118 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2024
    1. Perhaps the quickest way to understand the elements of what a novelistis doing is not to read, but to write; to make your own experiment withthe dangers and difficulties of words.

      This seems to be the duality of Millard Kaufman (and certainly other writers'?) advice that to be a good writer, one must first be well read.

      Of course, perhaps the two really are meant to be a hand in a glove and the reader should actively write as they read thereby doing both practices at once.

  2. Jan 2024
    1. We’ll spend this session talking a bit about the weirdness of academic writing, as well as the overflow of writing advice out there.

      overflow of writing advice!

  3. Oct 2023
    1. "This," says Aristotle, "is the essence of the plot; the rest isepisode."

      Aristotle on the unity of a work.


    2. You have not graspeda complex unity if all you know about it is how it is one. Youmust also know how it is many, not a many that consists of alot of separate things, but an organized many. If the partswere not organically related, the whole that they composedwould not be one. Strictly speaking, there would be no wholeat all but merely a collection.

      This is also an art of putting notes together to make an article or book.


      The first several rules of reading a book analytically follow the same process of writing a book as suggested in the snowflake method.

    1. You become familiar with the process of catching an idea andtranslating that idea. You understand the tools and the lighting. Youunderstand the whole process—you’ve been through it before.

      He's talking about movie making, but it applies to almost anything.

  4. Sep 2023
    1. Merchants and traders have a waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch in GermanI believe) in which they enter daily everything they purchase and sell,messily, without order. From this, it is transferred to their journal, whereeverything appears more systematic, and finally to a ledger, in double entryafter the Italian manner of bookkeeping, where one settles accounts witheach man, once as debtor and then as creditor. This deserves to be imitatedby scholars. First it should be entered in a book in which I record everythingas I see it or as it is given to me in my thoughts; then it may be enteredin another book in which the material is more separated and ordered, andthe ledger might then contain, in an ordered expression, the connectionsand explanations of the material that flow from it. [46]

      —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook E, #46, 1775–1776

      In this single paragraph quote Lichtenberg, using the model of Italian bookkeepers of the 18th century, broadly outlines almost all of the note taking technique suggested by Sönke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes. He's got writing down and keeping fleeting notes as well as literature notes. (Keeping academic references would have been commonplace by this time.) He follows up with rewriting and expanding on the original note to create additional "explanations" and even "connections" (links) to create what Ahrens describes as permanent notes or which some would call evergreen notes.

      Lichtenberg's version calls for the permanent notes to be "separated and ordered" and while he may have kept them in book format himself, it's easy to see from Konrad Gessner's suggestion at the use of slips centuries before, that one could easily put their permanent notes on index cards ("separated") and then number and index or categorize them ("ordered"). The only serious missing piece of Luhmann's version of a zettelkasten then are the ideas of placing related ideas nearby each other, though the idea of creating connections between notes is immediately adjacent to this, and his numbering system, which was broadly based on the popularity of Melvil Dewey's decimal system.

      It may bear noticing that John Locke's indexing system for commonplace books was suggested, originally in French in 1685, and later in English in 1706. Given it's popularity, it's not unlikely that Lichtenberg would have been aware of it.

      Given Lichtenberg's very popular waste books were known to have influenced Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, Andre Breton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Reference: Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph (2000). The Waste Books. New York: New York Review Books Classics. ISBN 978-0940322509.) It would not be hard to imagine that Niklas Luhmann would have also been aware of them.

      Open questions: <br /> - did Lichtenberg number the entries in his own waste books? This would be early evidence toward the practice of numbering notes for future reference. Based on this text, it's obvious that the editor numbered the translated notes for this edition, were they Lichtenberg's numbering? - Is there evidence that Lichtenberg knew of Locke's indexing system? Did his waste books have an index?

  5. Aug 2023
    1. Diller says that she always let the audience do the editing of her material for her. If people didn't laugh, or get it right away, the joke didn't survive. "You never blame the audience," she says. Thus, her advice to aspiring comics: "Go out and try it, and if you find out from the audience that you're not funny, quit."
    1. I could continue a thread anywhere, rather than always picking it up at the end. I could sketch out where I expected things to go, with an outline, rather than keeping all the points I wanted to hit in my head as I wrote. If I got stuck on something, I could write about how I was stuck nested underneath whatever paragraph I was currently writing, but then collapse the meta-thoughts to be invisible later -- so the overall narrative doesn’t feel interrupted.

      Notes about what you don't know (open questions), empty outline slots, red links as [[wikilinks]], and other "holes" in tools for thought provide a bookmark for where one may have quit exploring, but are an explicit breadcrumb for picking up that line of thought and continuing it at a future time.

      Linear writing in one's notebooks, books they're reading, and other places doesn't always provide an explicit space which invites the reader or writer to fill them in. One has to train themselves to annotate in the margins to have a conversation with the text. Until one sees these empty spaces as inviting spaces they can be invisible to the eye.

    1. https://www.oliverburkeman.com/onwriting

      Oliver Burkerman, of Four Thousand Weeks fame, is testing out zettelkasten based on Ahrens' book.

    2. Quoting the academics Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner, Pinker suggests approaching writing as if you were pointing something in the environment out to another person – something that she would notice for herself, if only she knew where to look. Imagine directing someone's gaze across a valley, to a specific house on the other side. "You should pretend," writes Pinker, "that you, the writer, see something in the world that's interesting, and that you're directing the attention of your reader to that thing." He calls this the "joint attention" strategy.

      Good writing is pointing out the interesting things you see to others. It's pre-literate, and even pre-oral.

