1,196 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Merchants and traders have a waste book (Sudelbuch, Klitterbuch in GermanI believe) in which they enter daily everything they purchase and sell,messily, without order. From this, it is transferred to their journal, whereeverything appears more systematic, and finally to a ledger, in double entryafter the Italian manner of bookkeeping, where one settles accounts witheach man, once as debtor and then as creditor. This deserves to be imitatedby scholars. First it should be entered in a book in which I record everythingas I see it or as it is given to me in my thoughts; then it may be enteredin another book in which the material is more separated and ordered, andthe ledger might then contain, in an ordered expression, the connectionsand explanations of the material that flow from it. [46]

      —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook E, #46, 1775–1776

      In this single paragraph quote Lichtenberg, using the model of Italian bookkeepers of the 18th century, broadly outlines almost all of the note taking technique suggested by Sönke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes. He's got writing down and keeping fleeting notes as well as literature notes. (Keeping academic references would have been commonplace by this time.) He follows up with rewriting and expanding on the original note to create additional "explanations" and even "connections" (links) to create what Ahrens describes as permanent notes or which some would call evergreen notes.

      Lichtenberg's version calls for the permanent notes to be "separated and ordered" and while he may have kept them in book format himself, it's easy to see from Konrad Gessner's suggestion at the use of slips centuries before, that one could easily put their permanent notes on index cards ("separated") and then number and index or categorize them ("ordered"). The only serious missing piece of Luhmann's version of a zettelkasten then are the ideas of placing related ideas nearby each other, though the idea of creating connections between notes is immediately adjacent to this, and his numbering system, which was broadly based on the popularity of Melvil Dewey's decimal system.

      It may bear noticing that John Locke's indexing system for commonplace books was suggested, originally in French in 1685, and later in English in 1706. Given it's popularity, it's not unlikely that Lichtenberg would have been aware of it.

      Given Lichtenberg's very popular waste books were known to have influenced Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, Andre Breton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Reference: Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph (2000). The Waste Books. New York: New York Review Books Classics. ISBN 978-0940322509.) It would not be hard to imagine that Niklas Luhmann would have also been aware of them.

      Open questions: <br /> - did Lichtenberg number the entries in his own waste books? This would be early evidence toward the practice of numbering notes for future reference. Based on this text, it's obvious that the editor numbered the translated notes for this edition, were they Lichtenberg's numbering? - Is there evidence that Lichtenberg knew of Locke's indexing system? Did his waste books have an index?

  2. Sep 2023
    1. I should perhaps also note that I try, whenever possible, not to collect raw quotes or information simply copied from the Internet or from books, but to write excerpts or summaries in my own words on the basis of my reading. Luhmann called this "reformulating writing" and argued that such an approach is most important for one's own intellectual life.

      Quote for "reformulating writing"? Date? Does it predate the so-called Feynman technique?

    1. "State in your own words!" That suggests the best test we know for telling whether you have understood the proposition or propositions in the sentence.

      Does this idea exist in the 1940 edition of the book?

      Very similar to the advice inherent in the Feynman technique or that suggested by the research summarized by Sonke Ahrens in How to Take Smart Notes.

      cross reference: - https://hypothes.is/a/iV5MwjivEe23zyebtBagfw - https://hypothes.is/a/B3sDhlm5Ee6wF0fRYO0OQg (Adler testing using statement in own words and a concrete example.)

    1. I used to give oral examinations at St John's in Chicago and one of the one of the reasons why an oral examination is so much better than the written examination is the professor can never in a written examination say to the student what did you mean by these words 00:47:05 but in oral examination a student often repeats words he's read in the book and you're saying now Mr Jones what you just said is exactly what Hobbs said or what Darwin or 00:47:18 lock said now tell me in your own words what Locke or Hobbes or Darwin meant and then the student has remembered the words perfectly can't tell you in his own words no and you know he has he has noticed of the sentence right he's just 00:47:30 memorized or sometimes he actually can do it and then you say that's very good Mr Jones but now give me a concrete example of it yeah and he failed to do that guy those are the two tests I've always used to be sure the student really grasps the meaning of the key 00:47:42 sentence

      Mortimer Adler gave oral examinations at St. Johns in which he would often ask a student to restate the ideas of writers in their own words and then ask for a concrete example of that idea. Being able to do these two things is a solid way of indicating that one fully understands an idea.

      Adler and Van Doren querying each other demonstrate this once or twice in the video.

      related: - https://hypothes.is/a/rh1M5vdEEeut4pOOF7OYNA - https://hypothes.is/a/iV5MwjivEe23zyebtBagfw

      Where does this method sit with respect to the Feynman Technique? Does this appear in the 1940 edition of Adler's book and thus predate it all?

