- Oct 2023
Any recommendations on Analog way of doing it? Not the Antinet shit
u/IamOkei, I know you've got a significant enough practice that not much of what I might suggest may be helpful beyond your own extension of what you've got and how it is or isn't working for you. Perhaps chatting with a zettelkasten therapist may be helpful? Does anyone have "Zettelkasten Whisperer" on a business card yet?! More seriously, I occasionally dump some of my problems and issues into a notebook, unpublished on my blog, or even into a section of my own zettelkasten, which I never index or reconsult, as a helpful practice. Others like Henry David Thoreau have done something like this and there's a common related practice of writing "Morning Pages" that you can explore. My own version is somewhat similar to the idea of rubber duck debugging but focuses on my own work. You might try doing something like this in one of Bob Doto's cohorts or by way of private consulting sessions. Another free version of this could be found by participating in Will's regular weekly posts/threads "Share with us what is happening in your ZK this week" at https://forum.zettelkasten.de/. It's always a welcoming and constructive space. There are also some public and private (I won't out them) Discords where some of the practiced hands chat and commiserate with each other. Even the Obsidian PKM/Zettelkasten Discord channels aren't very Obsidian/digital-focused that you couldn't participate as an analog practitioner. I've even found that participating in book clubs related to some of my interests can be quite helpful in talking out ideas before writing them down. There are certainly options for working out and extending your own practice.
Beyond this, and without knowing more of your specific issues, I can only offer some broad thoughts which expand on some of the earlier discussion above.
I recommend stripping away Scheper's religious fervor, some of which he seems to have thrown over lately along with the idea of a permanent note or "main card" (something I think is a grave mistake), and trying something closer to Luhmann's idea of ZKII.
An alternate method, especially if you like a nice notebook or a particular fountain pen, might be to take all of your basic literature/fleeting notes along with the bibliographic data in a notebook and then just use your analog index cards/slips to make your permanent notes and your index.
Ultimately it's all a lot of the same process, though it may come down to what you want to call it and your broad philosophy. If you're anti-antinet, definitely quit using the verbiage for the framing there and lean toward the words used by Ahrens, Dan Allosso, Gerald Weinberg, Mark Bernstein, Umberto Eco, Beatrice Webb, Jacques Barzun & Henry Graff, or any of the dozens of others or even make up your own. Goodness knows we need a lot more names and categories for types of notes—just like we all need another one page blog post about how the Zettelkasten method works by someone who's been at it for a week. Maybe someone will bring all these authors to terms one day?
Generally once you know what sorts of ideas you're most interested in, you take fewer big notes on administrivia and focus more of your note taking towards your own personal goals and desires. (Taking notes to learn a subject are certainly game, but often they serve little purpose after-the-fact.) You can also focus less on note taking within your entertainment reading (usually a waste) and focusing more heavily on richer material (books and journal articles) that is "above you" in Adler's framing. You might make hundreds of highlights and annotations in a particular book, but only get two or three serious ideas and notes out of it ultimately. Focus on this and leave the rest. If you're aware of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule, then spend the majority of your time on the grander permanent notes (10-20%), and a lot less time worrying about the all the rest (the 80-90%).
In the example above relating to Marx, you can breeze through some low level introductory material for context, but nothing is going to beat reading Marx himself a few times. The notes you make on his text will have tremendously more value than the ones you took on the low level context. A corollary to this is that you're highly unlikely to earn a Ph.D. or discover massive insight by reading and taking note posts on Twitter, Medium, or Substack (except possibly unless your work is on the cultural anthropology of those platforms).
A lot of the zettelkasten spaces focus heavily on the note taking part of the process and not enough on the quality of what you're reading and how you're reading it. This portion is possibly more valuable than the note taking piece, but the two should be hand-in-glove and work toward something.
I suspect that most people who have 1000 notes know which five or ten are the most important to where they're going and how they're growing. Focus on those and your "conversations with texts" relating to those. The rest is either low level context for where you're headed or either pure noise/digital exhaust.
If you think of ideas as incunables, which notes will be worth of putting on your tombstone? In other words: What are your "tombstone notes"? (See what I did there? I came up with another name for a type of note, a sin for which I'm certainly going to spend a lot of time in zettelkasten purgatory.)