  6. Jul 2023
    1. Books aren’t something one approves or disapproves of; they are to be understood, interpreted, learned from, shocked by, argued with and enjoyed. Moreover, the evolution of literature and the other arts, their constant renewal over the centuries, has always been fueled by what is now censoriously labeled “cultural appropriation” but which is more properly described as “influence,” “inspiration” or “homage.” Poets, painters, novelists and other artists all borrow, distort and transform. That’s their job; that’s what they do.
    1. Nowhere is the P&V distortion so plain and disturbing as in their versions of Tolstoy.Critics sometimes say it is impossible to ruin Tolstoy because his diction is so straightforward. But it is actually quite easy to misrepresent him if one does not understand the language of novels. Since Jane Austen, novels have tended to trace a character’s thoughts in the third person. The choice of words, and the way one thought begets another, belongs to the character, and so we come to know her inner voice. At the same time, the character’s view may not comport with the author’s, and it is the art of the writer to make clear that what the character is seeing is deluded or self-serving or foolish. This “double-voicing” lies at the heart of the 19th-century novelistic enterprise. For Dickens and Trollope, “double-voicing” becomes the vehicle of satire, while George Eliot and Tolstoy use it for masterful psychological exploration. If one misses what is going on, the whole point of a passage can be lost.
  7. May 2023
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU7efgGEOgk

      I wish he'd gotten into more of the detail of the research and index card making here as that's where most of the work lies. He does show some of his process of laying out and organizing the cards into some sort of sections using 1/3 cut tabbed cards. This is where his system diverges wildly from Luhmann's. He's now got to go through all the cards and do some additional re-reading and organizational work to put them into some sort of order. Luhmann did this as he went linking ideas and organizing them up front. This upfront work makes the back side of laying things out and writing/editing so much easier. It likely also makes one more creative as one is regularly revisiting ideas, juxtaposing them, and potentially generating new ones along the way rather than waiting until the organization stage to have some of this new material "fall out".

    1. Even three or four words are often worth jotting down if they will evoke a thought, an idea or a mood. In the barren periods, one should browse through the notebooks. Some ideas may suddenly start to move. Two ideas may combine, perhaps because they were meant to combine in the first place. —Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction
    2. I highly recommend notebooks for writers, a small one if one has to be out on a job all day, a larger one if one has the luxury of staying at home.

      from Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

    1. The bee plunders the flowers here and there, but afterwards they make of them honey, which is all theirs; it is no longer thyme or marjoram. Even so with the pieces borrowed from others; he will transform and blend them to make a work that is all his own, to wit, his judgment — The Complete Essays of Michel de Montaigne

      Cross reference with Seneca's note taking metaphors with apes.

  8. Apr 2023
    1. I think what’s behind “write what you know” is emotion. Like, have you known happiness? Have you ever been truly sad? Have you ever longed for something? And that’s the point, if you’ve longed for an Atari 2600, as I did when I was twelve, all I wanted was that game console, if you have felt that deep longing, that can also be a deep longing for a lost love or for liberation of your country, or to reach Mars. That’s the idea: if you’ve known longing, then you can write longing. And that’s the knowing behind “write what you know.””

      Nathan Englander

    1. Sometimes you must surrender the idea of steering the story toward a predetermined structure and destination. We all know how to do the latter, so it feels secure.
    2. Writing about science means humbling yourself about how little you know, and then writing the story in the authoritative voice of a tentative expert.
    3. Roy Peter Clark, writing scholar and coach at The Poynter Institute, says, “Reports give readers information. Stories give readers experience.” I would add: An article is generic; a story is unique.

      There's something interesting lurking here on note taking practice as well.

      Generic notes for learning may rephrase or summarize an idea int one's own words and are equivalent to basic information or articles as framed by Clark/Keiger. But in building towards something, that goes beyond the basic, one should strive in their notes to elicit experience and generate insight; take the facts and analyze them, create something new, interesting, and unique.

    4. Roy Peter Clark, writing scholar and coach at The Poynter Institute, says, “Reports give readers information. Stories give readers experience.” I would add: An article is generic; a story is unique.
    5. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Great genial power, one would almost say, consists in not being original at all; in being altogether receptive; in letting the world do all, and suffering the spirit of the hour to pass unobstructed through the mind.”

      original source?

    1. How best to incorporate a book of terms? .t3_12e2r50._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionHi, so my Zettelkasten is mainly based around learning literary/storytelling techniques. There's a book called the Elements of Eloquence (which I can't recommend enough to those interested in language) which lays down a large number of formulas from rhetoric for creating memorable lines. It varies in complexity from alliteration to hendiadys, and contains 39 of these memorable-line-recipes in total.I want to enter them into my vault, but worry that creating 39 new notes for the individual formula might be overkill. I thought I'd ask here as I am worried about irreducibility - do I create a single note that contains brief descriptions of all the recipes, or fill my zettelkasten with them, creating what feels a little bit like spam?I've had the zettelkasten for a while but have been too busy to properly use it until recently, so I thought I'd be better off asking the people with actual experience!

      reply to u/apricotsareweird at r/Zettelkasten - How best to incorporate a book of terms?

      This sounds a bit like it might fit into the mold of an example like Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's "Oblique Strategies" which are bits of creative advice that one draws out at random to help improve their work. You could have a custom deck for potential writing work and attempt the recipes at random to see where it takes you. At worst a collection of them could be used for spaced repetition to memorize or familiarize yourself with them. At a later date you could give them numbers and install them into a larger collection, but keeping them as a stand alone collection certainly couldn't hurt at least to start.

  9. Mar 2023
    1. Value the process, rather than the product.

      Good writing is often about practices and process to arrive at an end product and not just the end product itself.

      Writing is a means to an end, but most don't have the means to begin with.

      Writing with a card index, zettelkasten, commonplace book or other related tools can dramatically help almost any writer because it provides them with a means from the start rather than facing a blank page and having to produce whole cloth in bulk.

  10. Feb 2023
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKjuBvNi40

      Ben Rowland uses index cards to outline the plot of his screenplays. This is a common practice among screenwriters. Interestingly he only uses it for plot outlining and not for actual writing the way other writers like Vladimir Nabokov may have. Both Benjamin Rowland and Duston Lance Black use cards for outlining but not at the actual writing stage.

    1. Of course the metaphor of the bees and their honey is the biggest which we've all failed to mention! It's my favorite because of its age, its location within the tradition of rhetoric and sententiae/ars excerpendi, its prolific use through history, and the way it frames collecting and arranging for the use of creativity and writing.