    1. It seems that the method is a direct equivalent of a.fdiv(b).ceil, and as such, annoyingly unnecessary, but fdiv, due to floating point imprecision, might produce surprising results in edge cases
    1. As "module" is more generic concept than "class", the name misleadingly implies that either this method doesn't returns refined modules, or modules can't be refined. This is obviously not true and trivially disproved: module Refs refine Enumerable do def foo = puts 'foo' end end Refs.refinements[0].refined_class #=> Enumerable. Which is, well, not a class. # The refinement is usable, so it is not a mute concept: using Refs [1, 2, 3].foo # prints "foo" successfully I believe we refer to "modules" when some feature applies to modules and classes. Unless there is some deeper consideration for the current naming (I don't see justification in #12737, but I might miss something), the method should be renamed or aliased.
    1. John McPhee — one the great American writers of nonfiction, almost peerless as a prose stylist — once wrote an essay for the New Yorker about his process called “Draft #4.” He explains that for him, draft #4 is the draft after the painstaking labor of creation is done, when all that’s left is to punch up the language, to replace shopworn words and phrases with stuff that sings.

      I quite like the idea of this Draft #4 concept.

    1. thinking process when writing had to be inspired (by something deeper)

      • see only writing what comes natural, following natural movements, wu wei
  3. Aug 2023
    1. Question: fiction and non-fiction .t3_164ob1y._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      For those that do both fiction and non-fiction work in their zettelkasten, do you consider the portion dedicated to fiction a "department" or a "compartment" within it? or perhaps something altogether different?

    1. The Snowflake Method is more specific, but broadly similar to those who build out plot using index cards.

      As examples, see Dustin Lance Black and Benjamin Rowland.

      Link to - https://hypothes.is/a/043JIlv5Ee2_eMf1TTV7ig - https://hypothes.is/a/ibFMareUEe2bqSdWdE046g

    2. Ingermanson, Randy. “The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel.” Advanced Fiction Writing, circa 2013. https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/.

      Designing writing in ever more specific and increasing levels. Start with a logline, then a paragraph, then acts, etc.

      Roughly the advice I've given many over the years based on screenplay development experience, but with a clever name based on the Koch snowflake.

    3. you only have to solve a limited set of problems, and so you can write relatively fast.
    4. If there’s no conflict, you’ll know it here and you should either add conflict or scrub the scene.
    5. The first thing to do is to take that four-page synopsis and make a list of all the scenes that you’ll need to turn the story into a novel. And the easiest way to make that list is . . . with a spreadsheet.

      Of course spreadsheets are databases of information and one can easily and profitably put all these details into index cards which are just as easy (maybe even easier) to move around

    6. Take as much time as you need to do this, because you’re just saving time downstream.

      this=character development

    7. If you believe in the Three-Act structure, then the first disaster corresponds to the end of Act 1. The second disaster is the mid-point of Act 2. The third disaster is the end of Act 2, and forces Act 3 which wraps things up. It is OK to have the first disaster be caused by external circumstances, but I think that the second and third disasters should be caused by the protagonist’s attempts to “fix things”. Things just get worse and worse.

      Interesting and specific advice about the source of disasters in act two...

    8. Good fiction doesn’t just happen, it is designed. You can do the design work before or after you write your novel.
    1. In the end, I numbered and scanned 52,569 individual note cards from the Phyllis Diller gag file.

      Hanna BredenbeckCorp numbered and scanned 52,569 index cards from Phyllis Diller's gag file. Prior to this archival effort most estimates for the numbers of cards were in the 40-50,000 range.

      Spanning the 1960s to the 1990s roughly. The index was donated in 2003, so there were certainly no

      Exact dating on the cards may give a better range, particularly if the text can be searched or if there's a database that can be sorted by date.

      Via https://hypothes.is/a/UbW8nERrEe6xjEseEEEy1w we can use the rough dates: 1955-2002 which are the bookends of her career.

      This gives us a rough estimate of:<br /> 2002-1955 = 48 years (inclusive) or 17,520 days (at 365 days per year ignoring leap years)

      52,569/17520 days gives 3.000513698630137 or almost exactly 3 cards (jokes) per day.

      Going further if she was getting 12 laughs (jokes) per minute (her record, see: https://hypothes.is/a/MTLukkRpEe635oPT5lr7qg), then if continuously told, it would have taken her 52,569 jokes/12 jokes/minute = 4,380.75 minutes = 73.0125 hours or 3.0421875 days to tell every joke in her file.

