Fun data/Chat-GPT project turns into pandemic gut-punch

I use the iOS app Drafts. All you really need to know for this story is that it’s an app where you can write and store text notes called drafts. For me, it’s the first stop for anything that enters my head that needs to be worked on any more than I can do in the moment. Need to buy milk? That’s a draft. Cool idea for a D&D scene? That’s a draft. Book I just saw that I might want to read? Draft.

Because so many thoughts, experiences, and other fragments of my day-to-day life end up getting passed through Drafts, I’ve had this theory that a graph of drafts written / week would be an interesting way to look at the velocity of my life. Like if there’s a period of time where I wrote a gajillion drafts, then something big was probably happening.

I’m not a pro programmer or anything like that, but I’ve done enough coding that it wouldn’t be out of scope for me to write a script for Drafts to give me a .csv of dates so I can make my graph. The trouble is that it’d be a day’s work for me to brush all the cobwebs out of my brain, and apparently that’s too much hassle because this project has been on my mind for at least a year and I’ve never gotten around to it.

Anyways yada yada yada, cutting to the chase, I asked GPT-4 to write the code for me and it did! This is the transcript of the conversation if you’re into reading that kind of thing but I think the coolest part was when I was like “hey, I ran it and it gave me this error message, how fix?” and it fixed its code! 🤯

(Oh, and I know the Drafts library backups are a JSON or something JSON-esque where I could parse out the metadata I wanted but shush, I was having fun talking to the robot!)

Okay okay, so now the fun part: the graph! This is how it turned out:

This is grouped by month, so in October 2021 I wrote over 300 drafts. So over 10/day. What was going on in October 2021? Let’s find out:

I consult the journal and the planner. The planner tells me that my dad was in town for a week. Haha, yeah, that makes sense, Dad sure can be a handful.

The journal has a lot of self doubt about the new job, but then there’s a page where I write “Drafts inbox is overflowing with nice things I wanted to honor by writing them down”. Aww, how sweet. What are some examples of Nice things I wrote down?

“The ice on the back of a car in the parking lot was sparkly and looked like stars.”

“Lisa called me kind and helpful.”

“Rob got me a hot chocolate.”  

Then the next paragraph:

“But 2 COVID patients died.”  
…oh. that’s what was happening in october 2021.

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