      In the his classic on rhetoric, Seneca gave an account of his ideas about note-taking in the 84th letter to Luculius ("On Gathering Ideas"). It begins from ut aiunt: "men say", that we should imitate the bees in our reading practice. For as they produce honey from the flowers they visit and then "assort in their cells all that they have brought in", so we should, "sift (separate) whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading" because things keep better in isolation from one another, an idea which dovetails with ars memoria, the 4th canon of rhetoric.

      "We should follow, men say, the example of the bees, who flit about and cull the flowers that are suitable for producing honey, and then arrange and assort in their cells all that they have brought in; these bees, as our Vergil says: 'pack close the flowering honey And swell their cells with nectar sweet.' "

      Generations later in ~430 CE, Macrobius in his Saturnalia repeated the same idea (he assuredly read Seneca, though he obviously didn't acknowledge him):

      "You should not count it a fault if I shall set out the borrowings from a miscellaneous reading in the authors' own words... sometimes set out plainly in my own words and sometimes faithfully recorded in the actual words of the old writers... We ought in some sort to imitate bees; and just as they, in their wandering to and fro, sip the flowers, then arrange their spoil and distribute it among the honeycombs, and transform the various juices to a single flavor by some mixing with them a property of their own being, so I too shall put into writing all that I have acquired in the varied course of my reading... For not only does arrangement help the memory, but the actual process of arrangement, accompanied by a kind of mental fermentation which serves to season the whole, blends the diverse extracts to make a single flavor; with the result that, even if the sources are evident, what we get in the end is still something clearly different from those known sources."

      Often in manuscripts writers in the middle ages to the Renaissance would draw bees or write 'apes' (Latin for bees) in the margins of their books almost as bookmarks for things they wished to remember or excerpt for their own notes.

      Of course, neither of these classical writers mentions the added benefit that the bees were simultaneously helping to pollenate the flowers, which also enhances the ecosystem.

      • Seneca (2006) Epistles 66-92. With an English translation by Richard G. Gummere. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library), 277-285.
      • Havens, Earle. Commonplace Books: A History of Manuscripts and Printed Books from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 2001.
    1. To cover my knowledge management process would distract you from what works for you. Your question needs more context to be actionable.TL;DR; Whichever knowledge management system gets you paid.I've got 13 notes with the term "knowledge management," 15 with "information gathering," and 7 with "strategic intelligence." Without finishing a MOC, here's off the top of my head:Have a purpose or reason for learning.Ask helpful questions that solve problems.Answer questions as stand-alone notes.Learn from primary sources. Even boring ones.Take notes for your intended audience.Serve a specific audience (get paid.)Write about what people care about.Become a subject matter expert in target areas.Deliver what you know as a service first.Build on your strengths. Knowledge is cheap.It's not a process. More like tips. If demand exists, I'll write a book on the topic in a few years. Might be a good podcast topic.“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” -- Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel JohnsonRemember, there is no shortage of knowledge. Managing information is like masturbation; it feels good but doesn't do much. Focus on making information drive goal achievement.

      Some useful and solid advice here.

    1. Rebecca Spang: Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (book)

      Part of Sprang's process (per conversation with DeDeo) is reading each line out loud and revising it until it sounds good.

  11. Jan 2023
    1. Avoid both very long andvery short paragraphs: the length should usually vary from150 to 860 words. Attend carefully to the unity and correctstructure of the paragraph.

      His description of paragraphs from 150 to 350 words is interesting with respect to the amount of material that will fit on a 3x5" inch card during the note taking process.

    1. Like any journal, Thoreau’s is repetitive, which suggests naturalplaces to shorten the text but these are precisely what need to be keptin order to preserve the feel of a journal, Thoreau’s in particular. Itrimmed many of Thoreau’s repetitions but kept them wheneverpossible, because they are important to Thoreau and because theyare beautiful. Sometimes he repeats himself because he is drafting,revising, constructing sentences solid enough to outlast the centuries.

      Henry David Thoreau repeated himself frequently in his journals. Damion Searls who edited an edition of his journals suggested that some of this repetition was for the beauty and pleasure of the act, but that in many examples his repetition was an act of drafting, revising, and constructing.

      Scott Scheper has recommended finding the place in one's zettelkasten where one wants to install a card before writing it out. I believe (check this) that he does this in part to prevent one from repeating themselves, but one could use the opportunity and the new context that brings them to an idea again to rewrite or rework and expand on their ideas while they're so inspired.

      Thoreau's repetition may have also served the idea of spaced repetition: reminding him of his thoughts as he also revised them. We'll need examples of this through his writing to support such a claim. As the editor of this volume indicates that he removed some of the repetition, it may be better to go back to original sources than to look for these examples here.

      (This last paragraph on repetition was inspired by attempting to type a tag for repetition and seeing "spaced repetition" pop up. This is an example in my own writing practice where the serendipity of a previously tagged word auto-populating/auto-completing in my interface helps to trigger new thoughts and ideas from a combinatorial creativity perspective.)

  12. Dec 2022
    1. Is the ZK method worth it? and how it helped you in your projects? .t3_zwgeas._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionI am new to ZK method and I'd like to use it for my literature review paper. Altho the method is described as simple, watching all those YT videos about the ZK and softwares make it very complex to me. I want to know how it changed your writing??

      reply to u/Subject_Industry1633 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/zwgeas/is_the_zk_method_worth_it_and_how_it_helped_you/ (and further down)

      ZK is an excellent tool for literature reviews! It is a relative neologism (with a slightly shifted meaning in English over the past decade with respect to its prior historical use in German) for a specific form of note taking or commonplacing that has generally existed in academia for centuries. Excellent descriptions of it can be found littered around, though not under a specific easily searchable key word or phrase, though perhaps phrases like "historical method" or "wissenschaftlichen arbeitens" may come closest.

