805 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    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?

    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.

  2. Aug 2022
    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. 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. 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.”
  3. Jul 2022
    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/

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. Also, trust me on this: the “Aha!” momentsbecome more frequent and rewarding, when you’rewriting thoughts down.
    5. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

    1. If you want your voice to be heard (and also improve the usability of your text) you have to design your document for “skim-ability”. You do this by providing anchor points that allow the user to gauge the content without actually reading it. You want the outline and key arguments to keep standing out in the final version of the document.

      This is why I like using bullet points

    2. When writing an article, I generally visualize a concrete person as representative of the audience, that I am directing this text towards.

      I also tend to write to my old self

    3. Writing is generally a great way to learn, but one has to realize that you are doing it. Learning is a slow process and requires patience. It is not helped much by agonizing in front of a screen, trying to squeeze out another sentence. Doing more research on the topic by reading a book, blog or paper and taking notes may be a better time investment.

      Writing is a great learning method

    4. The realization that you don’t have the complete message in your head, will often only become apparent while writing. This surfaces as inability to find a good punch-line or to express yourself clearly. In fact, writing is a great test to see if you have a good understanding of a topic, and have a firm grasp on the vocabulary of the domain.
    1. The minute we saw his frantic, hand-lettered presentation of the Field Notes credo — “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now” — we knew just what to do.

      https://fieldnotesbrand.com/apparel/remember-it-now-tee

      Field Notes, a manufacturer of notebooks, uses the credo "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." This is an fun restatement of the idea behind the power of the Feynman technique.

      Link to Ahrens' version of this idea.

  7. Apr 2022
    1. Theories of note-taking can tell us about how memory and writingwere understood, and practices of note-taking, about the tools that proved mostuseful in managing textual information in early modern Europe.

      Historical note taking practices can tell us many things aside from just the ways in which textual information was managed. They can also tell us about how people lived, how they thought, how they used memory and writing and how these things were understood culturally.

      We do however need to be careful in how we interpret these documents historically. We need to attempt to view them exegetically and not eisegetically. We also need to be careful to look at them from a "large world" perspective and not presume that small things had large and heavy influence on things to come in the future.

    2. During the same period zibaldone designated notebooks kept bywriters, artists, and merchants to record a wide variety of information: outgoingletters, copies of documents, indexes to books, lists of paintings, and excerptscopied from all kinds of texts, including poetry, prose, merchants’ manuals, legalsources, and tables of weights and measures.27
    3. Some florilegia focused on poetic excerpts and were used to teach prosody, others specialized in prose. Both kinds were likely used in teaching at many levels—from the young boys (pueri) mentioned in the Opus prosodiacum of Micon Centulensis in the mid- ninth century to the twenty- year- old Heiric who wrote under dictation from Lupus of Ferrières, ca. 859–62, a Col-lectanea comprising excerpts from Valerius Maximus and Suetonius, followed by philosophical and theological sententiae.104

      Some florilegia were used as handbooks to teach composition. Those with poetic excerpts were used to teach prosody while others specialized in prose.

      Examples of these sorts of florilegia include Micon Centulensis' Opus prosodiacum from the mid-ninth century and a Collectanea by Heiric who wrote under dictation from Lupus of Ferrières, ca. 859–62.

    1. Why public? There is something about making your posts available to the rest of the world that holds your feet to the fire and makes you commit. I’ve tried dozens of times to keep a private ongoing digital notebook in Evernote, Devonthink, Roam, and Obsidian, but they never stick. But making my notes available to the world in my digital garden keeps me coming back and updating it daily.

      -Chuck Grimmett

    1. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Sönke Ahrens outlines this broad idea of how one practices the Feynman technique for understanding using one's notes in How to Take Smart Notes, but he doesn't use the name Feynman technique. Certainly the idea of writing things down to test one's understanding predated Feynman, does anyone know of historical examples of this pattern/technique prior to Feynman? Does it have other names in the literature?

    1. INTERVIEWER: Could you say something of your work habits?Do you write to a preplanned chart? Do you jump from onesection to another, or do you move from the beginning throughto the end?NABOKOV: The pattern of the thing precedes the thing. I fill inthe gaps of the crossword at any spot I happen to choose. Thesebits I write on index cards until the novel is done. My schedule

      is flexible, but I am rather particular about my instruments: lined Bristol cards and well sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.

      Nabokov on his system of writing.

    2. The Nabokov interview originally appeared in

      Gold, Herbert. “Vladimir Nabokov, The Art of Fiction No. 40.” The Paris Review, 1967. https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4310/the-art-of-fiction-no-40-vladimir-nabokov.