    1. Diller says that she always let the audience do the editing of her material for her. If people didn't laugh, or get it right away, the joke didn't survive. "You never blame the audience," she says. Thus, her advice to aspiring comics: "Go out and try it, and if you find out from the audience that you're not funny, quit."
    1. I could continue a thread anywhere, rather than always picking it up at the end. I could sketch out where I expected things to go, with an outline, rather than keeping all the points I wanted to hit in my head as I wrote. If I got stuck on something, I could write about how I was stuck nested underneath whatever paragraph I was currently writing, but then collapse the meta-thoughts to be invisible later -- so the overall narrative doesn’t feel interrupted.

      Notes about what you don't know (open questions), empty outline slots, red links as [[wikilinks]], and other "holes" in tools for thought provide a bookmark for where one may have quit exploring, but are an explicit breadcrumb for picking up that line of thought and continuing it at a future time.

      Linear writing in one's notebooks, books they're reading, and other places doesn't always provide an explicit space which invites the reader or writer to fill them in. One has to train themselves to annotate in the margins to have a conversation with the text. Until one sees these empty spaces as inviting spaces they can be invisible to the eye.

    1. https://www.oliverburkeman.com/onwriting

      Oliver Burkerman, of Four Thousand Weeks fame, is testing out zettelkasten based on Ahrens' book.

    2. Quoting the academics Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner, Pinker suggests approaching writing as if you were pointing something in the environment out to another person – something that she would notice for herself, if only she knew where to look. Imagine directing someone's gaze across a valley, to a specific house on the other side. "You should pretend," writes Pinker, "that you, the writer, see something in the world that's interesting, and that you're directing the attention of your reader to that thing." He calls this the "joint attention" strategy.

      Good writing is pointing out the interesting things you see to others. It's pre-literate, and even pre-oral.

    1. In the ensuing decades, mathematicians began working with this new thing, the category, and this new idea, equivalence. In so doing they created a revolutionary new approach to mathematics, category theory, that many see as supplanting set theory. Imagine if writers had spent 150 years representing the world only through basic description: This is a red ball. That is a 60-foot tree. This is a dog. Then one day someone discovers metaphor. Suddenly, our ability to find new ways to represent the world explodes, as does our knowledge of writing as a discipline.

      I love the idea here of analogizing the abstract nature of category theory in math with the abstract nature of metaphor in writing!

      Good job Dale Keiger!

  4. Jul 2023
    1. Books aren’t something one approves or disapproves of; they are to be understood, interpreted, learned from, shocked by, argued with and enjoyed. Moreover, the evolution of literature and the other arts, their constant renewal over the centuries, has always been fueled by what is now censoriously labeled “cultural appropriation” but which is more properly described as “influence,” “inspiration” or “homage.” Poets, painters, novelists and other artists all borrow, distort and transform. That’s their job; that’s what they do.
    1. In the West, the primary impact of the idea has been on literature rather than science: "stream of consciousness as a narrative mode" means writing in a way that attempts to portray the moment-to-moment thoughts and experiences of a character. This technique perhaps had its beginnings in the monologues of Shakespeare's plays and reached its fullest development in the novels of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, although it has also been used by many other noted writers.[184]

      Using stream of consciousness for writing, as a narrative form (for me, this portrays more authenticity, maybe even a way to communicate inspirations as it first strook the person, without filter).

    1. Nowhere is the P&V distortion so plain and disturbing as in their versions of Tolstoy.Critics sometimes say it is impossible to ruin Tolstoy because his diction is so straightforward. But it is actually quite easy to misrepresent him if one does not understand the language of novels. Since Jane Austen, novels have tended to trace a character’s thoughts in the third person. The choice of words, and the way one thought begets another, belongs to the character, and so we come to know her inner voice. At the same time, the character’s view may not comport with the author’s, and it is the art of the writer to make clear that what the character is seeing is deluded or self-serving or foolish. This “double-voicing” lies at the heart of the 19th-century novelistic enterprise. For Dickens and Trollope, “double-voicing” becomes the vehicle of satire, while George Eliot and Tolstoy use it for masterful psychological exploration. If one misses what is going on, the whole point of a passage can be lost.
    1. He takes banal people and puts them into banal situations, but he has hope for them.

      Pevear talking about Chekhov.

    2. But Tolstoy himself said the point is to get the thing said and then, if he wasn’t sure he had said it, he would say it again and again.”

      quote from Richard Pevear

    3. “Hemingway read Garnett’s Dostoyevsky and he said it influenced him,” he continued. “But Hemingway was just as influenced by Constance Garnett as he was by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Garnett breaks things into simple sentences, she Hemingwayizes Dostoyevsky, if you see what I mean.”
  5. Jun 2023
    1. How do you organize all of the things you read? My system is actually pretty simple, and it relies on organizing my regular reads, quick digesting and sorting one-off articles, and sometimes doing extensive note-taking with online apps.