      Some of the more interesting examples of it being spelled out in academe include:

      For academic use, anecdotally I've seen very strong recent use of the general methods most compellingly demonstrated in Obsidian (they've also got a Discord server with an academic-focused channel) though many have profitably used DevonThink and Tinderbox (which has a strong, well-established community of academics around it) as much more established products with dovetails into a variety of other academic tools. Obviously there are several dozens of newer tools for doing this since about 2018, though for a lifetime's work, one might worry about their longevity as products.

    1. Fact-based disciplines such as natural sciences have less potential for deeply linked, atomic zettel notes than arts and humanities. There is not much to discuss about or 'generate insight' on photosynthesis, algebra or network protocols if you are not a scientist.

      Again note taking is the wrong tool for fact-based acquisition. Apparently this is not advice given in most sources. Spaced repetition and mnemonic methods are far better suited for memorizing and remembering basic facts.

      Take notes on the surprising and unique. Take notes as writing you'll reuse later. Take notes to understand.

  13. Nov 2022
    1. Abrams, Douglas. “Historian Barbara W. Tuchman on the ‘Art of Writing’ (Part II).” Precedent 9, no. 1 (January 1, 2015): 18–21. http://ssrn.com/abstract=2581159

      Interesting view of writing and a short collection of reasonable writing advice. Perhaps a bit too much focus on other writers given the title of the piece. Not sure it was all brought together in the nice bow it may have otherwise had, but interesting nonetheless.

    2. Justice Louis D.Brandeis instructedlawyers that “there is nosuch thing as good writ-ing. There is only goodrewriting.”23
    3. “Broadly speaking, the shortwords are the best, and the old wordswhen short are best of all,” attestedformer British Prime Minister WinstonChurchill,
    4. “Usethe smallest word that does the job,”advised essayist and journalist E. B.White.20
    5. Novelists Ernest Hemingway and Wil-liam Faulkner, for example, went backand forth about the virtues of simplic-ity in writing. Faulkner once criticizedHemingway, who he said “had nocourage, never been known to use aword that might send the reader to thedictionary.” “Poor Faulkner,” Heming-way responded, “Does he really thinkbig emotions come from big words?He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollarwords. I know them all right. But thereare older and simpler and better words,and those are the ones I use.”15

      15 A.E. Hotchner , PAPA heminGwAy 69-70 (1966) (quoting Hemingway).

    6. Justice Felix Frankfurter,a prolific writer as a Harvard lawprofessor before joining the SupremeCourt, was right that “[a]nything thatis written may present a problem ofmeaning” because words “seldomattain[] more than approximate preci-sion.”12

      12 Felix Frankfurter, Some Reflections On the Reading of Statutes, 47 CoLUm . L. rev. 527, 528 (1947), reprinting Felix Frankfurter, Sixth Annual Benjamin N. Cardozo Lecture, 2 Rec. Bar Ass'n City of N.Y. (No. 6, 1947).

    7. Guy de Maupassant, was no lawyer,but his advice can help guide lawyerswho seek precision in their writing.“Whatever you want to say,” he assert-ed, “there is only one word to expressit, only one verb to give it movement,only one adjective to qualify it. Youmust search for that word, that verb,that adjective, and never be contentwith an approximation, never resortto tricks, even clever ones, and neverhave recourse to verbal sleight-of-hand to avoid a difficulty.”11

      11 Guy de Maupassant, Selected Short Sto- ries 10-11 (Roger Colet ed., 1971) (Maupassant quoting French writer Gustave Flaubert).

    1. A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial, reason, that "great wits have short memories;" and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day's reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men, as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. For, take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his. By these few and easy prescriptions, (with the help of a good genius) it is possible you may, in a short time, arrive at the accomplishments of a poet, and shine in that character[3].

      "Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia, is unquestionably true, with regard to every thing except poetry; and I am very sure that any man of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention, and labour, make himself whatever he pleases, except a good poet." Chesterfield, Letter lxxxi.

      See also: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:The_Works_of_the_Rev._Jonathan_Swift,_Volume_5.djvu/261 as a source

      Swift, Jonathan. The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift. Edited by Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols. Vol. 5. 19 vols. London: H. Baldwin and Son, 1801.

    1. When he was coming up as a writer, the author and journalist Rex Murphy would write out longhand favorite poems and passages. He was asked, what’s that done for you? “There’s an energy attached to poetry and great prose,” Murphy said. “And when you bring it into your mind, into your living sensibility, by some weird osmosis, it lifts your style or the attempts of your mind.” When you read great writing, when you write down a great line or paragraph, Murphy continues, “somehow or another, it contaminates you in a rich way. You get something from it—from this osmotic imitation—that will only take place if you lodge it in your consciousness.”

      This writing advice from Rex Murphy sounds like the beginning portions of Benjamin Franklin's advice on writing and slowly rewriting one's way into better prose styles.

      Link to Franklin's quote

    2. The novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler said he avoided reading books written by someone who didn’t “take the pains” to write out the words. (It used to be common for writers to dictate into a recorder then have an assistant transcribe those words.) “You have to have that mechanical resistance,” Chandler wrote in a 1949 letter to actor/writer Alex Barris. “When you have to use your energy to put those words down, you are more apt to make them count.”
  14. Oct 2022
    1. A recent writer has called attention to apassage in Paxson's presidential address before the American Historical Associationin 1938, in which he remarked that historians "needed Cheyney's warning . . . not towrite in 1917 or 1918 what might be regretted in 1927 and 1928."

      There are lessons in Frederic L. Paxson's 1938 address to the American Historical Association for todays social media culture and the growing realm of cancel culture when he remarked that historians "needed Cheyney's warning... not to write in 1917 or 1918 what might be regretted in 1927 and 1928.

    2. the writer of "scissors and paste history" ;

      One cannot excerpt their way into knowledge, simply cutting and pasting one's way through life is useless. Your notes may temporarily serve you, but unless you apply judgement and reason to them to create something new, they will remain a scrapheap for future generations who will gain no wisdom or use from your efforts.

      relate to: notes about notes being only useful to their creator

    1. For Tim, the practice is managed by routine.“My quota for writing is two crappy pages a day,” he explains. Those two pages help him get started, matter what other commitments he is meeting that day. And even if they’re bad, they’re at least done.The idea is to set goals that are “easily winnable” so you don’t panic when one day passes and you don’t make that goal, because you always know you can easily pick back up the next day.“If I don’t write my two pages I don’t panic and go into the spiral.”

