Just a little note to mark the beginning of my Zettelkasten journey.
While I’ve always had a commonplace book of sorts, all my life, and I’ve always taken tons of notes on books I pay attention to, I’ve never really been able to come up with a way of writing what I think syntopically.
Or I can, but its like pulling teeth.
Writing what I learnt in Antifragile, took months, and a lot of cursing through gritted teeth.
But I want to. I really do.
I so want to write about what I learn and read and then intermingle them all together and put my bundle of thoughts down.
And then this perfect storm of stuff happened recently.
I have a lot to learn this year.
I am taking a lot of notes, but just full text search, does not cut it for me.
So I’ve been casting about for a way to take notes and thoughts and relate all of this together.
And I ran across the Zettelkasten method across a lot of people I pay attention to.
Despite all the new fangled tags of “personal knowledge management” and “knowledge graph” and who knows what else, the Zettelkasten method’s old and it’s Lindy.
So definitely worth my time to learn and invest in, if it helps me write and share more.
At its heart, all it is, is a system to take and refer to your notes and your thoughts.
Folks have recommendations about how to take notes, the types of notes, the way to store the notes, and various ways and means to link and refer to them notes.1
I found David Kadavy’s long post as well his book and Sascha Fast and Christian Tietze’s posts over at the zettelkasten.de website really helpful with me getting started.
I decide to use Org-roam as my tool of choice.
It’s very loosey-goosey2 and flexible.
It’s plain text.
And it is built on Org mode and Emacs.
Wouldn’t recommend you use this, unless you want to put in the time to learn about Emacs. There are plenty of user friendly options out there.
I spent about a week putting in lots of stray notes, I had.
And some time building up links between them.
And some more time, reading a couple of books and then taking notes and linking them as I went.
And I realised two things, both good for me.
- This is turning out to be a sustainable, lifelong habit. One that I enjoy
- Building up links and doing highlights and jotting thoughts, all lead to me having a coherent view of what I just read and learnt as well as having something, a lot of raw yet fertile somethings, that I can use to build something derivative out of, create a larger work from, expand on much more easily.
I’ll revisit this in a year and tell you how it went :)