873 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    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

    2. At any rate, someof this writing leads me to feel uneasy about the assump-tion that all the skills required to put a book together areexplicit and teachable, as are the deadbeat methods ofmuch orthodox social science today.

      "deadbeat methods"... wowza!

    3. certainly surrounding oneself with acircle of people who will listen and t a l k - - a n d at times theyhave to be imaginary characters--is one of them

      Intellectual work requires "surfaces" to work against, almost as an exact analogy to substrates in chemistry which help to catalyze reactions. The surfaces may include: - articles, books, or other writing against which one can think and write - colleagues, friends, family, other thinkers, or even imaginary characters (as suggested by C. Wright Mills) - one's past self as instantiated by their (imperfect) memory or by their notes about excerpted ideas or their own thoughts


      Are there any other surfaces we're missing?

    4. he taking o f anote is an additional mechanism for comprehension ofwhat one is reading.
    5. In the file, onecan experiment as a writer and thus develop o n e ' s ownpowers of expression.
    6. I had readBalzac off and on during the forties, and been much takenwith his self-appointed task of " c o v e r i n g " all the majorclasses and types in the society of the era he wished tomake his own.

      We write to understand, to learn, to make knowledge our own.

    1. Writing%has%never%given%me%any%pleasure.%

      Good lord. Then don't write.

    2. Whenever%the%writer%writes,%it’s%always%three%o’clock%in%the%morning,%it’s%always%three%or%four%or%five%o’clock%in%the%morning%in%his%head.

      Interesting, and for those of us awake then, writing poems and songs and stories in the dark (sometimes, alas, that has been me), the night seems endless.

    3. The%writer%trusts%nothing%he%writes

      Thus, the revisions

    4. The%moment%a%writer%knows%how%to%achieve%a%certain%effect,%the%method%must%be%abandoned.

      Interesting. I like that it suggests forever exploration.

    5. A%writer%loves%the%dark,%loves%it,%but%is%always%fumbling%around%in%the%light.%

      This feels about right, to me, most of the time. You?

  2. Sep 2022
    1. Prioritizing thinking or wordcraft is an intriguing way to divide writers.

      It's indeed an interesting distinction. Does it represent a different approach in starting point, or is it a deeper difference in artisanship? And there's a bridge needed I suppose. Just thinking does not lead to writing, only wordsmithing not to thought through storyline. I can think of fun and great non-fiction books that read more thought out, and those where wording was leading it seems. But is that sense proof of the actual process? Read Venkatesh original text.

      If this is a useful distinction and ignoring the fact I'm not an author, I fall on the thinking side mostly. Back at uni I wrote columns where the words were leading the way though. Where the verbal construct was the fun, not conveying a point or story.

    1. Do’s 1. Write twenty minutes a day over a period of four days. Do this periodically. This way you wont feel overwhelmed. 2. Write in a private, safe, comfortable environment. 3. Write about issues you're currently living with, something youre thinking or dreaming about constantly, a trauma you've never disclosed or discussed or resolved. 4. Write about joys and pleasures, too. 5. Write about what happened. Write, too, about feelings about what happened. What do you feel? Why do you feel this way? Link events with feelings. 6. ‘Try to write an extremely detailed, organized, coherent, vivid, emotionally compelling narrative. Don’t worry about correctness, about grammar or punctuation. 7. Beneficial effects will occur even if no one reads your writing. If you choose to keep your writing and not discard it, you must safeguard it. 8. Expect, initially, that in writing in this way you will have complex and appropriately difficult feelings. Make sure you get support if you need it.

      On the other side of my notecard, I wrote a set of warnings I'd gleaned from Pennebaker: Don’ts 1. Don’t use writing as a substitute for taking action. 2. Don't become overly intellectual. 3. Don’t use writing as a way of complaining. Use it, instead, to discover how and why you feel as you do. Simply complaining or venting will probably make you feel worse. 4. Don’t use your writing to become overly self-absorbed. Over- analyzing everything is counterproductive. 5. Don't use writing as a substitute for therapy or medical care.

    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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ueMHkGljK0

      Robert Greene's method goes back to junior high school when he was practicing something similar. He doesn't say he invented it, and it may be likely that teachers modeled some of the system for him. He revised the system over time to make it work for himself.


      Revisit this for some pull quotes and fine details of his method.

    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. As I write this book, for instance, I am sitting in a small room, beforea laptop computer, surrounded by books, papers, and magazines—all ofwhich I am, in some metaphorical sense, “in conversation with” (in muchthe same way I am also in conversation with you, my imagined reader).But what I am actually doing is working with a set of materials—lookingfor books on my shelves and flipping through them, folding pages over ormarking them with Post-its, retyping passages, filing and retrieving print-outs and photocopies, making notes in margins and on index cards, and,of course, composing, cutting, pasting, formatting, revising, and printingblocks of prose. I am, that is, for the most part, moving bits of text and paperaround.

      Joseph Harris uses a mélange of materials to make his writing including books, papers, magazines, from which he is copying sections out, writing in margins, making notes on index cards and then moving those pieces of text and pieces of paper (the index cards, and possibly Post-it notes) around to create his output.

      He doesn't delineate a specific process for his excerpting or note taking practice. How does he organize his notes? Is he just pulling them from piles around him? Is there a sense of organization at all?

    2. Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2006. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/9248

    1. Courtney, Jennifer Pooler. “A Review of Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts.” The Journal of Effective Teaching 7, no. 1 (2007): 74–77.

      Review of: Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2006. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/9248.