      Tim Ferris has a routine for writing and has indicated "My quota for writing is two crappy pages a day." and "If I don't write my two pages, I don't panic and go into the spiral."

      (summary); possibly worth watching video for verifying quotes and pulling out additional practices.

      Note that this piece seems to indicate that his writing practice includes an idea of doing "morning pages", but this implication is likely false as Ferriss likely isn't doing this, but writing toward productive goals rather than to "clear his mental space" as is usually implied by morning pages.

    1. Creating a ZK Don't Break the Chain Calendar in Obsidian

      For those interested in the research on the "Write Every Day" mantra:

      Sword, Helen. “‘Write Every Day!’: A Mantra Dismantled.” International Journal for Academic Development 21, no. 4 (October 1, 2016): 312–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2016.1210153.

    1. Film making is like note taking

      Incidentally, one should note that the video is made up of snippets over time and then edited together at some later date. Specifically, these snippets are much like regularly taken notes which can then be later used (and even re-used--some could easily appear in other videos) to put together some larger project, namely this compilation video of his process. Pointing out this parallel between note taking and movie/videomaking, makes the note taking process much more easily seen, specifically for students. Note taking is usually a quite and solo endeavor done alone, which makes it much harder to show and demonstrate. And when it is demonstrated or modeled, it's usually dreadfully boring and uninteresting to watch compared to seeing it put together and edited as a finished piece. Edits in a film are visually obvious while the edits in written text, even when done poorly, are invisible.

    2. Ryan Holiday does touch on all parts of his writing process, but the majority of the video is devoted to the sorts of easier bikeshedding ideas that people are too familiar with (editing, proofreading, title choice, book cover choice). Hidden here is the process of researching, writing, notes, and actual organizing process which are the much harder pieces for the majority of writers. Hiding it does a massive disservice to those watching it for the most essential advice they're looking for.

    1. Here again we seethe emphasis on writing as a movement that resists reification andall the intimidations of language. It is not surprising that Barthesshould have sought a form that would foster this infinite process. Theform lay, not in the fragment as such, but in the organization orarrangement that could be made from the fragments. He underlinedthis on an unpublished index card from 16 July 1979: ‘I can clearlysee this much (I think): my “notes” (Diary) as such, are not enough (Iincline towards them but in fact they’re a failure). What’s needed isanother turn of the screw, a “key”, which will turn these Notes-Diaryinto the mere notes of work that will be constructed and writtencontinuously: basically, to write notes, the index cards: to classifythem, turn them into bundles, and as I usually do, compose by takingone bundle after another.’11
    1. The most important thing about research is to know when to stop.How does one recognize the moment? When I was eighteen orthereabouts, my mother told me that when out with a young man Ishould always leave a half-hour before I wanted to. Although I wasnot sure how this might be accomplished, I recognized the advice assound, and exactly the same rule applies to research. One must stopbefore one has finished; otherwise, one will never stop and neverfinish.

      Barbara Tuchman analogized stopping one's research to going out on a date: one should leave off a half-hour before you really want to.

      Liink to: This sounds suspiciously like advice about when to start writing, but slightly in reverse: https://hypothes.is/a/WeoX9DUOEe2-HxsJf2P8vw

      One might also liken these processes to the idea of divergence and convergence as described by Tiago Forte and others.

    2. Sincecopying is a chore and a bore, use of the cards, the smaller thebetter, forces one to extract the strictly relevant, to distill from thevery beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one’s ownmind, so to speak.

      Barbara Tuchman recommended using the smallest sized index cards possible to force one only to "extract the strictly relevant" because copying by hand can be both "a chore and a bore".

      In the same address in 1963, she encourages "distill[ing] from the very beginning, to pass the material through the grinder of one's own mind, so to speak." This practice is similar to modern day pedagogues who encourage this practice, but with the benefit of psychology research to back up the practice.

      This advice is two-fold in terms of filtering out the useless material for an author, but the grinder metaphor indicates placing multiple types of material in to to a processor to see what new combinations of products come out the other end. This touches more subtly on the idea of combinatorial creativity encouraged by Raymond Llull, Matt Ridley, et al. or the serendipity described by Niklas Luhmann and others.

      When did the writing for understanding idea begin within the tradition? Was it through experience in part and then underlined with psychology research? Visit Ahrens' references on this for particular papers to read.

      Link to modality shift research.

    1. Writing4ever_3

      Even if your raw typing is 60+ wpm, it doesn't help if you're actively composing at the same time. If the words and ideas come to you at that speed and you can get it out, great, but otherwise focus on what you can do in 15 minute increments to get the ideas onto the page. If typing is holding you back, write by hand or try a tape recorder or voice to text software.

    1. Goutor only mentions two potential organizational patterns for creating output with one's card index: either by chronological order or topical order. (p34) This might be typical for a historian who is likely to be more interested in chronologies and who would have likely noted down dates within their notes.

    2. For physical note taking on index cards or visualizations provided by computer generated graphs, one can physically view a mass of notes and have a general feeling if there is a large enough corpus to begin writing an essay, chapter, or book or if one needs to do additional research on a topic, or perhaps pick a different topic on which to focus.

      (parts suggested by p7, though broadly obvious)

    1. From these considerations, I hope the reader will un-derstand that in a way I never " s t a r t " writing on a project;I am writing continuously, either in a more personal vein,in the files, in taking notes after browsing, or in moreguided endeavors

      Seems similar to the advice within Ahrens. Did he have a section on not needing to "start" writing or at least not starting with a blank page?

      Compare and contrast these, if so.

      Link to: https://hyp.is/DJd2hDUQEe2BMGv-WFSnVQ/www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1360144X.2016.1210153

  15. Sep 2022
    1. I recommended Paul Silvia’s bookHow to write a lot, a succinct, witty guide to academic productivity in the Boicean mode.

