. As mentioned, I have a pipeline of other blogs started and jotted down subjects on my phone, yet nothing is moving. This bulging has built up over the last two months from a smorgasbord of insights but remains stagnant. My density could be deemed higher than normal due to a pulled right calf limiting time to work out, a worse-than-normal allergy season, and some external conflicts challenging the daily train of thought. Combining this with less time being dedicated to reading to balance my mindset, my stress, and therefore my density has increased. Even if nothing else changes, my personal Reynold’s Number has become more turbulent by an increase in density.
My flow speed has been historically consistent, pushing out one blog per week for more than a year now. I think, up to last week, I had missed a handful of times posting a blog in the last year. However, I am still successful at setting aside time to write each Saturday and Sunday in a coffee shop, along with researching my jotted-down notes two or three nights per weekday. The flow speed to produce remains constant as I have established this pace when setting off on this therapeutic blogging adventure. This is my commitment to producing, and that hasn't slowed down.
The characteristic of linear dimension for a fluid going through a pipe is the relationship of the pipe’s circumference to its area. If you were to imagine a circular pipe versus a square pipe, a lesser ratio embodies why a circular pipe is an optimum choice for transmitting fluid. Relating this ratio to my creation process, my recent route to produce has some rough edges. Reflecting on it, my creation pipeline has been distorted on the weekends as I realized that I have been waking up at 7:00 am versus 6:00 am due to daylight savings. This puts gets me to my coffee shop slightly later allowing me to miss routine seating and starting the writing processes with more local distractions. Consider additional attributes like a puppy bulldog that snores louder than a 747 or a few times at the coffee shop that I forget my headphones, my dimensional circumstances have been altered. This portion of the equation has increased due to surrounding characteristics and external influencers.
Now that it is obvious to me that the product within the equation’s numerator has increased, I know that the viscosity in the denominator has not decreased at a similar amount. Like the viscosity of a fluid, my viscosity is a historical reference that shows how successful I have been in the past with this process. The stickiness of my process is a historical representation of how I have honed my writing processes through education, organization, and repeatability. I respect that this viscosity will change over time by things such as cognitive decline, improved skills, or new constants surrounding me in my life, but at this moment I am going to assume that it has remained constant. Nothing has happened recently for me to consider that my viscosity has changed.
There you have it, two influences increasing my Reyonld's Number and this self-reflection has made me realize that my recent turbulence has been my undoing. I have established an expectation to achieve a certain flow speed at a demonstrated viscosity. However, with this expectation and historical performance, my density and characteristics of linear dimensions have resulted in my Reynold’s Number increasing. Thus my process to create blogs has become more turbulent.
This reflection has allowed me to understand that there are ways to influence my Reynold’s Number, even in high states of stress influencing my density or circumstances impacting my characteristics of linear dimensions. I could consider things such as lowering my desired flow speed or scrutinizing my characteristics of linear dimensions to reduce my Reynold’s Number. I could also challenge myself to find ways to increase my viscosity with forms of continuous education. Regardless, maintaining a healthy Reynold's Number to produce content is within my control.
This reflection has uncovered the independent variables that are influencing my blogging. This reflection also shows me that using Reynold's Number to assist with the effectiveness of running projects can be just like using it to measure the effectiveness of creating a blog. Time to make some change happen and personally get my Reynold's Number down a little.