    2. 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).

    3. Murray, D. M. (2000). The craft of revision (4th ed.). Boston: Harcourt College Publish-ers.
    4. Elbow, P. (1999). Options for responding to student writing. In R. Straub (Ed.), Asourcebook for responding to student writing (pp. 197-202). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton.
    5. many students andteachers confuse revising with editing.
    6. Countering represents a writer attempting to “suggest a different way ofthinking” as opposed to attempting to “nullify” a writing (p. 57).
    7. Harris further illustrates hisown idea of voices adding to an author’s text; each chapter contains multiple “intertexts,”which are small graphics with citation references to outside materials addressed nearby inthe text. These intertexts reinforce the practice of adding voices to the author’s docu-ment. These illustrations are effective; essentially, Harris is reflecting and modeling thepractice.

      I quite like the idea of intertexts, which have the feeling of annotating one's own published work with the annotations of others. A sort of reverse annotation. Newspapers and magazines often feature pull quotes to draw in the reader, but why not have them as additional voices annotating one's stories or arguments.

      This could certainly be done without repeating the quote twice within the piece.

    8. too often students arelocked into a restricted win/lose view of academic writing.
    9. This text fills a gap in the professional literature concerning revision because currently,according to Harris, there is little scholarship on “how to do it” (p. 7).

      I'm curious if this will be an answer to the question I asked in Call for Model Examples of Zettelkasten Output Processes?

    1. Isak Dinesen said that she wrote a little every day, without hope and without despair.

      source? date? (obviously on/before 2005-09-22)

      Any relation to Robert Boice's work on writing every day?

    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.

      http://luhmann.surge.sh/communicating-with-slip-boxes

    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. Author Vladimir Nabokov at work, writing on index cards in his car.Location:Ithaca, NY, USDate taken:September 1958Photographer:Carl MydansSize:1280 x 889 pixels (17.8 x 12.3 inches)

      Author Vladimir Nabokov at work, writing on index cards in his car.

    1. After a leisurely lunch, prepared by the German cook who came with the house, I would spend another four-hour span in a lawn chair, among the roses and mockingbirds, using lined index cards and a Blackwing pencil, for copying and recopying, rubbing out and writing anew, the scenes I had imagined in the morning. Foreword to Lolita: A Screenplay (1973)
    2. The manuscript, mostly a Fair Copy, from which the present text has been faithfully printed, consists of eighty medium-sized index cards, on each of which Shade reserved the pink upper line for headings (canto number, date) and used the fourteen light-blue lines for writing out with a fine nib in a minute, tidy, remarkably clear hand, the text of this poem, skipping a line to indicate double space, and always using a fresh card to begin a new canto. Pale Fire (1962) [From Charles Kinbote's foreword to his edition of John Shade's poem.]
    1. Posted byu/piloteris16 hours agoCreative output examples .t3_xdrb0k._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } I am curious about examples, if any, of how an anti net can be useful for creative or artistic output, as opposed to more strictly intellectual articles, writing, etc. Does anyone here use an antinet as input for the “creative well” ? I’d love examples of the types of cards, etc

      They may not necessarily specifically include Luhmann-esque linking, numbering, and indexing, but some broad interesting examples within the tradition include: Comedians: (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zettelkasten for references/articles) - Phyllis Diller - Joan Rivers - Bob Hope - George Carlin

      Musicians: - Eminem https://boffosocko.com/2021/08/10/55794555/ - Taylor Swift: https://hypothes.is/a/SdYxONsREeyuDQOG4K8D_Q

      Dance: - Twyla Tharpe https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000SEOWBG/ (Chapter 6)

      Art/Visual - Aby Warburg's Mnemosyne Atlas: https://warburg.sas.ac.uk/archive/archive-collections/verkn%C3%BCpfungszwang-exhibition/mnemosyne-materials

      Creative writing (as opposed to academic): - Vladimir Nabokov https://www.openculture.com/2014/02/the-notecards-on-which-vladimir-nabokov-wrote-lolita.html - Jean Paul - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00168890.2018.1479240 - https://journals.co.za/doi/abs/10.10520/EJC34721 (German) - Michael Ende https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Endes-Zettelkasten-Skizzen-Notizen/dp/352271380X

    1. Traditionally, doctoral students are expected to implicitly absorb thisargument structure through repeated reading or casual discussion.

      The social annotation being discussed here is geared toward classroom work involving reading and absorbing basic literature in an area of the sort relating to lower level literature reviews done for a particular set of classes.

      It is not geared toward the sort of more hard targeted curated reading one might do on their particular thesis topic, though this might work in concert with a faculty advisor on a 1-1 basis.

      My initial thought on approaching the paper was for the latter and not the former.

    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. Bibliographical Index Card File

      Note that here in the index, Eco differentiates the index card file with the descriptor "bibliographical" as there is another card file that will play a part.

    2. 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.

  3. Aug 2022
    1. A disadvantage seemed to me to be that it is not obvious which words take one to particularly important new material, but I imagine that one could indicate that in the text.

      I don't understand this.

    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. When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokov’s wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband’s last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five—the Russian novelist’s only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books—has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father’s wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

      Nabokov's wishes were that his heirs burn the index cards on which he had handwritten the beginning of his unfinished novel The Original of Laura. His wife Vera, not able to destroy her husband's work, couldn't do it, so the decision fell to their son Dimitri. Having translated many of his father's works previously, Dimitri Nabokov ultimately allowed Penguin the right to publish the unfinished novel.

