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Dealing with a Loss of Inspiration

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Yeah, the last few months have been a ride.

When it comes to side projects, I have always been one of those people that is full of ideas but constantly lacking in the ability to execute.

At lost of the time it boiled down to stupid things, like preferring to spend my time after work playing video games or watching television.

More recently, it’s the constant state of exhaustion that comes from trying to raise a small child who herself is full of energy and demands you join her on a whimsical tour of whatever thoughts are flying through her brain.

With ever dwindling free time comes a process of having to determine how it gets spent.

As life got busier, that left less and less time for actually getting my head clear enough to sit down and make words appear on the screen.

When it comes to this sort of writing, I have always been reactive. I read something – often tech-related – and see that the story as presented has missed what I think is a pretty crucial question and off I go.

The last real one was about the digital drivers licences. A technological answer to a question no-one was really asking, that raised a large number of privacy concerns that were largely left alone or ignored completely.

A more recent one, and of course one that has been done to death now, is about the COVIDsafe contact tracing smartphone application, developed in responds to the COVID-19 pandemic that has in a manner of weeks turned our entire way of living upside down.

Forget for a moment that the app currently does not function at all and produces no information for health authorities to use when they are embarking on the task of tracking down exposure contacts.

Forget even that there are concerns about government surveillance and how that interplays with a police force that is hells keen to get their hands on whatever data they can with no regard given for civil rights or legal obligations.

Do we think that a smartphone application is the magical panacea that is going to allow us to return to “normal” ways of living?

That is certainly the government message. But how does that sit with public health messaging about the spread of this disease? How that even gel with messaging that tackling this pandemic is going to take months and things are not going to return to anything resembling familiarity any time soon?

Yes, Australia’s public health response has been one of the world’s best and we are well on the way to really, probably having a strong grasp on things, if we are not there already.

But an app is not a magical cure in any sense, it should not have been sold as such and it leaves me very worried about what might happen once “lockdown” restrictions start to lift.

Without careful consideration, there is a chance we end up right back where we started.

It has probably taken me the better part of a fortnight just to get those few paragraphs right in my head.

But this is not a bad thing. It is not a shameful thing.

Finding the brain space where I could get all that out has been a real challenge. It is hard to kick into the “what do you think about [ISSUE]?” gear, when all you want to do after a day of work and running around after the child is kick back with a beer and watch something absolutely mindless on TV.

I guess my point is here that we all have to manage our obligations, our time and our health.

And while I would love more time to write about the things I am interested in, that is something that just might have to be a bit more irregular than I was planning for. And that’s OK.

It’s often repeated, but this really is a crisis and people are dealing with it in different ways.

Even if you made a plan to start doing this or learn more about that and it has fallen by the wayside, that is not a bad thing. How you allot your time in a manner that is right for you might not be right for someone else. That’s OK, too.

Matthew's Thought Crimes

Matthew Hatton is a writer, photographer, website wrangler and systems designer.

In his spare time he has bad thoughts. Thought Crimes is their home.