- Jun 2023
Today, you either thrive on that word processor model or you don’t. I really don’t, which is why I’ve invested effort, as you have, in researching previous writing workflows, older than the all-conquering PC of the late 1980s and early 90s. At the same time, new writing tools are challenging the established Microsoft way, but in doing so are drawing attention to the fact that each app locks the user into a particular set of assumptions about the drafting and publishing process.
via u/atomicnotes at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/149knhj/comment/jobi9ro/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 on 2023-06-15
- Apr 2023
Musician John Mayer, too, describes his typewriter as more of an emotional companion than a logistical tool. He laments writing lyrics with the judgemental “red squiggly line” of spell check, which he says stops the creative process because he feels compelled to fix the error, and turning to a typewriter which “doesn’t judge you, it just goes, ‘right away, sir, right away’.”
- Feb 2023
In addition to specific operations such as rewriting, there are also controls for elaboration and continutation. The user can even ask Wordcraft to perform arbitrary tasks, such as "describe the gold earring" or "tell me why the dog was trying to climb the tree", a control we call freeform prompting. And, because sometimes knowing what to ask is the hardest part, the user can ask Wordcraft to generate these freeform prompts and then use them to generate text. We've also integrated a chatbot feature into the app to enable unstructured conversation about the story being written. This way, Wordcraft becomes both an editor and creative partner for the writer, opening up new and exciting creative workflows.
The sense of writing partner here is similar to that mentioned by Niklas Luhmann in Communicating with Slip Boxes: An Empirical Account (1981), though in his case his writing partner was a carefully constructed database archive of his past notes.
see: Luhmann, Niklas. “Kommunikation mit Zettelkästen: Ein Erfahrungsbericht.” In Öffentliche Meinung und sozialer Wandel / Public Opinion and Social Change, edited by Horst Baier, Hans Mathias Kepplinger, and Kurt Reumann, 222–28. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1981. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-322-87749-9_19.<br /> translation at https://web.archive.org/web/20150825031821/http://scriptogr.am/kuehnm.
- Jan 2023
Forrest Perry shows part of his note taking and idea development process in his hybrid digital-analog zettelkasten practice. He's read a book and written down some brief fleeting notes on an index card. He then chooses a few key ideas he wants to expand upon, finds the physical index card he's going to link his new idea to, then reviews the relevant portion of the book and writes a draft of a card in his notebook. Once satisfied with it, he transfers his draft from his notebook into Obsidian (ostensibly for search and as a digital back up) where he may also be refining the note further. Finally he writes a final draft of his "permanent" (my framing, not his) note on a physical index card, numbers it with respect to his earlier card, and then (presumably) installs it into his card collection.
In comparison to my own practice, it seems like he's spending a lot of time after-the-fact in reviewing over the original material to write and rewrite an awful lot of material for what seems (at least to me—and perhaps some of it is as a result of lack of interest in the proximal topic), not much substance. For things like this that I've got more direct interest in, I'll usually have a more direct (written) conversation with the text and work out more of the details while reading directly. This saves me from re-contextualizing the author's original words and arguments while I'm making my arguments and writing against the substrate of the author's thoughts. Putting this work in up front is often more productive at least for areas of direct interest. I would suspect that in Perry's case, he was generally interested in the book, but it doesn't impinge on his immediate areas of research and he only got three or four solid ideas out of it as opposed to a dozen or so.
The level of one's conversation with the text will obviously depend on their interest and goals, a topic which is relatively well laid out by Adler & Van Doren (1940).
- Jul 2022
Beyond the cards mentioned above, you should also capture any hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry on separate cards. Regularly go through these to make sure that you are covering everything and that you don’t forget something.I consider these insurance cards because they won’t get lost in some notebook or scrap of paper, or email to oneself.
Julius Reizen in reviewing over Umberto Eco's index card system in How to Write a Thesis, defines his own "insurance card" as one which contains "hard-to-classify thoughts, questions, and areas for further inquiry". These he would keep together so that they don't otherwise get lost in the variety of other locations one might keep them
These might be akin to Ahrens' "fleeting notes" but are ones which may not easily or even immediately be converted in to "permanent notes" for one's zettelkasten. However, given their mission critical importance, they may be some of the most important cards in one's repository.
link this to - idea of centralizing one's note taking practice to a single location
Is this idea in Eco's book and Reizen is the one that gives it a name since some of the other categories have names? (examples: bibliographic index cards, reading index cards (aka literature notes), cards for themes, author index cards, quote index cards, idea index cards, connection cards). Were these "officially" named and categorized by Eco?
May be worthwhile to create a grid of these naming systems and uses amongst some of the broader note taking methods. Where are they similar, where do they differ?
Multi-search tools that have full access to multiple trusted data stores (ostensibly personal ones across notebooks, hard drives, social media services, etc.) could potentially solve the problem of needing to remember where you noted something.
Currently, in the social media space especially, this is not a realized service.
- card index
- types of notes
- note taking why
- permanent notes
- note taking process
- insurance cards
- Umberto Eco
- IndieWeb search
- card index for writing
- fleeting ideas
- fleeting notes
- tools for thought affordances
- note taking methods
- Jun 2022
Compass Points, a routine for examining propositions.