      I agree that reading is a key part of writing.

    1. As Chris Aldridge says, for centuries the Zettelkasten approach was the standard and universal method for producing books and articles - until personal computers took over.

      The entirety of this sentence goes beyond my thoughts and I don't feel it's backed up with historical evidence, particularly outside of specific areas of academia and the humanities.

    2. Today, you either thrive on that word processor model or you don’t. I really don’t, which is why I’ve invested effort, as you have, in researching previous writing workflows, older than the all-conquering PC of the late 1980s and early 90s. At the same time, new writing tools are challenging the established Microsoft way, but in doing so are drawing attention to the fact that each app locks the user into a particular set of assumptions about the drafting and publishing process.
    1. I always like to point to a text that changed my thinking about this question, and that’s Kathleen Yancey’s “Writing in the 21st Century.” It basically states that students are writing more than ever before. If you were to challenge a group of students (which I have) to document how many text messages, TikTok, IG posts, Facebook posts, tweets, emails they send out in a day, the sheer volume of writing is staggering. Why we don’t value that writing in academia is the question for me.

      interesting point! some other things in my head:

      1) in addition to our increased writing endeavors, we've also been engaging in extensive reading as well, but our reading material has evolved beyond books, encompassing the plethora of content available in the vast expanse of cyberspace

      2) and while the quantity of reading has expanded significantly, it is equally intriguing to recognize that the nature of these texts has shifted towards shorter formats—tweets, ig post captions, microblogs, etc

      3) AND lastly, the act of reading has swiftly evolved into the realm of listening, with the emergence of podcasts, audiobooks, listenable videos, and similar forms of content consumption

    1. Each volume was bound andnumbered, and the set was titled whatwe had ended so many of our letters

      Really well written ending to this piece

    2. a bundle of cards withwarm words as palpable as the straw-berry cream cake, for which I lusted

      Good wording

    3. OVIDstill had some fangs,

      Good wording

  6. May 2023
    1. If you haven’t read any of his novels, it’s safe to describe Palahniuk’s characters and stories as dirty. It’s dark humor and appropriately the descriptions of the smells are not heavenly. He doesn’t describe the nice smell of perfume, but instead “smell a hint of Chanel No. 5 perfume mixed with his BO.” It’s not enough to say a dirty bedroom smells, but that it has the same smell as “tennis shoes in September after he’s worn them all summer without socks .” Palahniuk doesn’t just settle at describing the scent of someone’s bad breath, but instead makes note that it “smelled like a burp after you’ve ate pork sausage for breakfast.”

      detailed descriptions of smells

    1. framework for making claims with evidence. The simplest of which, which is what I use, is Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER). Students are taught to state their claim (The theme of the story is X), support it with evidence (Readers can infer this through the story's plot, particularly...), and explain their reasoning (Because the character's action result in X, ...) Another great framework is The Writing Revolution/The Hochman Method's "single paragraph outline". Students need to be taught that these are the units of thought -- the most basic forms of an argument. And, even before this, they need to know that a sentence is the form of an idea.
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU7efgGEOgk

      I wish he'd gotten into more of the detail of the research and index card making here as that's where most of the work lies. He does show some of his process of laying out and organizing the cards into some sort of sections using 1/3 cut tabbed cards. This is where his system diverges wildly from Luhmann's. He's now got to go through all the cards and do some additional re-reading and organizational work to put them into some sort of order. Luhmann did this as he went linking ideas and organizing them up front. This upfront work makes the back side of laying things out and writing/editing so much easier. It likely also makes one more creative as one is regularly revisiting ideas, juxtaposing them, and potentially generating new ones along the way rather than waiting until the organization stage to have some of this new material "fall out".

    1. I've been using index cards for tracking reading notes (lit or bib notes now) and I want to change this topic of index cards over to the Z system. In the past, the main section was "writing" and two subsections, "nonfiction" and "fiction". They are all how-to. I have some main notes but most are from every writing book published which I've read in the last 10 years (yep, shelves full). Approx. 3000 index cards, maybe more, with lots of sub-subsection, etc. I've been teaching writing for the last 10+ years and would love to connect the dots easier now than I have in the past. On the list, I couldn't find the recommended category to place these under. Maybe productivity is in there somewhere. I'm working on a mind map structure now. Any thoughts or advice on this? Anyone else done this?

      Has your prior system not been working for you? What do you want to gain from making the change? What list are you looking at that you don't see a category? Isn't the category "writing", "fiction writing", "nonfiction writing", etc.?