    1. Allosso, Dan, and S. F. Allosso. How to Make Notes and Write. Minnesota State Pressbooks, 2022. https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/.

      Annotatable .pdf copy for Hypothes.is: https://docdrop.org/pdf/How-to-Make-Notes-and-Write---Allosso-Dan-jzdq8.pdf/

      Nota Bene:

      These annotations are of a an early pre-release draft of the text. One ought to download the most recent revised/final/official draft at https://minnstate.pressbooks.pub/write/.

    1. While Heyde outlines using keywords/subject headings and dates on the bottom of cards with multiple copies using carbon paper, we're left with the question of where Luhmann pulled his particular non-topical ordering as well as his numbering scheme.

      While it's highly likely that Luhmann would have been familiar with the German practice of Aktenzeichen ("file numbers") and may have gotten some interesting ideas about organization from the closing sections of the "Die Kartei" section 1.2 of the book, which discusses library organization and the Dewey Decimal system, we're still left with the bigger question of organization.

      It's obvious that Luhmann didn't follow the heavy use of subject headings nor the advice about multiple copies of cards in various portions of an alphabetical index.

      While the Dewey Decimal System set up described is indicative of some of the numbering practices, it doesn't get us the entirety of his numbering system and practice.

      One need only take a look at the Inhalt (table of contents) of Heyde's book! The outline portion of the contents displays a very traditional branching tree structure of ideas. Further, the outline is very specifically and similarly numbered to that of Luhmann's zettelkasten. This structure and numbering system is highly suggestive of branching ideas where each branch builds on the ideas immediately above it or on the ideas at the next section above that level.

      Just as one can add an infinite number of books into the Dewey Decimal system in a way that similar ideas are relatively close together to provide serendipity for both search and idea development, one can continue adding ideas to this branching structure so they're near their colleagues.

      Thus it's highly possible that the confluence of descriptions with the book and the outline of the table of contents itself suggested a better method of note keeping to Luhmann. Doing this solves the issue of needing to create multiple copies of note cards as well as trying to find cards in various places throughout the overall collection, not to mention slimming down the collection immensely. Searching for and finding a place to put new cards ensures not only that one places one's ideas into a growing logical structure, but it also ensures that one doesn't duplicate information that may already exist within one's over-arching outline. From an indexing perspective, it also solves the problem of cross referencing information along the axes of the source author, source title, and a large variety of potential subject headings.

      And of course if we add even a soupcon of domain expertise in systems theory to the mix...


      While thinking about Aktenzeichen, keep in mind that it was used in German public administration since at least 1934, only a few years following Heyde's first edition, but would have been more heavily used by the late 1940's when Luhmann would have begun his law studies.

      https://hypothes.is/a/CqGhGvchEey6heekrEJ9WA


      When thinking about taking notes for creating output, one can follow one thought with another logically both within one's card index not only to write an actual paper, but the collection and development happens the same way one is filling in an invisible outline which builds itself over time.

      Linking different ideas to other ideas separate from one chain of thought also provides the ability to create multiple of these invisible, but organically growing outlines.

    1. This piece would benefit from better editing—e.g. its use of pronouns with an unnatural (or too-far-away) antecedent, dubious phrasing like "all the more", etc.

    1. Selections from CarlyleEdited by H. W. BOYNTON. i2mo, cloth, 288 pages. Price, 75 cents.

      And here I was not knowing who Carlyle was just a day or two ago and now I'm seeing advertisements for collections of his work! 😁

      Apparently I've just been reading the wrong things and jumping back to the early 21st century is where it's all at.

    Tags

    Annotators

    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. Mere paraphrasing the work of an-other is as offensive as direct copying. The discovery of ma-terials, the research, the oqanization of the material, theplan of treatment, and the literary composition should eachbe strictly the independent work of the student. H e shouldlearn not merely to collect facts on paper but also to as-similate them in his own mind 4then express them interms of his own thinking, while adhering to strict accuracyin the statement of facts.
    4. Zn&tence on good style. Reasonable care in follow-ing these suggestions with regard to style is essential tothe production of an acceptable essay, and neglect of themwill affect unfavorably the grade to be assigned.

      Sadly, he doesn't define "good style" here and only a paragraph after saying to avoid the style of Carlyle and Macaulay.

      This paragraph is one of the several of the type that would more appropriately appear in a syllabus than in a published journal article on this particular topic. Thus the style is here is part journal article on writing, but also format which could be subsumed into syllabi by others.

    5. 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.

    6. One can't help but notice that Dutcher's essay, laid out like it is in a numbered fashion with one or two paragraphs each may stem from the fact of his using his own note taking method.

      Each section seems to have it's own headword followed by pre-written notes in much the same way he indicates one should take notes in part 18.

      It could be illustrative to count the number of paragraphs in each numbered section. Skimming, most are just a paragraph or two at most while a few do go as high as 5 or 6 though these are rarer. A preponderance of shorter one or two paragraphs that fill a single 3x5" card would tend to more directly support the claim. Though it is also the case that one could have multiple attached cards on a single idea. In Dutcher's case it's possible that these were paperclipped or stapled together (does he mention using one side of the slip only, which is somewhat common in this area of literature on note making?). It seems reasonably obvious that he's not doing more complex numbering or ordering the way Luhmann did, but he does seem to be actively using it to create and guide his output directly in a way (and even publishing it as such) that supports his method.

      Is this then evidence for his own practice? He does actively mention in several places links to section numbers where he also cross references ideas in one card to ideas in another, thereby creating a network of related ideas even within the subject heading of his overall essay title.