    3. A first-rate college library with a comfortable cam-pus around it is a fine milieu for a writer.
    4. NABOKOV: By “editor” I suppose you mean_proofreader.Among these I have known limpid creatures of limitless tact andtenderness who would discuss with me a semicolon as if it werea point of honor—which, indeed, a point of art often is. But Ihave also come across a few pompous avuncular brutes who wouldattempt to “make suggestions” which I countered with a thunder-ous “‘stet!”’
    5. Derivative writers seem versa-tile because they imitate many others, past and present. Artisticoriginality has only its own self to copy.
    6. My characters are galley slaves.
    7. Nabokov arises early in the morning and works. He does hiswriting on filing cards, which are gradually copied, expanded, andrearranged until they become his novels.
    8. Mr. Nabokov’s writing method is to compose his stories and novels on index cards,shuffling them as the work progresses since he does not write in consecutive order.Every card is rewritten many times. When the work is completed,the cards in final order, Nabokov dictates from them to his wifewho types it up in triplicate.

      Vladimir Nabokov's general writing method consisted of composing his material on index cards so that he could shuffle them as he worked as he didn't write in consecutive order. He rewrote and edited cards many times and when the work was completed with the cards in their final order, Nabokov dictated them to his wife Vera who would type them up in triplicate.

    1. https://www.themarginalian.org/2011/06/20/inside-notebooks/

      There are a number of books which feature the sketchbooks and notebooks of famous writers, researchers and artists. However, most of their work is presented as art in and of itself. Rarely are the messiest and ugliest pages pictured. Most of the layouts in these books are laid out as art. Frequently missing are the structural parts and interviews with the original authors talking about their process. How do they actually use these notebooks in practice? How do ideas move from their heads into the notebooks and from there into their practical work? The notebooks only capture raw ideas as a scaffolding for extending the user's brain and thinking, but it doesn't capture the intangible ideas and portions of process which are still trapped within their brains. To be able to evaluate these portions, the author needs to talk or write about those missing portions of the process otherwise the way they create genius is wholly missing. A viewer of such notebooks would be no closer to creating genius for themselves by attempting to follow the same patterns without these additional structures. It's like the indigenous peoples who talk with rocks as part of their cultural practice—so much of what is happening is missing from the description of "talking with rocks" that most people wouldn't even know where to begin, but for the initiated, the process would be imminently crystal clear.

      Which of these books actually delves into the process and does interviews as well?

      This article actually lays out the notebooks as their own form of art rather than centering the idea of creative process as a means of helping others to follow these same patterns. We need the book that does for the art and design area what Sönke Ahrens' book How to Take Smart Notes does for the note taking space. It's interesting to see Niklas Luhmann's collection of 90,000 index cards, but without knowing how he used them and what purpose they served, the enterprise is lost. Similarly the depiction of Roland Barthes' index cards in Roland Barthes has a similar function. Showing them is not equivalent to actually understanding them.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/3SOmoMcMEey8n9dSUWhPJw

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Winnie Lim</span> in peeking into people’s routines (<time class='dt-published'>04/24/2022 02:40:01</time>)</cite></small>

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Winnie Lim</span> in peeking into people’s routines (<time class='dt-published'>04/24/2022 02:40:01</time>)</cite></small>

    1. There’s this trap people fall into when writing, especially for a place like LessWrong where the bar for epistemic rigor is pretty high. They have a good idea, or an interesting belief, or a cool model. They write it out, but they’re not really sure if it’s true. So they go looking for evidence (not necessarily confirmation bias, just checking the evidence in either direction) and soon end up down a research rabbit hole.
    1. https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/barthess-hand

      Interesting use of a card index as a diary.

      Cross reference: Review of Mourning Diaries: Wallowing in Grief Over Maman by Dwight Garner, New York Times, Oct. 14, 2010 https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/books/15book.html

    2. I was fortunate enough to see—and now share with you—a handful of these diaries from 1977 in their original, hand-written form. (A collection of more than three hundred entries, entitled “Mourning Diary,” will be published by Hill and Wang next month.)

      Hill and Wang published Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes on October 12, 2010. It is a collection of 330 entries which he wrote following the death of his mother Henriette in 1977.

      Kristina Budelis indicates that she saw them in person and reproduced four of them as index card-like notes in The New Yorker (September 2010).