    1. I wanted to try something very different. So, I use another writing system to write my original thoughts. I use the Wakandan writing system to write my thoughts because I already know how to write in it and I virtually know almost no one else who knows how to.

      An example of someone (u/Nervous-Deal7560) using the Wakandan writing system to distinguish their ideas from those of sources!

      see also: - https://omniglot.com/conscripts/wakandan.htm - https://www.fandom.com/articles/how-the-black-panther-writing-system-subverts-our-expectations-of-africa

    1. 4/20/52[Keime.] Murder by mental nagging. Woman nags her husband to suicide, which he does so it looks like he has been murdered. Poison, which he puts in her desk drawer, her fingerprints on it.

      Jillian Hess noted that Patricia Highsmith uses the German word Keime, meaning "germ of an idea" in her cahiers to indicate ideas which might be used in her novels or short stories.

    2. July 7, 1942I want to take all my notebooks and read through them for important phrases — use them. It would be wonderful to do it on a weekend. Alone, in the quiet.

      from Patricia Highsmith's diaries

      this seems similar to Ralph Waldo Emmerson's journals/commonplaces where he collected interesting phrases for use in his writing. Here she's explicitly stating her desire to do this for her writing work.

      The "Alone, in the quite." quote seems to mirror her appreciation and stated desire to be alone at home in the 1978 Good Afternoon interview.

    3. Even three or four words are often worth jotting down if they will evoke a thought, an idea or a mood. In the barren periods, one should browse through the notebooks. Some ideas may suddenly start to move. Two ideas may combine, perhaps because they were meant to combine in the first place. —Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction
    4. I highly recommend notebooks for writers, a small one if one has to be out on a job all day, a larger one if one has the luxury of staying at home.

      from Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

    1. The bee plunders the flowers here and there, but afterwards they make of them honey, which is all theirs; it is no longer thyme or marjoram. Even so with the pieces borrowed from others; he will transform and blend them to make a work that is all his own, to wit, his judgment — The Complete Essays of Michel de Montaigne

      Cross reference with Seneca's note taking metaphors with apes.

    1. Tinderbox Meetup - Sunday, May 7, 2023 Video: Connect with Sönke Ahrens live, the author of How to Take Smart Notes

      reply for Fidel at https://forum.eastgate.com/t/tinderbox-meetup-sunday-may-7-2023-video-connect-with-sonke-ahrens-live-the-author-of-how-to-take-smart-notes/6659

      @fidel (I'm presuming you're the same one from the meetup on Sunday, if not perhaps someone might tag the appropriate person?), I was thinking a bit more on your question of using physical index cards for writing fiction. You might find the examples of both Vladimir Nabokov and Dustin Lance Black, a screenwriter, useful as they both use index card-based workflows.

      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. Taking a look at this might give you some ideas of how Nabokov worked and how you might adapt the style for yourself. Another interesting resource is this article with some photos/links about his method with respect to writing Lolita: https://www.openculture.com/2014/02/the-notecards-on-which-vladimir-nabokov-wrote-lolita.html

      You might also find some useful tidbits on his writing process (Bristol cards/Exacompta anyone?) 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.

      Carl Mydans photographed Nabokov while writing in September 1958 and some of those may be interesting to you as well.

      Dustin Lance Black outlines his index card process in this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrvawtrRxsw

      If you dig around you'll also find Michael Ende and a variety of other German fiction writers who used index cards on the Zettelkasten page on Wikipedia, but I suspect most of the material on their processes are written in German.

      Index cards for fiction writing may allow some writers some useful affordances/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.

      However, if you can, try to use a card catalog drawer with a rod so that you don't spill all of your well-ordered cards the way the character in Robert M. Pirsig's novel Lila (1991) did.

    1. Within the pantheon of types of notes there are: - paraphrasing notes, which one can use to summarize ideas for later recall and review as well as to check one's own knowledge and understanding of what an author has said. - commentary notes, which take the text and create a commentary on them, often as part of having a conversation with the text. These can be seen historically in the Midrashim tradition of commenting on Torah.

      [23:12 - 24:47]

      separately also: - productivity notes - to do lists, reminders of work to be done, often within or as part of a larger complex project

  7. Apr 2023
    1. I’d rather challenge people to figure out a way to get their work to connect with what really means something to them, however they’re going to do it. It doesn’t always mean writing about what you know, but it means writing about something in a way that’s going to get you to use your best and most troubling material.

      Tom Perrotta

    2. I was told to write poems that cost me something to write them. They cost me a lot. Too much? I’m still carrying ones and zeros on the budget. I go to poems looking for heart. You can tell when a poet has put a lot of heart into the poem and you can tell when they left it out. Some of them favor brain. But for me, all brain is no ache but headache.”