      Here it would be very valuable to see his note collection directly or be able to compare this 1927 version to an earlier 1908 version which he mentions.

    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    1. https://scottscheper.com/letter/36/

      Clemens Luhmann, Niklas' son, has a copy of a book written in German in 1932 and given to his father by Friedrich Rudolf Hohl which ostensibly is where Luhmann learned his zettelkasten technique. It contains a 34 page chapter titled Die Kartei (the Card Index) which has the details.

    1. Below is a two page spread summarizing a Fast Company.com article about the Pennebaker method, as covered in Timothy Wilson’s book Redirect:

      Worth looking into this. The idea of the Pennebaker method goes back to a paper of his in 1986 that details the health benefits (including mental) of expressive writing. Sounds a lot like the underlying idea of morning pages, though that has the connotation of clearing one's head versus health related benefits.

      Compare/contrast the two methods.

      Is there research underpinning morning pages?

      See also: Expressive Writing in Psychological Science https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1745691617707315<br /> appears to be a recap article of some history and meta studies since his original work.

    1. Following. I haven’t found anything in years. I’m planning on building my own scraper for my bank this winter if I can’t find anything by then
    1. Glad you liked it. That's an example of the "let's let the zettelkasten direct my writing" approach. This is different than the "I have something I'm working on. Let's see if there's anything in the zettelkasten to support/refute it" approach, which I also do. So, I might call one "directive," and the other "supportive." (Although, I'm just making that up).

      Different modes/approaches to writing when using a zettelkasten:<br /> - directive: let the zettelkasten direct the writing project - supportive: one has a particular writing project in mind and uses their zettelkasten collection to support their thinking and writing for that.

      Are there other potential methods in addition to these two?

    2. Hit me up. Happy to show my zettel-based writing, and how my notes translate into published content, both short- and long-form.

      Thanks u/taurusnoises, your spectacular recent video "Using the Zettelkasten (and Obsidian) to Write an Essay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OUn2-h6oVc is about as close to the sort of public example of output creation I had been looking for!

      I'm sure that there are other methods and workflows out there which vary by person, method, and modality (analog/digital) and it would be interesting to see what those practices look like as examples for others to use, follow, and potentially improve upon.

      I particularly appreciate that your visual starting perspective of the graph view in Obsidian fairly closely mimics what an analog zettelkasten user might be doing and seeing within that modality.

      I'm still collecting extant examples and doing some related research, but perhaps I'll have some time later in the year to do some interviews with particular people about how they're actively doing this as you suggested.

      On a tangential note, I'm also piqued by some of the specific ideas you mention in your notes in the video as they relate to some work on orality and memory I've been exploring over the past several years. If you do finish that essay, I'd love to read the finished piece.

      Thanks again for this video!

    1. Writing about anything – a novel, a historical primary source, an exam question – is at least a three-way dialogue. In the case of this handbook the conversation is between me, the writer; you, the reader; and the material. Similarly, writing about something you have read or researched should serve at least three purposes: to explore the material; to describe your reactions to it; and to communicate with your reader.

      Writing is a three-way dialog

      First, it is a conversation between an author, a reader, and the material. It is also an exploration of your research, your reaction to the material, and what you—as the author—is trying to communicate to the reader. Keeping each component of these triplets in mind as the writing (and likely reviewing of the writing) happens makes for engaging reading.

    1. “I do all my own research,” she said, “though reviewers have speculatedthat I must have a band of hirelings. I like to be led by a footnote ontosomething I never thought of. I rarely photocopy research materials because, for me, note-taking is learning, distilling. That’s the whole essence ofthe business. In taking notes, you have to discard what you don’t need. If you[photocopy] it, you haven’t chewed it.”
    1. When I’m writing this, from March through August 2022

      The author took time over a period of 5 months to put this essay together. That's impressive, in terms of effort put in and in terms of tenacity. How much of this time is to 'hold questions' as Johnnie Moore would say, to develop your thoughts iteratively. Could it have been done in index cards, under the radar, with the essay then a smaller effort, reduced to collating those index cards?

    1. I also mentioned Zettelkasten many times in this post, but I don’t do that anymore—I just did a 1-month dry run and it felt tiring. Pen and paper just gives me the bare essentials. I can get straight to work and not worry if something is a literature note or a permanent note.

      What is it that was tiring about the practice? Did they do it properly, or was the focus placed on tremendous output driving the feeling of a need for commensurate tremendous input on a daily basis? Most lifetime productive users only made a few cards a day, but I get the feeling that many who start, think they should be creating 20 cards a day and that is definitely a road to burn out. This feeling is compounded by digital tools that make it easier to quickly capture ideas by quoting or cut and pasting, but which don't really facilitate the ownership of ideas (internalization) by the note taker. The work of writing helps to facilitate this. Apparently the framing of literature note vs. permanent note also was a hurdle in the collection of ideas moving toward the filtering down and refining of one's ideas. These naming ideas seem to be a general hurdle for many people, particularly if they're working without particular goals in mind.

      Only practicing zettelkasten for a month is certainly no way to build real insight or to truly begin developing anything useful. Even at two cards a day and a minimum of 500-1000 total cards to see some serendipity and creativity emerge, one would need to be practicing for just over a year to begin seeing interesting results.