- E- excited
- W- worrisome
- N - need to know
- S - stance or suggestion for moving forward
These could be used as a simple set of rules for thumb for evaluating and expanding on ideas in note taking or social annotation settings.
Compare these with the suggestions of Tiago Forte in his book Building a Second Brain. Which is better? More comprehensive? Are there any ideas missing in a broader conceptualization? Is there a better acronymization or analogy for such a technique?
- Feb 2022
In fact, my allegiance to Scrivener basically boils down to just three tricks that the software performs, but those tricks are so good that I’m more than willing to put up with all the rest of the tool’s complexity.Those three tricks are:Every Scrivener document is made up of little cards of text — called “scrivenings” in the lingo — that are presented in an outline view on the left hand side of the window. Select a card, and you see the text associated with that card in the main view.If you select more than one card in the outline, the combined text of those cards is presented in a single scrolling view in the main window. You can easily merge a series of cards into one longer card.The cards can be nested; you can create a card called, say, “biographical info”, and then drag six cards that contain quotes about given character’s biography into that card, effectively creating a new folder. That folder can in turn be nested inside another folder, and so on. If you select an entire folder, you see the combined text of all the cards as a single scrolling document.
Steven Johnson identifies the three features of Scrivener which provide him with the most value.
Notice the close similarity of these features to those of a traditional zettelkasten: cards of text which can be linked together and rearranged into lines of thought.
One difference is the focus on the creation of folders which creates definite hierarchies rather than networks of thought.
Local file Local file
The slip-box provides not only a clear structure to work in, but also forces usto shift our attention consciously as we can complete tasks inreasonable time before moving on to the next one.
Ahrens provides a quick overview of some research on distraction, attention, and multi-tasking to make the point that:
The simple structure and design of the zettelkasten forces one's focus and attention on small individual tasks that cumulatively build into better thinking and writing.
(Summary of Section 9.2)
There is one reliable sign if you managedto structure your workflow according to the fact that writing is not alinear process, but a circular one: the problem of finding a topic isreplaced by the problem of having too many topics to write about.
Writing is a circular generative process and not a finite, linear one.
Every intellectual endeavour starts from an already existingpreconception, which then can be transformed during further inquiresand can serve as a starting point for following endeavours. Basically,that is what Hans-Georg Gadamer called the hermeneutic circle
All intellectual endeavors start from a preexisting set of ideas. These can then be built upon to create new concepts which then influence the original starting point and may continue ever expanding with further thought.
Ahrens argues that most writing advice goes against the idea of the hermeneutic circle and pretends as if the writer is starting with a blank page. This can prefigure some of the stress and difficulty Ernest Hemingway spoke of when he compared writing to "facing the white bull which is paper with no words on it."
While it can be convenient to think of the idea of tabula rasa, in practice it really doesn't exist. As a result the zettelkasten more readily shows its value in the writing process.
A good structure is something you can trust. It relieves you fromthe burden of remembering and keeping track of everything. If youcan trust the system, you can let go of the attempt to hold everythingtogether in your head and you can start focusing on what isimportant:
Whether it's for writing, to do lists, or other productivity spaces, a well designed system is something that one can put their absolute trust into. This allows one to free themselves from the burden of tracking and dealing with minutiae so they can get serious work done.
- circular processes
- linear processes
- tabula rasa
- zettelkasten design
- hermeneutic circle
- writing process
- to do lists
- building blocks
- context shifting
- tools for thought
- networked thinking
- ideas have sex
- Hemingway's White Bull
- generative thought
- Hans-Georg Gadamer
- Dec 2021
Medium, a writing app that is also a publishing platform and a social-media network, represents the logical extreme of this vertical integration.
Julian Lucas indicates that tools like Microsoft Word, WordStar, WordPerfect, and Google Docs, are writing tools which ultimately result into the vertical integration of Medium. The mistake here is that while they are certain tools and one can write into them and use them for editing, they are all probably best thought of as tools in the chain of moving toward publishing with Medium being the example that allows one to present their work as well as a distribution mechanism with a cheery on top.
What she is not focusing enough (any?) attention on is the creation processes at the start. How does one come up with an interesting idea? How does one do the research? How does one collect ideas moving toward some teleological endpoint? Tools that address these ideas of invention and creation are the real writing tools that writers so elusively search out.
Far better to look at note taking tools or tools like Hypothes.is that go to the roots of the creation process. Tools that can take fleeting ideas and collect them. Tools that can take those collections and interlink them. Tools that allow for combinatorial juxtaposition and rearrangement. Tools that allow outlining.
It is only after this that one may use a tool like Microsoft Word to do the final arrangement, editing, and polish before sending it off to a publisher.
- May 2021
A relatively comprehensive view of Wouter Groeneveld's commonplacing workflow. There are a few bits missing here and there, but he's got most of the bigger basics down that a majority of people seem to have found and discovered.
He's got a strong concept of indexing, search, and even some review, which many miss. There's some organic work toward combinatorial thought, but only via the search piece.
I should make a list of the important pieces for more advanced versions to have. I've yet to see any articles or work on this.
- Jan 2019
Again, as in the example of the math teacher, students must show their work as to how they came to an answer. One doesn't just arrive at an answer. It is a process.
- Oct 2015
. Human interactional intelligence is, so far as we know, predicated upon five qualities
So this is basically the through process of analysis/division of how humans take in stimuli in the environment?