      Jillian Weise

    3. “You throw it all away and invent from what you know. I should have said that sooner. That’s all there is to writing.”

      Ernest Hemingway

    4. Write as if you were a movie camera. Get exactly what is there. All human beings see with astonishing accuracy, not that they can necessarily write it down.”

      John Gardener

    5. “You absolutely should write about what you know. There are all sorts of small things that you should store up and use, nothing is lost to a writer. You have to learn to stand outside of yourself. All experience, whether it is painful or whether it is happy is somehow stored up and sooner or later it’s used.”

      P.D. James

    6. “I just try to work on ideas that interest and perplex and absorb me. People say, “Write what you know,” but for me it’s more like, “Write what obsesses you.”

      Meg Wolitzer

    7. For me, it’s the difference between fiction that matters only to those who know the author and fiction that, well, matters.

      “Don’t Write What You Know,” by Bret Anthony Johnston

    8. I think what’s behind “write what you know” is emotion. Like, have you known happiness? Have you ever been truly sad? Have you ever longed for something? And that’s the point, if you’ve longed for an Atari 2600, as I did when I was twelve, all I wanted was that game console, if you have felt that deep longing, that can also be a deep longing for a lost love or for liberation of your country, or to reach Mars. That’s the idea: if you’ve known longing, then you can write longing. And that’s the knowing behind “write what you know.””

      Nathan Englander

    1. Sometimes you must surrender the idea of steering the story toward a predetermined structure and destination. We all know how to do the latter, so it feels secure.
    2. Writing about science means humbling yourself about how little you know, and then writing the story in the authoritative voice of a tentative expert.
    3. Roy Peter Clark, writing scholar and coach at The Poynter Institute, says, “Reports give readers information. Stories give readers experience.” I would add: An article is generic; a story is unique.

      There's something interesting lurking here on note taking practice as well.

      Generic notes for learning may rephrase or summarize an idea int one's own words and are equivalent to basic information or articles as framed by Clark/Keiger. But in building towards something, that goes beyond the basic, one should strive in their notes to elicit experience and generate insight; take the facts and analyze them, create something new, interesting, and unique.

    4. Roy Peter Clark, writing scholar and coach at The Poynter Institute, says, “Reports give readers information. Stories give readers experience.” I would add: An article is generic; a story is unique.
    5. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Great genial power, one would almost say, consists in not being original at all; in being altogether receptive; in letting the world do all, and suffering the spirit of the hour to pass unobstructed through the mind.”

      original source?

    6. My teachers were practice, experience, trial and error, good editors and exemplars like John McPhee, Tracy Kidder, Edward Hoagland, Paul Theroux and Annie Dillard.

      Examples of good writers from Dale Keiger.

    1. Paulson, Michael. “Aaron Sorkin Revamps ‘Camelot,’ With Challenges Classic and New.” The New York Times, March 22, 2023, sec. Theater. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/22/theater/aaron-sorkin-camelot-broadway.html.

    2. “I wrote 86 episodes of ‘The West Wing,’ and every single time I finished one, I’d be happy for five minutes before it just meant that I haven’t started the next one yet, and I never thought I would be able to write the next one. Ever.”

      I'm reminded a bit of Dale Keiger's mention of Mark Strand having this same feeling after writing a poem.


    3. Sorkin had been a heavy smoker since high school — two packs a day of Merits — and the habit had long been inextricable from his writing process. “It was just part of it, the way a pen was part of it,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I’ll start to salivate.”

      For Aaron Sorkin smoking was a tool that was part of his writing process.

    1. In 1971, his reputation was beginning its ascent when he was interviewed by The Ohio Review. He described what he felt after completing a poem:Well, after the brief, and I think normal, period of exhilaration, there is a let-down. What I’ve done is written another poem. And what I have to do is write another one.
    1. especially frightening was how hishair lay flat on his pale forehead

      Parallel to beginning where Pyoter is looking at his dead body in the coffin; he says the same thing

    2. Ivan Ilyich sensed it, drovethe thought of it away, but it would go on, and it would come and standdirectly in front of him and look at him, and he would be durilbstruck,the light would go ?ut in his eyes, and he would again begin asking himself: - "Can it alone be true?"


    3. As his wife became more irritable and demanding

      This story paints her in a very negative light. I still think this is an instance of unreliable narration; perhaps if told from her perspective, she would not think so kindly of her husband trying to simply "protect his peace," instead of valuing their family or helping care for children.

    4. His eyeswere tearful and such as are found in impure boys of thirteen or fourteen

      Wording; Impure. They do not yet know how to perform.