    1. For the sake of simplicity, go to Graph Analysis Settings and disable everything but Co-Citations, Jaccard, Adamic Adar, and Label Propogation. I won't spend my time explaining each because you can find those in the net, but these are essentially algorithms that find connections for you. Co-Citations, for example, uses second order links or links of links, which could generate ideas or help you create indexes. It essentially automates looking through the backlinks and local graphs as it generates possible relations for you.
    2. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>u/taurusnoises</span> in One of the ways I use my zettelkasten (though Obsidian) to write essays : Zettelkasten (<time class='dt-published'>08/10/2022 12:28:58</time>)</cite></small>

    1. Its account of how Heft made his flag closely resembled the standard story, but instead of any assertion that it became the basis for the official design, it merely said that it was “considered Lancaster’s first.”

      I'm having trouble parsing this.

    1. https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2013/08/how-and-why-to-keep-a-commonplace-book/

      An early essay from Ryan Holiday about commonplace books including how, why, and their general value.

      Notice that the essay almost reads as if he's copying out cards from his own system. This is highlighted by the fact that he adds dashes in front 23 of his paragraphs/points.

    2. As Raymond Chandler put it, “when you have to use your energy to put those words down, you are more apt to make them count.”
  4. 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. This process has as much todo with taking ownership of ideas as it does with apps.

      Too many in the productivity porn space focus on the apps and the potential workflows without looking at the question "why" at all. It's rare that any focus on understanding or actual output.

    2. Finally, new notes should be connected with anexisting note when you add them to your system. I’lldescribe this in greater detail shortly; the point for now isthat linking a new thought to an existing train of thoughtseems to be a key to your note-making system workingfor you. Where does this new idea fit into your thoughtson an issue? Your questions about a topic? Your ideasabout a puzzle you’re working on understanding?Disciplining yourself to make this connection can be abit tough and time-consuming at first. It is worth theinvestment. Without understanding how these ideas thatinterest us fit together, all we have is a pile of unrelatedtrivia.

      Writing and refining one's note about an idea can be key to helping one's basic understanding of that idea, but this understanding is dramatically increased by linking it into the rest of one's framework of understanding of that idea. A useful side benefit of creating this basic understanding and extending it is that one can also reuse one's (better understood) ideas to create new papers for expanding other's reading and subsequent understanding.

    3. Also, trust me on this: the “Aha!” momentsbecome more frequent and rewarding, when you’rewriting thoughts down.
    4. 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.

    1. Synthesis notes are a strategy for taking and using reading notes that bring together—synthesize—what we read with our thoughts about our topic in a way that lets us integrate our notes seamlessly into the process of writing a first draft. Six steps will take us from reading sources to a first draft.

      Similar to Beatrice Webb's definition of synthetic notes in My Apprentice (1926), thought this also includes movement into actually drafting writing.

      What year was this written?

      The idea here seems to be less discrete in the steps of the writing process and subsumes multiple things instead of breaking them into discrete conceptual parts. Has this been some of what has caused issues in the note taking to creation process in the last century?

    1. Here’s a quick blog post about a specific thing (making FactoryBot.lint more verbose) but actually, secretly, about a more general thing (taking advantage of Ruby’s flexibility to bend the universe to your will). Let’s start with the specific thing and then come back around to the general thing.
    1. Perhaps the best method would be to take notes—not excerpts, but condensed reformulations of what has been read.

      One of the best methods for technical reading is to create progressive summarizations of what one has read.

    1. I knew if I wanted this website – which is an extension of my consciousness – to truly thrive, I needed to work on it in a sustainable manner. Bit by bit I slowly transformed the way I thought about it. Previously I would only work on it if I had the energy to make wholesale, dramatic changes. These days I am glad if I made one small change.

      Winnie later goes on to point out that this is much like gardening: it is a slow process, and the process has its seasons which wax and wane, expanding and contracting. You sow. You seed. You water. You fertilize. You wait. You pick weeds. You water. Pick some more weeds. You might prune. You flick off the japanese beetles. And because of the cyclical nature of the planet we inhabit, we also have periods where nothing grows, and the soil lies dormant. Waiting. Resting. This, too, can be embraced as we carve out our little corners of the web, and really all aspects of our lives. I know I'm nearly as tender to myself as I should be.

    1. But I later realized writing is many things, one of which is the finished article you’re reading now. Mainly though, it’s a tool for thinking things through.

      I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I'm skeptical of this popularly recurring take that says writing is thinking, or that thinking without writing really isn't thinking. If writing helps you think, it's better for you to know that than the alternative. But thinking is thinking, and writing is writing.

      I worry with all the insistence around this view of writing as a precondition to real thinking that people who are thinking at or near capacity without writing will believe they're somehow missing something and waste a lot of cycles in frustration as they attempt to write and find that it doesn't do anything for them thoughtwise that they weren't already getting before.

    2. Think about the sad essay we all used to write for your (insert language here) class: back then you didn’t have permission to generate original ideas.

      I'm not sure that's the correct diagnosis.

      Alternative take: you were not, at that point in your life, equipped to understand that you could be generating new ideas and that you should walk away from that writing course with an appreciation for writing as a vehicle for what you'd like to accomplish with a given subject/format. It's fine that you didn't—many people don't—and your instructors, institution, parents, community, etc. probably could have done a better job at communicating this to you, but it was there, and it was the point all along.

    1. At the same time, like Harold, I’ve realised that it is important to do things, to keep blogging and writing in this space. Not because of its sheer brilliance, but because most of it will be crap, and brilliance will only occur once in a while. You need to produce lots of stuff to increase the likelihood of hitting on something worthwile. Of course that very much feeds the imposter cycle, but it’s the only way. Getting back into a more intensive blogging habit 18 months ago, has helped me explore more and better. Because most of what I blog here isn’t very meaningful, but needs to be gotten out of the way, or helps build towards, scaffolding towards something with more meaning.