    1. But there were for Leiris earlierassociations of Mallarmé’s work with more literal containers. In his preface to his1925 first edition of Igitur, a text to which Leiris refers on a variety of occasions,Dr. Bonniot, the son-in-law of the poet, had written: “Mallarmé, as we know, usedto jot down his first ideas, the first outlines of his work on eighths of half-sheets ofschool notebook size—notes he would keep in big wooden boxes of China tea.” 15

      Bonniot quoted in Michel Leiris, La Règle du jeu (Paris: Gallimard, 2003), p. 1658.

      Stéphane Mallarmé's son in law Dr. Bonniot indicates that "Mallarmé, as we know, used to jot down his first ideas, the first outlines of his work on eighths of half-sheets of school notebook size—notes he would keep in big wooden boxes of China tea.”

      Given that Mallarmé lived from 1842 to 1898, his life predated the general rise and mass manufacture of the index card, but like many of his generation and several before, he relied on self-made note tools like standard sized sheets of paper cut in eighths which he kept in somewhat standard sized boxes.

    2. There are 399 cardsfiled in Leiris’s box for La Règle du jeu1

      I published them as an appendix in the Pléiade edition of La Règle du jeu (Paris: Gallimard, 2003), pp. 1155–1265

      Michael Leiris wrote La Règle du jeu on 399 cards which he kept in a box.

    1. the index card. This is despite the fact that itfunctions as such in a variety of different ways in relation to textualorganisation, composition and authorship. In the space that remains,I wish to tease out this idea of the index card as a creative agent inknowledge production by returning to reconsider the issue of theindex card as an archival or ‘mnemotechnical’ device.

      The simple card index can serve a number of functions including as an archive, a mnemonic device, a teacher, an organizational tool, a composition device, a creativity engine, and an authorship tool.

    2. The Card Index as Creativity Machine

      Rowan Wilken admits that Cornelia Vismann's use of files for transmission, storage, cancellation, manipulation, and destruction are remarkable, but that the key feature of the card index as a file type is its use for creative production.

    3. it ispossible to view Barthes’ concept of the lexia as an almost literaltranslation of his own use of index cards for recording various ‘unitsof reading’ and other ideas and associations.
    4. All of the major books that were to follow – Sade /Fourier / Loyola (1997), The Pleasure of the Text (1975), RolandBarthes by Roland Barthes (1977), A Lover’s Discourse (1990), andCamera Lucida (1993) – are texts that are ‘plural’ and ‘broken’, andwhich are ‘constructed from non-totalizable fragments and fromexuberantly proliferating “details”’ (Bensmaïa, 1987: xxvii-xxxviii).In all of the above cases the fragment becomes the key unit ofcomposition, with each text structured around the arrangement ofmultiple (but non-totalisable) textual fragments.

      Does the fact that Barthes uses a card index in his composition and organization influence the overall theme of his final works which could be described as "non-totalizable fragments"?

    5. According to Krapp, admissions like this, along with Barthes’inclusion of facsimiles of his cards in Roland Barthes by RolandBarthes, are all part of Barthes ‘outing’ his card catalogue as ‘co-author of his texts’ (Krapp, 2006: 363). The precise wording of thisformulation – designating the card index as ‘co-author’ – and theagency it ascribes to these index cards are significant in that theysuggest a usage that extends beyond mere memory aid to formsomething that is instrumental to the very organisation of Barthes’ideas and the published representations of these ideas.
    6. As Calvet explains, this consisted of Barthes ‘writing out his cardsevery day, making notes on every possible subject, then classifyingand combining them in different ways until he found a structure or aset of themes’ (1994: 113) which he could proceed to work with.
    7. What is evident from this discussion of Michelet and the earlierinterview excerpt is the way that Barthes used index cards both as anorganisational and as a problem-solving tool

      Barthes used his card index as an organizational tool as well as a problem-solving tool.

    8. As Calvetexplains, in thinking through the organisation of Michelet, Barthes‘tried out different combinations of cards, as in playing a game ofpatience, in order to work out a way of organising them and to findcorrespondences between them’ (113).

      Louis-Jean Calvet explains that in writing Michelet, Barthes used his notes on index cards to try out various combinations of cards to both organize them as well as "to find correspondences between them."