    5. noticing that the table was threatened with �sh

      I like the wording a lot

    6. (generally the whole drawing room was filled withknickknacks and furniture)

      This parenthetical seems oddly out of place?

    7. snap.

      The whole timing of this prior section is genius! Very funnily timed!

    1. does my zettelkasten make writing... harder?

      Worried about self-plagiarizing in the future? Others like Hans Blumenberg have struck through used cards with red pencil. This could also be done with metadata or other searchable means in the digital realm as well. (See: https://hypothes.is/a/mT8Twk2cEe2bvj8lq2Lgpw)

      General problems she faces: 1. Notetaking vs. writing voice (shifting between one and another and not just copy/pasting) 2. discovery during writing (put new ideas into ZK as you go or just keep writing on the page when the muse strikes) 3. Linearity of output: books are linear and ZK is not

      Using transclusion may help in the initial draft/zero draft?<br /> ie: ![[example]] (This was mentioned in the comments as well.)

      directional vs. indirectional notes - see Sascha Fast's article

      Borrowing from the telecom/cable industry, one might call this the zettelkasten "last mile problem". I've also referred to it in the past as the zettelkasten output problem. (See also the description and comments at https://boffosocko.com/2022/07/12/call-for-model-examples-of-zettelkasten-output-processes/ as well as some of the examples linked at https://boffosocko.com/research/zettelkasten-commonplace-books-and-note-taking-collection/)

      Many journal articles that review books (written in English) in the last half of the 20th century which include the word zettelkasten have a negative connotation with respect to ZK and frequently mention the problem that researchers/book writers have of "tipping out their ZKs" without the outlining and argument building/editing work to make their texts more comprehensible or understandable.

      Ward Cunningham has spoken in the past about the idea of a Markov Monkey who can traverse one's atomic notes in a variety of paths (like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but the monkey knows all the potential paths). The thesis in some sense is the author choosing a potential "best" path (a form of "travelling salesperson problem), for a specific audience, who presumably may have some context of the general area.

      Many mention Sonke Ahrens' book, but fail to notice Umberto Eco's How to Write a Thesis (MIT, 2015) and Gerald Weinberg's "The Fieldstone Method (Dorset House, 2005) which touch a bit on these composition problems.

      I'm not exactly sure of the particulars and perhaps there isn't enough historical data to prove one direction or another, but Wittgenstein left behind a zettelkasten which his intellectual heirs published as a book. In it they posit (in the introduction) that rather than it being a notetaking store which he used to compose longer works, that the seeming similarities between the ideas in his zettelkasten and some of his typescripts were the result of him taking his typescripts and cutting them up to put into his zettelkasten. It may be difficult to know which direction was which, but my working hypothesis is that the only way it could have been ideas from typescripts into his zettelkasten would have been if he was a "pantser", to use your terminology, and he was chopping up ideas from his discovery writing to place into contexts within his zettelkasten for later use. Perhaps access to the original physical materials may be helpful in determining which way he was moving. Cross reference: https://hypothes.is/a/BptoKsRPEe2zuW8MRUY1hw

      Some helpful examples: - academia : Victor Margolin - fiction/screenwriting: - Dustin Lance Black - Vladimir Nabokov - others...

    1. 在图书馆里翻来翻去写出来的东西,没什么意义,尤其在 ChatGPT 时代。以后一个初中生写的东西说不定比大牌作家写得还好,他收集资料的能力更强。所以,我的书要提供原创的实地的东西,ChatGPT 代替不了的东西。现在这本书可以说达到这个标准,我相信 ChatGPT 肯定写不出来。
    1. How best to incorporate a book of terms? .t3_12e2r50._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; } questionHi, so my Zettelkasten is mainly based around learning literary/storytelling techniques. There's a book called the Elements of Eloquence (which I can't recommend enough to those interested in language) which lays down a large number of formulas from rhetoric for creating memorable lines. It varies in complexity from alliteration to hendiadys, and contains 39 of these memorable-line-recipes in total.I want to enter them into my vault, but worry that creating 39 new notes for the individual formula might be overkill. I thought I'd ask here as I am worried about irreducibility - do I create a single note that contains brief descriptions of all the recipes, or fill my zettelkasten with them, creating what feels a little bit like spam?I've had the zettelkasten for a while but have been too busy to properly use it until recently, so I thought I'd be better off asking the people with actual experience!

      reply to u/apricotsareweird at r/Zettelkasten - How best to incorporate a book of terms?

      This sounds a bit like it might fit into the mold of an example like Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's "Oblique Strategies" which are bits of creative advice that one draws out at random to help improve their work. You could have a custom deck for potential writing work and attempt the recipes at random to see where it takes you. At worst a collection of them could be used for spaced repetition to memorize or familiarize yourself with them. At a later date you could give them numbers and install them into a larger collection, but keeping them as a stand alone collection certainly couldn't hurt at least to start.