      Many people treat their blogging practice as an experimental thought space. They try out new ideas, explore a small space, attempt to come to understanding, connect new ideas to their existing ideas.


      Ton Zylstra coins/uses the phrase "metablogging" to think about his blogging practice as an evolving thought space.


      How can we better distill down these sorts of longer ideas and use them to create more collisions between ideas to create new an innovative ideas? What forms might this take?

      The personal zettelkasten is a more concentrated form of this and blogging is certainly within the space as are the somewhat more nascent digital gardens. What would some intermediary "idea crucible" between these forms look like in public that has a simple but compelling interface. How much storytelling and contextualization is needed or not needed to make such points?

      Is there a better space for progressive summarization here so that an idea can be more fully laid out and explored? Then once the actual structure is built, the scaffolding can be pulled down and only the idea remains.

      Reminiscences of scaffolding can be helpful for creating context.

      Consider the pyramids of Giza and the need to reverse engineer how they were built. Once the scaffolding has been taken down and history forgets the methods, it's not always obvious what the original context for objects were, how they were made, what they were used for. Progressive summarization may potentially fall prey to these effects as well.

      How might we create a "contextual medium" which is more permanently attached to ideas or objects to help prevent context collapse?

      How would this be applied in reverse to better understand sites like Stonehenge or the hundreds of other stone circles, wood circles, and standing stones we see throughout history.

    1. // NB: Since line terminators can be the multibyte CRLF sequence, care // must be taken to ensure we work for calls where `tokenPosition` is some // start minus 1, where that "start" is some line start itself.

      I think this satisfies the threshold of "minimum viable publication". So write this up and reference it here.

      Full impl.:

      getLineStart(tokenPosition, anteTerminators = null) {
        if (tokenPosition > this._edge && tokenPosition != this.length) {
          throw new Error("random access too far out"); // XXX
        }
      
        // NB: Since line terminators can be the multibyte CRLF sequence, care
        // must be taken to ensure we work for calls where `tokenPosition` is some
        // start minus 1, where that "start" is some line start itself.
        for (let i = this._lineTerminators.length - 1; i >= 0; --i) {
          let current = this._lineTerminators[i];
          if (tokenPosition >= current.position + current.content.length) {
            if (anteTerminators) {
              anteTerminators.push(...this._lineTerminators.slice(0, i));
            }
            return current.position + current.content.length;
          }
        }
      
        return 0;
      }
      

      (Inlined for posterity, since this comes from an uncommitted working directory.)

    1. 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.

  5. 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. All this hoopla seems out of character for the sedate man who likes to say of his work: ''Whatever I did, there was always someone around who was better qualified. They just didn't bother to do it.''
    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. An Archipelago of Ideas separates the two activities your brainhas the most difficulty performing at the same time: choosing ideas(known as selection) and arranging them into a logical flow (knownas sequencing).*

      A missed opportunity to reference the arts of rhetoric here. This book is a clear indication that popular Western culture seems to have lost the knowledge of it.

      As a reminder, in the review be sure to look at and critique the invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery of the piece as well as its ethos, pathos, and logos. :)

    4. If we overlay the four steps of CODE onto the model ofdivergence and convergence, we arrive at a powerful template forthe creative process in our time.

      The way that Tiago Forte overlaps the idea of C.O.D.E. (capture/collect, organize, distill, express) with the divergence/convergence model points out some primary differences of his system and that of some of the more refined methods of maintaining a zettelkasten.

      A flattened diamond shape which grows from a point on the left so as to indicate divergence from a point to the diamond's wide middle which then decreases to the right to indicate convergence  to the opposite point. Overlapping this on the right of the diamond are the words "capture" and "organize" while the converging right side is overlaid with "distill" and "express". <small>Overlapping ideas of C.O.D.E. and divergence/convergence from Tiago Forte's book Building a Second Brain (Atria Books, 2022) </small>

      Forte's focus on organizing is dedicated solely on to putting things into folders, which is a light touch way of indexing them. However it only indexes them on one axis—that of the folder into which they're being placed. This precludes them from being indexed on a variety of other axes from the start to other places where they might also be used in the future. His method requires more additional work and effort to revisit and re-arrange (move them into other folders) or index them later.

      Most historical commonplacing and zettelkasten techniques place a heavier emphasis on indexing pieces as they're collected.

      Commonplacing creates more work on the user between organizing and distilling because they're more dependent on their memory of the user or depending on the regular re-reading and revisiting of pieces one may have a memory of existence. Most commonplacing methods (particularly the older historic forms of collecting and excerpting sententiae) also doesn't focus or rely on one writing out their own ideas in larger form as one goes along, so generally here there is a larger amount of work at the expression stage.

      Zettelkasten techniques as imagined by Luhmann and Ahrens smooth the process between organization and distillation by creating tacit links between ideas. This additional piece of the process makes distillation far easier because the linking work has been done along the way, so one only need edit out ideas that don't add to the overall argument or piece. All that remains is light editing.

      Ahrens' instantiation of the method also focuses on writing out and summarizing other's ideas in one's own words for later convenient reuse. This idea is also seen in Bruce Ballenger's The Curious Researcher as a means of both sensemaking and reuse, though none of the organizational indexing or idea linking seem to be found there.