    9. Louis-Jean Calvet details the pivotal role played by indexcards in the organisation of Barthes’ Michelet.
    10. published under the title‘An Almost Obsessive Relation to Writing Instruments’, which firstappeared in Le Monde in 1973, Barthes describes the method thatguides his use of index cards:I’m content to read the text in question, in a ratherfetishistic way: writing down certain passages,moments, even words which have the power tomove me. As I go along, I use my cards to writedown quotations, or ideas which come to me, asthey do so, curiously, already in the rhythm of asentence, so that from that moment on, things arealready taking on an existence as writing. (1991:181)

      In an interview with Le Monde in 1973, Barthes indicated that while his note taking practice was somewhat akin to that of a commonplace book where one might collect interesting passages, or quotations, he was also specifically writing down ideas which came to him, but doing so in "in the rhythm of a sentence, so that from that moment on, things are already taking on an existence as writing." This indicates that he's already preparing for future publications in which he might use those very ideas and putting them into a more finished form than most might think of when considering shorter fleeting notes used simply as a reminder. By having the work already done, he can easily put his own ideas directly into longer works.


      Was there any evidence that his notes were crosslinked or indexed in a way so that he could more rapidly rearrange his ideas and pre-written thoughts to more easily copy them into longer articles or books?

    1. மனதிலிருந்த கதையில் இருந்த மாயக்கொப்பளிப்பு புறயதார்த்தத்துடன் ஒன்றவில்லை. ஒரு செவ்வியல் காவிய வடிவை உருவகித்தபின், செவ்வியல் அளிக்கும் வடிவச் சுதந்திரத்தைப் பயன்படுத்திக்கொண்டு உள்ளே யதார்த்தவாதம் உட்பட எல்லாவகையான எழுத்துமுறைகளையும் கையாளும் வெண்முரசின் எழுத்துமுறையே இதற்கு உகந்தது. ஆனால் அதைக் கண்டுபிடிக்க பன்னிரண்டு ஆண்டுகள் மேலும் தேவைப்பட்டிருக்கின்றன. இது ஒரு மானசீகமான பாவனைதான். ஆனால் இதுதான் இலக்கியத்திற்கு அடிப்படையானது. ஆசிரியன் தன்னை எப்படி நினைத்துக்கொள்கிறான் என்பது. நான் என்னை ஒரு ‘காலம்கடந்த’ கதைசொல்லியாக உருவகிக்கவேண்டியிருந்தது. மாநாகத்தில் இருந்தது ஒரு அரசியல். வெண்முரசில் எல்லா அரசியல்களும் உள்ளன.

      Venmurasu philosophical writing style

    2. சுவாரசியமான விஷயம் ஒன்றுண்டு, நான் நாவல்களின் முதல் வடிவை ஒருபக்கத் தாள்களில்தான் எழுதுவது. இந்நாவல் விஷ்ணுபுரம் நாவலை தட்டச்சுப் பிரதிசெய்த தாளின் மறுபக்கத்தில் எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது. அதுவே ஏதோ குறியீடுபோல தோன்றுகிறது.
    3. இந்த மூன்றாம் நாவல்வடிவில் இருந்து ஒருபகுதியைத்தான் இறுதிவிஷம் என்றபெயரில் ஓம்சக்தி இதழுக்கு நீள்கதையாக பின்னர் எழுதினேன். அதுதான் முதற்கனல் நாவலின் தொடக்கமாக பின்னர் மாறியது. வெண்முரசு தொடங்குவதற்கு முன்னரே நான் திசைகளின் நடுவே, பத்மவியூகம், நதிக்கரையில், விரித்த கரங்களில், இறுதிவிஷம் ஆகிய மகாபாரத நாவல்களும் பதுமை, வடக்குமுகம் ஆகிய மகாபாரத நாடகங்களும் எழுதிவிட்டேன். அவையனைத்தையுமே உள்ளடக்கித்தான் வெண்முரசு அமைந்திருக்கிறது.

      Venmurasu Prelude

    1. Iris Murdoch argued that we can only perceive things based on the way that we conceptualize them. And then our perceptions necessarily guide our actions. If we have bad concepts, then we will see things badly, and then we will act badly. So being a good person, she thought, or being a better person in your world, is about shifting those concepts and shifting your perception. When your perception shifts, it shifts your actions.

      Iris Murdoch about our morale ethics ideology perspective in writing

      • [?] In the name of unfiltered transparent expression of thoughts in my writing, am i exposing immature ideology of my life outlook in writing

      unselfing|unlearning

      • [∆] i do get an idea of unselfing my mood
    1. On Zettel 9/8a2 he called the Zettelkasten "eine Klärgrube" or a "septic tank;" (perhaps even "cesspool"). Waste goes in, and gets separated from the clearer stuff.

      Niklas Luhmann analogized his zettelkasten to a septic tank. You put in a lot of material, a lot of seemingly waste, and it allows a process of settling and filtering to allow the waste to be separated and distill into something useful.

