Using a Pen and Paper to Avoid Distraction

In this video, I talk about how writing with a pen and paper can get the juices flowing when you’re stuck.

If you have “writer’s block”, sometimes it’s best to remove yourself from the computer and start writing on paper.

I find it easier to get into “flow” when writing on paper than typing on a computer. I think it’s because I try to edit while writing, whereas when you write on paper, you can’t revise.

You can’t delete the last sentence and start again; this helps me get into “flow”.


All right, I think we are ready. Hello and welcome to Vlog 1. My name is Ivan. And in this vlog I want to talk about tips and tricks that I have learned running a blog, okay?

So for people who don’t know I run a Drupal blog over at, and for the last five years I’ve produced a lot of blog posts and videos, and quite frankly I want to start talking about other things other than Drupal.

And so the best way of doing it I think it is to produce a vlog. Because also vlogs don’t require my … you don’t have to sit down for hours writing content for a vlog. I have literally grabbed my bike, and I’m using my bike as a tripod and I’ll show it to you at the end of the video. But I literally just grabbed my bike, rode down to a nice section of a park, put the camera on, and I’ve just started recording.

Mind you this is probably the 5th or 10th take, but it’s all for fun. I really want to get better at producing video content. And the best way of doing that is to just sit down and produce content. So that is what I’m doing with this first vlog.

So I’ll probably keep … I do want to talk about how I started WebWash but that’s probably for another vlog. But the single tip that I’ll give you in this video, and I’ll try to keep this video short because I don’t want to talk about a lot of things, is that when you get stuck producing content and you just can’t find the right words and you are sitting there in front of a computer trying to figure out, “Okay, how do I write this, write the best sentence in the world?” And nothing’s coming. One thing I’ve realized that has really helped me focus is to use a good old notepad. And just write the introduction of your blog post on a notepad using a pen. And that’s it.

I don’t know why it works, but maybe it’s because when you are writing on a piece of paper you cannot go back and edit things. You can’t … you won’t be distracted by what’s on your screen, you won’t be distracted by what’s on your desk. So that’s the tip for today.

If you find it very distracting working in front of a computer and often I do because there’s so many things happening on a computer, you have all these notifications, and you have Slack. Don’t get me started about Slack, I’ll probably keep it for another vlog. But yes, Slack is the worst. It is the worst thing that’s happening … it is the worst thing to ever happen to workplaces I think. But anyway that’s for another video.

But yeah, first of all turn off all of your notifications, turn off all of your notifications on your mobile phone as well, and then grab a pen and paper and go sit down, away from computer. And trust me I’m sure ideas will start flowing. But what you have to do is just start writing, and then ideas will come out of nowhere hopefully and yeah, I just want to share that with you.

Anyway, thank you so much for watching the first video. If you want to get notified of all future videos, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and I’ll try and do these videos every week. I say I’ll try, but I’ll try. Anyway, thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time.

Okay, I promised I’ll show you the way. I’ve got this … let me just … Oh, no, I can’t switch cameras. So if you have a look there. I’ve got the little Joby here and I’ve got bike as a tripod. Pretty cool, huh?

Using Display Suite in Drupal 8: How to Use Display Suite Fields

I continue my series on using Display Suite over at WebWash by writing about how to use Display Suite fields.

Think of a Display Suite field as just a fancy formatter which can only be used when you’ve enabled Display Suite on a layout.

A block field, for example, can be implemented through the UI and they’re useful for embedding a view into a layout.

Fields can also be implemented in code if you require something custom.

To learn more about it head over to the link below..

Link: Using Display Suite in Drupal 8: How to Use Display Suite Fields

Using Display Suite in Drupal 8: How to Customize Content Pages

In my latest Drupal 8 tutorial over at WebWash, I write about how to customize content pages or, put another way, entity bundles.

Display Suite is a versatile piece of software. It converts “Manage display” page from a basic reordering interface to a drag-and-drop interface.

Instead of just moving fields up or down, you can add them to multiple regions, if the layout supports it.

Link: Using Display Suite in Drupal 8: How to Customize Content Pages

Persistent Field Storage in Drupal 8

While working on the Drupal 8 module, I discovered this option to keep field storage persistent.

By default a field storage is removed when it’s no longer used. This happens when you simply delete fields. If all the fields that use the storage have been deleted, then the field storage is no longer needed and it’s removed.

Continue reading “Persistent Field Storage in Drupal 8”

How to Print Variables using Kint in Drupal 8

When you start tinkering with a module or a theme in Drupal, eventually you’ll need to print a variable to see what’s inside.

Now in PHP you have var_dump and print_r but these functions aren’t the easiest to work with. When used they print the variable fully expanded, making it hard to filter or find anything.

In the Devel module for Drupal 7, you have the dpm and dsm which printed variables using the Krumo library. For Drupal 8, however, this library has been replaced with a more modern and maintained library called Kint.

In the latest tutorial over at WebWash, learn how to print variables within Php and the Twig template using Kint.

Link: How to Print Variables using Kint in Drupal 8

How to Get Split View working in OS X El Capitan after Upgrade

I recently upgraded from Yosemite to El Capitan but I couldn’t get the Split View functionality to work.

For people who don’t know, the Split View lets you run two apps side by side.

Split View
Split View example.

Get Split View Working

To get it working, just go to “System Preferences” -> “Mission Control” and check the “Displays have separate Spaces”. You’ll have to logout and log back in for it to work.

Mission Control
Check “Displays have separate Spaces” checkbox to get Split View working.

Now you’ll be able to run two apps side by side. Enjoy the extra bit of productivity, or use it to watch YouTube videos. I won’t judge.

Get Performance Insights Using Web Profiler in Drupal 8

Web Profiler, which ships with Devel, adds a toolbar at the bottom of each page and gives you stats about your Drupal site. Out-of-the-box, you get the number of queries, how much memory was used and so much more.

Web Profiler Tool
Web Profiler toolbar default items.

Learn how to get the most out of it by watching the video above or head over to the link below.

Link: Debug Site Performance Using Web Profiler in Drupal 8