- zettelkasten therapy
- rubber duck debugging
- morning pages
- types of notes
- tombstone notes
- Scott P. Scheper
- antinet zettelkasten
- reading practices
- zettelkasten advice
- Feb 2023
We've also integrated a chatbot feature into the app to enable unstructured conversation about the story being written.
Presumably being used for rubber ducking?
Was it also used as research feedback for the program itself?
Some dance to rememberSome dance to forget
—Eagles, Hotel California, track 1 on the album Hotel California<br /> https://genius.com/Eagles-hotel-california-lyrics
In many oral societies, dance is a common tool for memory in much the same way that we might pick up a pen and write. Though written in and performed in one of the most literate societies in human history, one might replace "dance" in Hotel California with other forms like writing: "Some write to remember; Some write to forget".
The first half might be interpreted by the majority as a tautology, but others write in their diaries as a means to purge their memories and let go of them. Similarly the idea of "morning pages" are designed to allow one to purge their surface thoughts so that they can clear their mind for other work: writing to forget.
(Without hearing this song this morning, I kept (diffuse) thinking about the two line endings "...to remember / ...to forget" until I made the connection to the lyrics and then immediately bridged this to orality.)
- Jan 2023
A few months ago, during an insomnia-inducing crisis of confidence about where the hell I should be going next with my writing, I suddenly remembered my journal. I hadn’t written in it for a while. Although it was 1:30 in the morning, I got out of bed, went into my study, opened up my journal, and simply began to write. I wrote about being unable to write, the things I thought were preventing me from writing, and what I thought I should do about it. The simple act of writing these thoughts down meant that I no longer felt the need to rehearse them over and over in my head, so I could return to bed and sleep the sleep of the effortlessly talented. When I woke next morning, my crisis of confidence had reduced to a mild concern. My late-night journal session had put things in perspective. It had shown me a way forward.
Example of someone getting the crap and worries out so that their writing can begin apace. Its sort of like writers' therapy and closely akin to those who talk about morning pages.
Also similar to teachers of young children who encourage their students to get their "wiggles out" so that they can focus on the classwork at hand.
- Oct 2022
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.
- Aug 2022
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.
- Jun 2022
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There is even significant evidence that expressing our thoughts inwriting can lead to benefits for our health and well-being. 11 One ofthe most cited psychology papers of the 1990s found that“translating emotional events into words leads to profound social,psychological, and neural changes.”
11 James W. Pennebaker, “Writing about Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process,” Psychological Science 8, no. 3 (May 1997), 162–66
Did they mention any pedagogical effects in this work?
How does this relate to the ability to release thoughts from working memory because they're written down and we don't need to spend time and effort trying to remember them? What are the references for this work? I suspect I've got them linked around somewhere...
What other papers/work cover these intersections?
- May 2022
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.Adopting the habit of knowledge capture has immediate benefitsfor our mental health and peace of mind. We can let go of the fearthat our memory will fail us at a crucial moment. Instead of jumpingat every new headline and notification, we can choose to consumeinformation that adds value to our lives and consciously let go of therest.
Immediate knowledge capture by highlighting, annotating, or other means when taking notes can help to decrease cognitive load. This is similar to other productivity methods like quick logging within a bullet journal system, writing morning pages, or Getting Things Done (GTD). By putting everything down in one place, you can free your mind of the constant need to remember dozens of things. This frees up your working memory to decrease stress as you know you've captured the basic idea for future filtering, sorting, and work at a later date.
- Sep 2021
To use your brain well, get out of your brain. Paul calls this offloading. To think well, she says, “we should offload information, externalize it, move it out of our heads and into the world” (243).
This is certainly what is happening in the commonplace book tradition and even more explicitly in the zettelkasten tradition.
What other methods of offloading exist besides writing and speaking? Hand gestures? Dance? What hidden modalities of offloading might indigenous societies use that Western culture might not be cognizant of?
Often journaling or writing in a diary is a often a means of offloading the psychological cruft of one's day to be able to start afresh.
This is some of the philosophy behind creating so-called "morning pages".
- Aug 2021
The idea here is to clear the decks so to speak. Getting all the negative worrisome shit out of your head and onto the page is an easy form of catharsis that can provide sharp relief from all the niggling little issues stopping you from blasting pure awesome out into the universe.
Example of clearing the mental clutter by writing using Julia Cameron's Morning Pages concept.