      What exactly are Robert Boice and Paul Silvia's methods? How do they differ from the conventional idea of "writing"?

    2. • Daily writing prevents writer’s block.• Daily writing demystifies the writing process.• Daily writing keeps your research always at the top of your mind.• Daily writing generates new ideas.• Daily writing stimulates creativity• Daily writing adds up incrementally.• Daily writing helps you figure out what you want to say.

      What specifically does she define "writing" to be? What exactly is she writing, and how much? What does her process look like?

      One might also consider the idea of active reading and writing notes. I may not "write" daily in the way she means, but my note writing, is cumulative and beneficial in the ways she describes in her list. I might further posit that the amount of work/effort it takes me to do my writing is far more fruitful and productive than her writing.

      When I say writing, I mean focused note taking (either excerpting, rephrasing, or original small ideas which can be stitched together later). I don't think this is her same definition.

      I'm curious how her process of writing generates new ideas and creativity specifically?

      One might analogize the idea of active reading with a pen in hand as a sort of Einsteinian space-time. Many view reading and writing as to separate and distinct practices. What if they're melded together the way Einstein reconceptualized the space time continuum? The writing advice provided by those who write about commonplace books, zettelkasten, and general note taking combines an active reading practice with a focused writing practice that moves one toward not only more output, but higher quality output without the deleterious effects seen in other methods.

    3. . Remove Boice from the equation, and the existing literature on scholarly writing offerslittle or no conclusive evidence that academics who write every day are any more prolific,productive, or otherwise successful than those who do not.

      There is little if any research that writing every day has any direct benefits.

    4. Sword, Helen. “‘Write Every Day!’: A Mantra Dismantled.” International Journal for Academic Development 21, no. 4 (October 1, 2016): 312–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2016.1210153

    1. @BenjaminVanDyneReplying to @ChrisAldrichI wish I had a good answer! The book I use when I teach is Joseph Harris’s “rewriting” which is technically a writing book but teaches well as a book about how to read in a writerly way.

      Thanks for this! I like the framing and general concept of the book.

      It seems like its a good follow on to Dan Allosso's OER text How to Make Notes and Write https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/ or Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes https://amzn.to/3DwJVMz which includes some useful psychology and mental health perspective.

      Other similar examples are Umberto Eco's How to Write a Thesis (MIT, 2015) or Gerald Weinberg's The Fieldstone Method https://amzn.to/3DCf6GA These may be some of what we're all missing.

      I'm reminded of Mark Robertson's (@calhistorian) discussion of modeling his note taking practice and output in his classroom using Roam Research. https://hyp.is/QuB5NDa0Ee28hUP7ExvFuw/thatsthenorm.com/mark-robertson-history-socratic-dialogue/ Perhaps we need more of this?

      Early examples of this sort of note taking can also be seen in the religious studies space with Melanchthon's handbook on commonplaces or Jonathan Edwards' Miscellanies, though missing are the process from notes to writings. https://www.logos.com/grow/jonathan-edwards-organizational-genius/

      Other examples of these practices in the wild include @andy_matuschak's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGcs4tyey18 and TheNonPoet's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sdp0jo2Fe4 Though it may be better for students to see this in areas in which they're interested.

      Hypothes.is as a potential means of modeling and allowing students to directly "see" this sort of work as it progresses using public/semi-public annotations may be helpful. Then one can separately model re-arranging them and writing a paper. https://web.hypothes.is/

      Reply to: https://twitter.com/BenjaminVanDyne/status/1571171086171095042

    1. Joseph Harris' text Rewriting: How to do things with texts (2006) sounds like a solid follow on text to the ideas found in Sönke Ahrens (2017) or Dan Allosso (2022).

    2. Countering represents a writer attempting to “suggest a different way ofthinking” as opposed to attempting to “nullify” a writing (p. 57).
    3. too often students arelocked into a restricted win/lose view of academic writing.
    1. But having a conversation partner in your topic is actually ideal!

      What's the solution: dig into your primary sources. Ask open-ended questions, and refine them as you go. Be open to new lines of inquiry. Stage your work in Conversation with so-and-so [ previously defined as the author of the text].

      Stacy Fahrenthold recommends digging into primary sources and using them (and their author(s) as a "conversation partner". She doesn't mention using either one's memory or one's notes as a communication partner the way Luhmann does in "Kommunikation mit Zettelkästen" (1981), which can be an incredibly fruitful and creative method for original material.


    1. Sword, Helen. “‘Write Every Day!’: A Mantra Dismantled.” International Journal for Academic Development 21, no. 4 (October 1, 2016): 312–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2016.1210153.

      Preliminary thoughts prior to reading:<br /> What advice does Boice give? Is he following in the commonplace or zettelkasten traditions? Is the writing ever day he's talking about really progressive note taking? Is this being misunderstood?

      Compare this to the incremental work suggested by Ahrens (2017).

      Is there a particular delineation between writing for academic research and fiction writing which can be wholly different endeavors from a structural point of view? I see citations of many fiction names here.

      Cross reference: Throw Mama from the Train quote

      A writer writes, always.

    1. Jeff Miller@jmeowmeowReading the lengthy, motivational introduction of Sönke Ahrens' How to Take Smart Notes (a zettelkasten method primer) reminds me directly of Gerald Weinberg's Fieldstone Method of writing.

      reply to: https://twitter.com/jmeowmeow/status/1568736485171666946

      I've only seen a few people notice the similarities between zettelkasten and fieldstones. Among them I don't think any have noted that Luhmann and Weinberg were both systems theorists.

      syndication link

    1. Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis



    1. Jeremy August 31 Flag I read the book based on your enthusiasm, Chris, and while I learned something from the chapters on making notes, I was very disappointed in the second half, on writing. He is so wrong on the passive I find it hard to believe he ever actually researched it. But no matter, he is in good company on that. I just hope not too many people think they will truly understand the passive after reading this book.