      This also fits into the diamond shape that Forte provides as the height along the vertical can stand in as a proxy for the equivalent amount of work that is required during the overall process.

      This shape could be reframed for a refined zettelkasten method as an indication of work


      Forte's diamond shape provided gives a visual representation of the overall process of the divergence and convergence.

      But what if we change that shape to indicate the amount of work that is required along the steps of the process?!

      Here, we might expect the diamond to relatively accurately reflect the amounts of work along the path.

      If this is the case, then what might the relative workload look like for a refined zettelkasten? First we'll need to move the express portion between capture and organize where it more naturally sits, at least in Ahren's instantiation of the method. While this does take a discrete small amount of work and time for the note taker, it pays off in the long run as one intends from the start to reuse this work. It also pays further dividends as it dramatically increases one's understanding of the material that is being collected, particularly when conjoined to the organization portion which actively links this knowledge into one's broader world view based on their notes. For the moment, we'll neglect the benefits of comparison of conjoined ideas which may reveal flaws in our thinking and reasoning or the benefits of new questions and ideas which may arise from this juxtaposition.

      Graphs of commonplace book method (collect, organize, distill, express) versus zettelkasten method (collect, express, organize (index/link), and distill (edit)) with work on the vertical axis and time/methods on the horizontal axis. While there is similar work in collection the graph for the zettelkasten is overall lower and flatter and eventually tails off, the commonplace slowly increases over time.

      This sketch could be refined a bit, but overall it shows that frontloading the work has the effect of dramatically increasing the efficiency and productivity for a particular piece of work.

      Note that when compounded over a lifetime's work, this diagram also neglects the productivity increase over being able to revisit old work and re-using it for multiple different types of work or projects where there is potential overlap, not to mention the combinatorial possibilities.

      --

      It could be useful to better and more carefully plot out the amounts of time, work/effort for these methods (based on practical experience) and then regraph the resulting power inputs against each other to come up with a better picture of the efficiency gains.

      Is some of the reason that people are against zettelkasten methods that they don't see the immediate gains in return for the upfront work, and thus abandon the process? Is this a form of misinterpreted-effort hypothesis at work? It can also be compounded at not being able to see the compounding effects of the upfront work.

      What does research indicate about how people are able to predict compounding effects over time in areas like money/finance? What might this indicate here? Humans definitely have issues seeing and reacting to probabilities in this same manner, so one might expect the same intellectual blindness based on system 1 vs. system 2.


      Given that indexing things, especially digitally, requires so little work and effort upfront, it should be done at the time of collection.


      I'll admit that it only took a moment to read this highlighted sentence and look at the related diagram, but the amount of material I was able to draw out of it by reframing it, thinking about it, having my own thoughts and ideas against it, and then innovating based upon it was incredibly fruitful in terms of better differentiating amongst a variety of note taking and sense making frameworks.

      For me, this is a great example of what reading with a pen in hand, rephrasing, extending, and linking to other ideas can accomplish.

    5. Writers diverge by collecting raw material for the story they wantto tell, sketching out potential characters, and researching historicalfacts.

      Missing here is the creative divergence of creating plot points which could be later connected. This part of the process is incredibly difficult for many as seen in the poor second act development in most of narrative history. Beginnings and endings are usually incredibly easy, but the middle portions for connecting the two is incredibly hard.

      Is this because creating connections between the ends when there no intervening ideas to connect is nearly impossible? How can one brainstorm middle plot points so that they might be more easily connected?

    6. the time you sit down tomake progress on something, all the work to gather and organize thesource material needs to already be done. We can’t expectourselves to instantly come up with brilliant ideas on demand. Ilearned that innovation and problem-solving depend on a routine thatsystematically brings interesting ideas to the surface of ourawareness.

      By writing down and collecting ideas slowly over time, working on them in small fits and spurts, when one finally comes to do the final work on their writing project or other work, the pieces only need minor shaping to take their final form. This process allows for a much greater level of serendipity, creativity, and potential sustained genius of connecting ideas across time to take shape in a final piece.


      How does this relate to diffuse thinking? How can slow diffuse thinking be leveraged into this process?

      Writing down fleeting notes while walking around can be valuable as one's ideas brew slowly in the mind (diffuse thinking) in combination with active combinatorial creativity, thus a form of Llullan combinatorial diffusion.


      Many business books seem so shallow and often only have one real insight which is repeated multiple times, perhaps to drive the point home or perhaps just to have enough filler to seem being worth the purchase of a book.

      Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich is an example of this, though it shows a different form of genius in expanding the idea from a variety of perspectives so that eventually everyone will absorb the broader idea which is distilled to great effect into the title.

    7. When a few of his friends became interested in thetopic, he took eight minutes to progressively summarize the bestexcerpts before sharing the summarized article with them. The timethat he had spent reading and understanding a complex subject paidoff in time savings for his friends, while also giving them a newinterest to connect over.

      To test one's own understanding of a topic one has read about and studied, it can be useful to discuss it or describe one's understanding to friends or colleagues in conversations. This will help you discover where the holes are based on the person's understanding and comprehension of what you've said. Can you fill in all the holes where they have questions? Are their questions your new questions which have exposed holes that need to be filled in your understanding or in the space itself.

      I do this regularly in conversations with people. It makes the topics of conversation more varied and interesting and helps out your thinking at the same time. In particular I've been doing this method in Dan Allosso's book club. It's almost like trying on a new idea the way one might try on a piece of clothing to see how it fits or how one likes it for potential purchase. If an idea "fits" then continue refining it and add it to your knowledge base. These conversations also help to better link ideas in my thought space to those of what we're reading. (I wonder if others are doing these same patterns, Dan seems to, but I don't have as good a grasp on this with other participants).