    1. We’re going to build the query from the inside out; concentrate on what each step means and how we combine them, not what it will return if run in isolation.
    1. 2. What influence does annotating with an audience have on how you annotate? My annotations and notes generally are fragile things, tentative formulations, or shortened formulations that have meaning because of what they point to (in my network of notes and thoughts), not so much because of their wording. Likewise my notes and notions read differently than my blog posts. Because my blog posts have an audience, my notes/notions are half of the internal dialogue with myself. Were I to annotate in the knowledge that it would be public, I would write very differently, it would be more a performance, less probing forwards in my thoughts. I remember that publicly shared bookmarks with notes in Delicious already had that effect for me. Do you annotate differently in public view, self censoring or self editing?

      To a great extent, Hypothes.is has such a small footprint of users (in comparison to massive platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that it's never been a performative platform for me. As a design choice they have specifically kept their social media functionalities very sparse, so one also doesn't generally encounter the toxic elements that are rampant in other locations. This helps immensely. I might likely change my tune if it were ever to hit larger scales or experienced the Eternal September effect.

      Beyond this, I mostly endeavor to write things for later re-use. As a result I'm trying to write as clearly as possible in full sentences and explain things as best I can so that my future self doesn't need to do heavy work or lifting to recreate the context or do heavy editing. Writing notes in public and knowing that others might read these ideas does hold my feet to the fire in this respect. Half-formed thoughts are often shaky and unclear both to me and to others and really do no one any good. In personal experience they also tend not to be revisited and revised or revised as well as I would have done the first time around (in public or otherwise).

      Occasionally I'll be in a rush reading something and not have time for more detailed notes in which case I'll do my best to get the broad gist knowing that later in the day or at least within the week, I'll revisit the notes in my own spaces and heavily elaborate on them. I've been endeavoring to stay away from this bad habit though as it's just kicking the can down the road and not getting the work done that I ultimately want to have. Usually when I'm being fast/lazy, my notes will revert to highlighting and tagging sections of material that are straightforward facts that I'll only be reframing into my own words at a later date for reuse. If it's an original though or comment or link to something important, I'll go all in and put in the actual work right now. Doing it later has generally been a recipe for disaster in my experience.

      There have been a few instances where a half-formed thought does get seen and called out. Or it's a thought which I have significantly more personal context for and that is only reflected in the body of my other notes, but isn't apparent in the public version. Usually these provide some additional insight which I hadn't had that makes the overall enterprise more interesting. Here's a recent example, albeit on a private document, but which I think still has enough context to be reasonably clear: https://hypothes.is/a/vmmw4KPmEeyvf7NWphRiMw

      There may also be infrequent articles online which are heavily annotated and which I'm excerpting ideas to be reused later. In these cases I may highlight and rewrite them in my own words for later use in a piece, but I'll make them private or put them in a private group as they don't add any value to the original article or potential conversation though they do add significant value to my collection as "literature notes" for immediate reuse somewhere in the future. On broadly unannotated documents, I'll leave these literature notes public as a means of modeling the practice for others, though without the suggestion of how they would be (re-)used for.

      All this being said, I will very rarely annotate things privately or in a private group if they're of a very sensitive cultural nature or personal in manner. My current set up with Hypothesidian still allows me to import these notes into Obsidian with my API key. In practice these tend to be incredibly rare for me and may only occur a handful of times in a year.

      Generally my intention is that ultimately all of my notes get published in something in a final form somewhere, so I'm really only frontloading the work into the notes now to make the writing/editing process easier later.

    1. Nabokov’s working notecards for “Lolita.”

      Nabokov used index cards for his research and writing. In one index card for research on Lolita, he creates a "weight-heigh-age table for girls of school age" to be able to specify Lolita's measurements. He also researched the Colt catalog of 1940 to get gun specifications to make those small points realistic in his writing.

      syndication link

    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. Reviewing The Original of Laura, Alexander Theroux describes the cards as a “portable strategy that allowed [Nabokov] to compose in the car while his wife drove the devoted lepidopterist on butterfly expeditions.”

      While note cards have a certain portability about them for writing almost anywhere, aren't notebooks just as easily portable? In fact, with a notebook, one doesn't need to worry about spilling and unordering the entire enterprise.

      There are, however, other benefits. By using small atomic pieces on note cards, one can be far more focused on the idea and words immediately at hand. It's also far easier in a creative and editorial process to move pieces around experimentally.

