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Q&A with Patrick Rhone

Writer and Technology Consultant from Saint Paul, MN

My name is Patrick Rhone. I'm a Writer and Technology Consultant who lives in Saint Paul, MN with my wife and seven year old daughter. Besides my personal website and my books, I'm otherwise known as the creator of Minimal Mac which recently ended publishing after an almost six year run.

How did you get start writing about tech? What is a turning point in your writing career?

I've been writing about tech, in one form or another, for almost 20 years. In fact, my first job in the technology field was as a staff writer for an early PC manufacturer. So, I've been at this for a while. I've long been a person who comfortably engages both left brain and right brain. The dual interests in art and science, writing and technology, has never felt unusual to me. Therefore, I have found a way to make a career out of both.

I'd say a turning point came when I came up with, and launched, Minimal Mac. I think what I had to say regarding simplicity, intention, and mindfulness when it comes to our technology was a message that resonated with people far beyond my wildest imagination.

What are you working on now?

Actually, something completely different. I recently received a grant to write a book based on my family history. Specifically, some land that my family has owned since 1865 and their relationship to it. In a broader sense, it is about the relationship between Freedom and Land in America and what it means to us all. The working title is Land of the Free. That's as much as I can get into in a short amount of space without boring the readers here to tears.

What software and web services do you use for writing?

On the Mac and iOS, I mainly use Byword for first drafts and blog posts. I've used it for a long time and it does just what I need.

For books I use Scrivener, which is wonderful. I could not imagine writing a book without it at this point.

I love to use Draft when working with an editor or a group. It's swell.

What is your ideal workplace?

This is an ever evolving thing for me. Lately, I actually have found that I do best when I switch up my work modes, environments, and tools. I like to change where and how I work often, even throughout the day, for maximum productivity and engagement. Though it is only an idea thus far, I think my ideal workspace would have a comfy overstuffed chair, a good sitting desk, and a good standing desk — all of them set up with the tools I need and easy for me to switch to and from as the whim or task called for it. My home office is up on our open-plan third floor loft space so this would be easy for me to set up. I just haven't taken the time and effort to do so yet.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

This is a harder question for me than one would expect. There are just too many and I feel it would be a disservice to call out even one person and leave so many others off simply because there isn't enough space.

I admire any writer who takes their time to fill the world with beauty and ideas. I admire those with the courage to approach the empty page and the capacity to fill it daily. I admire those who try, and fail, and try again and again. I admire those with a unique voice — those for whom writing has more in common with music or painting than with language alone. I admire those that can deftly build worlds and cultures in the imaginations of the reader. I admire those who can speak volumes with an economy of words.

That should cover it. :)