      Link to :<br /> - Ahren's idea of writing to expose understanding<br /> - Feynman technique<br /> - Socratic method (this is sort of side or tangential method to this) <- define this better/refine

    8. We’ve been taught that it’s important to work “with the end inmind.” We are told that it is our responsibility to deliver outcomes,whether that is a finished product on store shelves, a speechdelivered at an event, or a published technical document.

      Example of someone else saying this...

      We focus too much on the achievement and the end goal and the work and process doesn't receive its due.

    9. 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. The slipbox and index cards on which Vladimir Nabokov wrote his novel Lolita.

      Vladimir Nabokov famously wrote most of his works including Lolita using index cards in a slip box. He ultimately died in 1977 leaving an unfinished manuscript in note card form for the novel The Original of Laura. Penguin later published the incomplete novel with in 2012 with the subtitle A Novel in Fragments. Unlike most manuscripts written or typewritten on larger paper, this one came in the form of 138 index cards. Penguin's published version recreated these cards in full-color reproductions including the smudges, scribbles, scrawlings, strikeouts, and annotations in English, French, and Russian. Perforated, one could tear the cards out of the book and reorganize in any way they saw fit or even potentially add their own cards to finish the novel that Nabokov couldn't.

      Index card on which Nabokov collated notes on ages, heights, and measurements for school aged girls as research for his title character Lolita.

      More details at: https://www.openculture.com/2014/02/the-notecards-on-which-vladimir-nabokov-wrote-lolita.html

    1. it is very important to have perspective on your work and you get that in only two ways one is taking a lot of time 00:44:00 away from it and coming back do not read on a computer print it out on paper the way somebody's going to read it take it out of your office take it take it to the park take it to the beach wherever you're going and read it as if you've 00:44:14 never read it

      Finding the red herrings by author itself

    2. misdirecting readers with red herrings can be really challenging there's something you do very well what is your philosophy on the best way to get readers looking in the wrong direction

      Misdirecting Readers with Red herrings - distracting readers

      https://examples.yourdictionary.com/red-herring-examples.html

      it has to be the the [[Hercule Poirot scene]] and all the Agatha Christie books where he says let me tell you what really happened and and she does it so well that you go like of course that's what happened it's the only way it could have happened why didn't I see it

    3. I find it very very hard to watch the 00:33:35 news read other novels or read nonfiction to be stimulated with ideas I don't read any fiction when I'm writing
    4. one of the problems of writing in 00:07:42 a really comfortable setting is it's hard to commit yourself to any work it's just too comfortable and and this will sound very very strange but it is very honest in some ways it was easier for me to write when I was a starving writer

      Make less comfortable during writing

    5. lot of people think that writing a novel is 90 percent inspiration and 10 percent perspiration it's actually the reverse 00:02:31 writing a novel is about a routine

      Writing the novel is 90% persipiration (physical and mental routine)

    1. No matter what system you use, I recommend having a goal and putting it inwriting. I read once that people who write down their New Year’s resolutions have agreater chance of achieving them than people who don’t. This is the sort of factoidthat is probably apocryphal but, like many urban legends, sounds as though it shouldbe true.

      This quote from Twyla Tharp seems like another instantiation of Napoleon Hill's mantra "Think and Grow Rich", but is more concrete and literate: "Write and Grow Rich" (or successful, at least.)

    2. 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.

  6. danallosso.substack.com danallosso.substack.com
    1. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/note-cards?s=r

      Outline of one of Dan's experiments writing a handbook about reading, thinking, and writing. He's taking a zettelkasten-like approach, but doing it as a stand-alone project with little indexing and crosslinking of ideas or creating card addresses.

      This sounds more akin to the processes of Vladimir Nabokov and Ryan Holiday/Robert Greene.

    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.

    6. the notes and the outline must be played with in combination,each by its nature presenting you with choices to follow or rejectuntil the whole is set.
    7. Barzun, Jacques. Simple and Direct : A Rhetoric for Writers. Revised edition. University of Chicago Press, 1985.

    1. enablingly vague

      Nice turn of phrase.

    2. Many a

      This was tired the second time it occurred in this piece. Three times is def. too much.

    1. Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.

      Thinking a lot about permanency on the web - there is so much amazing work that exists on the web, and so much of it is already lost because it was written and saved on websites that have come and gone. IndieWeb.org attempts to address this with its principles: https://indieweb.org/principles

  7. May 2022
    1. commenting in an interview: “By the way, many people havecome here to see that.”13 The writing tool became an object of desire, especially foryoung academics seeking to add a carefully planned card index to their carefully plannedcareers: “After all, Fred wants to be a professor.” 1

      Luhmann indicates that aspiring academics came to visit to see his card collection in potentially planning their own.

      1. Ralf Klassen, “Bezaubernde Jeannie oder Liebe ist nur ein Zeitvertreib,” in Wir Fernsehkinder. Eine Generation ohne Programm, ed. Walter Wüllenweber (Berlin: Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, 1994), 81 – 97, at 84.
    1. “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” ― Samuel Johnson, Works of Samuel Johnson

      An active reader finishes an author's book by writing in its margins.

    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.

    1. Apps and courses that help you make these pretty pictures are not helping you to advance your knowledge or to write increasingly insightful works.

      Based on my preliminary reading of Tiago Forte's forthcoming book, this seems broadly true.