      Repy to https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/16382/#Comment_16382

      @Jeremy I certainly take your point on that score. I had read through a previous edition of just the writing portion which was originally written by S.J. Allosso from a prior generation, so I didn't read through all of the second half of this edition of the book. I haven't compared them, so I'm not sure how much revision, if any, has happened in the writing advice part of the text. I was definitely more interested in his take on note making in the first half.

  16. Aug 2022
    1. Update now that I'm three years in to my PhD program and am about to start on my lit reviews and dissertation research... Holy Forking Shirtballs, am I glad I started my ZK back in 2020!!! * I cannot tell you how often I've used it to write my course papers. * I cannot tell you how often I've had it open during class discussions to back up my points. * I cannot tell you how lazy I've gotten with some of my entries (copying and pasting text instead of reworking it into my own words), and how much I wish I had taken the time to translate those entries for myself.
    1. Dutcher, George Matthew. “Directions and Suggestions for the Writing of Essays or Theses in History.” Historical Outlook 22, no. 7 (November 1, 1931): 329–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/21552983.1931.10114595

    2. These Directions and suggestions were first cornpiled in1908, and the first edition was printed in 1911 for use in theauthor‘s own classes. The present edition is the result ofthorough revision and is planned for general use.

      This will be much more interesting given that he'd first written about this topic in 1908 and has accumulated more experience since then.

      Look for suggestions about the potential change in practice over the ensuing years.

      Is the original version extant in his papers?

    3. The editors of the American historical re-vim suggest t o their reviewers that they should write “witlia scientific rather than a literary intention, and with definite-ness and precision in both praise and dispraise. I t is desiredthat the review of tlie book will be such as will convey t o thereader a clear and comprehensive notion of its nature, ofits contents, of its merits, of its place in the literature ofthe subject, and of the amount of its positive contributionto knowledge.
    4. A tentative oiitline should be prepared as soonas ossible after beginning reading on the subject and modi-f i e f a s the progress of the work requires.
  17. Jul 2022
    1. For those curious about the idea of what students might do with the notes and annotations they're making in the margins of their texts using Hypothes.is, I would submit that Dan Allosso's OER handbook How to Make Notes and Write (Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022) may be a very useful place to turn. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/

      It provides some concrete advice on the topic of once you've highlighted and annotated various texts for a course, how might you then turn your new understanding, ideas, and extant thinking work into a blogpost, essay, term paper or thesis.

      For a similar, but alternative take, the book How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking by Sönke Ahrens (Create Space, 2017) may also be helpful as well. This text however requires purchase via Amazon and doesn't carry the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike (by-nc-sa 4.0) license that Dr. Allosso's does.

      In addition to the online copy of the book, there's an annotatable .pdf copy available here: http://docdrop.org/pdf/How-to-Make-Notes-and-Write---Allosso-Dan-jzdq8.pdf/ though one can download .epub and .pdf copies directly from the Pressbooks site.

    1. Writing is a craft for most of us, not an art.

      Or framed differently:

      The art in writing is knowing that it is really a craft.

  18. Jun 2022
    1. I used to tell students (including PhD students) that 90% of what they will write will not be any good. But the only way they will get to the 10% that is good is by writing the 90% that isn't. So, they'd better start writing now! ;-)
    1. send off your draft or beta orproposal for feedback. Share this Intermediate Packet with a friend,family member, colleague, or collaborator; tell them that it’s still awork-in-process and ask them to send you their thoughts on it. Thenext time you sit down to work on it again, you’ll have their input andsuggestions to add to the mix of material you’re working with.

      A major benefit of working in public is that it invites immediate feedback (hopefully positive, constructive criticism) from anyone who might be reading it including pre-built audiences, whether this is through social media or in a classroom setting utilizing discussion or social annotation methods.

      This feedback along the way may help to further find flaws in arguments, additional examples of patterns, or links to ideas one may not have considered by themselves.

      Sadly, depending on your reader's context and understanding of your work, there are the attendant dangers of context collapse which may provide or elicit the wrong sorts of feedback, not to mention general abuse.

    2. Hemingway Bridge.” He wouldalways end a writing session only when he knew what came next inthe story. Instead of exhausting every last idea and bit of energy, hewould stop when the next plot point became clear. This meant thatthe next time he sat down to work on his story, he knew exactlywhere to start. He built himself a bridge to the next day, using today’senergy and momentum to fuel tomorrow’s writing.

      It's easier to write when you know where you're going. As if to underline this Ernest Hemingway would end his writing sessions when he knew where he was going the following day so that it would be easier to pick up the thread of the story and continue on. (sourcing?)

      (Why doesn't Forte have a source for this Hemingway anecdote? Where does it come from? He footnotes or annotates far more obscure pieces, why not this?!)

      link to - Stephen Covey quote “begin with the end in mind” (did this prefigure the same common advice in narrative circles including Hollywood?)

    3. Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent andoriginal in your work.—Gustave Flaubert

      In addition to this as a standalone quote...

      If nothing else, one should keep a commonplace book so that they have a treasure house of nifty quotes to use as chapter openers for the books they might write.

    1. I also like the simplicity of a box. There’s a purpose here, and it has a lot to dowith efficiency. A writer with a good storage and retrieval system can write faster.He isn’t spending a lot of time looking things up, scouring his papers, and patrollingother rooms at home wondering where he left that perfect quote. It’s in the box.

      A card index can be a massive boon to a writer as a well-indexed one, in particular, will save massive amounts of time which might otherwise be spent searching for quotes or ideas that they know they know, but can't easily recreate.

    1. One conclusion follows from the opposition between the can-ons of good writing and those of good written speeches: unless youare threatened with jail and a heavy fine, do not allow a writtenlecture to be published without extensive rewriting on your part.
    2. Or else, imagine the need to instruct someone in a piece of learningyou possess.

      Barzun suggests using a rubber duck debugging approach to writing as motivation for getting started.

    3. You have, of course, another guide to the right sequence: thenotes in front of you; but let them spur, not drag you onward.In short, write from memory-as far as possible-with only oc-casional pron1pting from the notes, and make everything correctand shipshape later.

