- Nov 2022
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.”
If you can’t talk yourself into using your energy to write or type something out, it’s probably not worth capturing.
Being willing to capture an idea by spending the time writing it out in full is an incredibly strong indicator that it is actually worth capturing. Often those who use cut and paste or other digital means for their note capture will over-collect because the barrier is low and simple.
More often than not, if one doesn't have some sort of barrier for capturing notes, they will become a burden and ultimately a scrap heap of generally useless ideas.
In the end, experience will eventually dictate one's practice as, over time, one will develop an internal gut feeling of what is really worth collecting and what isn't. Don't let your not having this at the beginning deter you. Collect and process and over time, you'll balance out what is useful.
- writing advice
- activation energy
- idea capture
- barriers to entry
- barriers to collection
- skin in the game
- scrap heaps
- note taking advice
- Raymond Chandler