      Similarly, when facing Hemmingway's White Bull, the size and space of an index card is fall smaller. This may have the effect that Twitter's short status updates have for writers who aren't faced with the seemingly insurmountable burden of writing a long blog post or essay in other software. They can write 280 characters and stop. Of if they feel motivated, they can continue on by adding to the prior parts of a growing thread. Sadly, Twitter doesn't allow either editing or rearrangements, so the endeavor and analogy are lost beyond here.

    2. Having died in 1977, Nabokov never completed the book, and so all Penguin had to publish decades later came to, as the subtitle indicates, A Novel in Fragments. These “fragments” he wrote on 138 cards, and the book as published includes full-color reproductions that you can actually tear out and organize — and re-organize — for yourself, “complete with smudges, cross-outs, words scrawled out in Russian and French (he was trilingual) and annotated notes to himself about titles of chapters and key points he wants to make about his characters.”

      Vladimir Nabokov 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.


      Link to the idea behind Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers which had a different conceit, but a similar publishing form.

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Perec

      Georges Perec (born George Peretz) (French: [peʁɛk, pɛʁɛk];[1] 7 March 1936 – 3 March 1982) was a French novelist, filmmaker, documentalist, and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. His father died as a soldier early in the Second World War and his mother was murdered in the Holocaust, and many of his works deal with absence, loss, and identity, often through word play.

    1. I had to admit that once again my attempts to disrupt thinking with a technology of note-taking had only resulted in an enormous, useless accumulation of busywork.

      I am starting to think the Zettelkasten is impossible for most people. Luhmann worked on his manically, as do I. That isn't sustainable or the goal for most, increased magical efficiency is, and is does not seem that technology has been able to make it more accessible.

      Still though, I cannot believe that their note taking practice produced no value. Even if it failed to write the dissertation, where would they have been without it? I guess that they wish they had spent their time on something different, but what would that have been and would if have inspired them like their professor's note archive?

    1. Links or references do not emphasize the relationship between notes (ideas, content). The context of connections usually remains unclear due to arbitrary relationships. Folgezettel, however, create specific relationships – adding manual links (references) to these relationships create relationship of relationships, the core aspect of Luhmann’s working principle

      I think the distinction between Folgezettel and direct links isn't useful. The real distinction is between connections that are defined relationships, and connections that are undefined.

    1. to develop concepts for thinking about how programmable attention systems can extend beyond productivity (which is where these systems are most prolific, as can be seen from above examples)

      Netflix-like autoplay but for binge reading...

      Although it is productive: Incremental Writing

  8. Mar 2022
    1. In short, to collect connections without an explicit intention, captured meaning, or statement of relevance is not knowledge production, and as a habit, it is even counter-productive: You make shallowness of work a habit and lower your skill as a creative knowledge worker in consequence.

      I both agree and disagree. Filling your notes up with only surface level or tangentially related notes will make using your web harder, but actively recalling notes that are even a little related is part of the reason we use this method. Sometimes I will just link five or ten notes without thinking about it, and then I will go and revise those connections down to the most relevant ones.

    1. You should link abundantly to other content. Wikipedia articles provide some of the best examples of “every page is page one” style.
    1. sometimes it's 00:55:43 not the actual information bit but in a combined order that this is what it's all about and that often makes a difference between yeah you understand it and 00:56:00 you really understand it and um so maybe that's a good reminder that when we write it's it's not so much about new information and yeah don't have to 00:56:15 be too worried about not having the new information but about making this difference to really understanding it as something that 00:56:28 a significant or makes a difference

      For overall understanding and creating new writing output from it, the immediate focus shouldn't be about revealing new information or simple facts so much as it's about being able to place that new information into your own context. Once this has been done then the focus can shift to later being able to potentially use that new knowledge and understanding in other novel and enlightening contexts to create new insights.

    1. You also need to design a compensation structure that pays writers what they’re worth.

      A writer's collective trying to gather writers using the bait that they've managed to crack the problem of "paying writers what they're worth" seems to be a lot of hype.

      This seems to put the already extant fear into a writer's mind that they're not being paid enough. Doesn't the broader economics of a capitalistic system already solve this issue? Where are the inequalities? What about paying the website designers and developers? What about the advertising and other marketing people?

    1. For all have perished, all!

      Truth bending

    2. Yea verily—in mighty wreck hath sunk the Persian world!

      Truth bending

    3. Woe falls on Persia’s race, yea, woe again, again!

      Truth bending

    4. Alas, the woe and cost!

      Truth bending