      Rather than using his notes as the actual writing, Barzun suggests writing "from memory" and only occasionally using prompting from one's notes.

      This is wholly opposed to the idea of reusing the writing of one's notes in more advanced zettelkasten methods.

    4. I strongly recommend writingahead full tilt, not stopping to correct. Cross out no more thanthe few words that will permit you to go on when you foreseea blind alley. Leave some words in blank, some sentences notcomplete: Keep going!

      When you've got motivation, write away as fast as you can and don't stop.

    5. As SherlockHolmes says to Watson on a famous occasion: "If page 534 findsus only in Chapter Two, the length of the first one must have beenreally intolerable."

      Interesting to see Barzun quote Arthur Conan Doyle here. Not surprising given his penchant for mystery novels however.

  19. May 2022
    1. For Eco on using something like a ZK, see his short book How to Write an Essay. Basically, he writes about making something that we could say is like a ZK, but one card system for each writing assignment.

      Umberto Eco's book How to Write a Thesis (MIT Press, 2015, #) can broadly be thought of as a zettelkasten system, but it advises a separate system for each project or writing assignment. This is generally good advice, and potentially excellent for students on a one-time basis, but it prevents one from benefitting from the work over multiple projects or even a lifetime.

      In some sense, a more traditional approach, and one seen used in Niklas Luhmann's example is to keep different sections separated by broad topics.

      Niklas Luhmann's zettelkasten #1 had 108 broad topics (along with a bibliography and a subject index), and zettelkasten #2 had 11 broad topics. (Cross reference: https://niklas-luhmann-archiv.de/bestand/zettelkasten/inhaltsuebersicht)

      The zettelkasten structure allowed a familiar "folder" like top level structure, but the bibliographic and subject indices allowed them to interlink ideas from one space to the next for longer term work on multiple projects simultaneously.

  20. Apr 2022
    1. A first-rate college library with a comfortable cam-pus around it is a fine milieu for a writer.
    2. NABOKOV: By “editor” I suppose you mean_proofreader.Among these I have known limpid creatures of limitless tact andtenderness who would discuss with me a semicolon as if it werea point of honor—which, indeed, a point of art often is. But Ihave also come across a few pompous avuncular brutes who wouldattempt to “make suggestions” which I countered with a thunder-ous “‘stet!”’
  21. Feb 2022
    1. When you read widely, your brain is exposed to different ways in which a sentence or paragraph is written. There are patterns in the use of nouns, pronouns, verbs and other parts of speech; there are patterns in syntax and in sentence variation; and there are patterns in sound devices, such as alliteration and assonance. You can annotate these with different symbols or colors, and develop understanding as patterns emerge, and style emerges from patterns. To read like a writer, you need to annotate like one, too.

      I haven't seen very much in the area of annotating directly as a means of learning to write. This is related to the idea of note taking for creating content for a zettelkasten, but the focus of such a different collection is for creating a writing style.

      Similar to boxing the boring words (see Draft #4; http://jsomers.net/blog/dictionary), one should edit with an eye toward the overall style of a particular piece.

      Annotating structures and patterns in books is an interesting exercise to evaluate an author's style as a means of potentially subsuming, modifying, or learning other styles.

  22. Sep 2021
    1. What motivates the characters or the author? What are they seeking? What is their purpose? Here’s how Kurt Vonnegut described the importance of incentives in books: “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away—even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”
  23. Aug 2021
  24. Mar 2021
  25. Apr 2020
    1. create the consequences that work with your personality.

      This is key. The Trump donation consequence speaks to me. That'd be awful to have to do.

      I need to hold my project out in front of my greatest enemy. If I finish it, my project and I live on, thrive, and enjoy watching the world enjoy the newfound sense of well-being they've gained as a result of connecting with my work.

      But if I fail, my enemy wins, suddenly causing me to be a part of the problem my work was supposed to be designed to cease.

  26. Nov 2018
    1. Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in—if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got. Forget market research. Never market-research your writing. Write on subjects in which you have enough interest on your own to see you through all the stops, starts, hesitations, and other impediments along the way.

      This one is reminiscent of W. Zinsser's notes in On Writing Well. He makes the argument that one has to first trim out as much as possible, before considering adding back embellishments.

  27. Oct 2017
    1. Well, I worried about that. I sometimes don't like to confess how little I know about these things when I start them, but I'm starting to admit to myself that the less I know at the beginning probably the better it's going to go.
  28. Aug 2016
    1. Rather than write a story true to the character or true to his situation, I wrote a puzzle piece to fill in negative space that didn’t need filling in. I don’t know WHAT WE GOT out of it in the end, and in terms of practical advice, if I can’t answer WHAT DO WE GET out of a story, then I don’t have a story.
    1. less is more in a pitch. Imagine your editor on their most busiest day, on a day when all of their projects are seemingly on fire and due at the printer by lunch time, and then imagine that YOUR email is the one that comes in their inbox. A page. TWO pages at the most for a pitch. Unless they tell you otherwise.]
    1. Continuity – the strict adherence of prior texts and their treatment as sacrosanct records – paralyzes comics all too often. It punishes new readers by their virtue of being new. It rewards trivia over opening up the world and blazing new trails. It cuts the pie into smaller pieces instead of making the pie bigger. It builds barriers and creates gatekeepers. And it’s really hard to write well.
  29. Apr 2016
    1. would like to encourage them to be as creative and inventive as possible. But the reality is that the academy is incredibly conserva tive .

      Yes. What's the balance here?

    2. If you are not pushing the envelope, why write?
  30. Jan 2016
    1. When you write something, you never know who it is going to affect, or how it could help someone who’s struggling and feeling alone, or how in a low moment in their life, desperately searching on Google for answers, they will come upon your words when they need them most. And despite what our culture will have us believe—that metrics and stats matter above all else, that the number of clicks tells the whole story—somehow, in some calculation, impacting one human being has got to be worth more than all the unique page views and Shares and Likes in the world.