  8. Mar 2023
    1. Since Luhmann’s system of the slip box is well-known, Ahrens’ valuable contribution lies less in providing an innovative technique of note-taking and the organization of academic writing, but more in reflecting critically on the very nature of writing as a medium of knowledge generation.

      I think that by saying "Luhmann's system of the slip box is well-known", Stephanie Schiller is not talking about his specific box or his specific method, but the broader rhetorical method of the ars excerpendi and note taking in general. There isn't a whole lot of evidence to indicate that, except for a small segment of sociologists who may have know his work, that Luhmann's slip box was specifically well known at all up to the point of Ahrens' book.

    1. Writing is rewarding. Writing is empowering. Writing is even fun. As human, we are wired to communicate. We are also wired for “play.” Under the right circumstances, writing allows us to do both of these things at the same time.
    2. In a piece like this, writing is the expression and exploration of an idea (or collection of ideas). It is only through the writing that I can fully understand what I think.
    3. one of the things I value about writing, is the act of writing itself. It is an embodied process that connects me to my own humanity, by putting me in touch with my mind, the same way a vigorous hike through the woods can put me in touch with my body.
    4. Value the process, rather than the product.

      Good writing is often about practices and process to arrive at an end product and not just the end product itself.

      Writing is a means to an end, but most don't have the means to begin with.

      Writing with a card index, zettelkasten, commonplace book or other related tools can dramatically help almost any writer because it provides them with a means from the start rather than facing a blank page and having to produce whole cloth in bulk.

    1. I found the format of these Hypothes.is notes to be much more readable than the notes on the same topic in Evernote.


      There is definitely something here from a usability (and reusability) perspective when notes are broken down into smaller pieces the way that is encouraged by Hypothes.is or by writing on index cards.

      Compare: - ://www.evernote.com/shard/s170/sh/d69cf793-1f14-48f4-bd48-43f41bd88678/DapavVTQh954eMRGKOVeEPHm7FxEqxBKvaKLfKWaSV1yuOmjREsMkSHvmQ - https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.otherlife.co/pkm/

      The first may be most useful for a note taker who is personally trying to make sense of material, but it becomes a massive wall of text that one is unlikely to re-read or attempt to reuse at a later date. If they do attempt to reuse it at a later date, it's not clear which parts are excerpts of the original and which are the author's own words. (This page also looks like it's the sort of notes, highlighting, and underlining recommended by Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain text using progressive summarization.)

      The second set, are more concrete, more atomic, more understandable, and also as a result much more usable.

    1. The earliest time of composition of any of these fragmentswas, so far as we can judge, 1929. The date at which the latestdatable fragment was written was August 1948. By far thegreatest number came from typescripts which were dictated from1945- 1948

      Based on the dating provided by Anscombe and von Wright, Wittgenstein's zettelkasten slips dated from 1929 to 1948.

      for reference LW's dates were 1889-1951

      Supposing that the notes preceded the typescripts and not the other way around as Anscombe and von Wright indicate, the majority of the notes were turned into written work (typescripts) which were dictated from 1945-1948.

      What was LW's process? Note taking, arranging/outlining, and then dictation followed by editing? Dictating would have been easier/faster certainly if he'd already written down his cards and could simply read from them to a secretary.

    1. More specificity is always preferable. It demonstrates to the college that you have given the programme careful consideration and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.
  9. Feb 2023
    1. What screenwriting books recommend note cards for drafting/outlining? Do any go beyond the general outlining advice?

      What is the overlap of this sort of writing practice with comedians who had a practice of writing jokes on index cards? (Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Diller, etc.?

    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKjuBvNi40

      Ben Rowland uses index cards to outline the plot of his screenplays. This is a common practice among screenwriters. Interestingly he only uses it for plot outlining and not for actual writing the way other writers like Vladimir Nabokov may have. Both Benjamin Rowland and Duston Lance Black use cards for outlining but not at the actual writing stage.

    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Billy Oppenheimer</span> in The Notecard System: Capture, Organize, and Use Everything You Read, Watch, and Listen To (<time class='dt-published'>11/03/2022 16:53:44</time>)</cite></small>

      Nothing stupendous here. Mostly notes on cards and then laid out to outline. Most of the writing sounds like it happens at the transfer stage rather than the card and outline stage.

      This process seems more akin to that of Victor Margolin than Vladimir Nabokov.


      Dustin Lance Black's "vomit draft" is similar to Mozart's peeing his music out like a cow. His method is also similar to Victor Margolin who's gone over the material several times by the time he's finally writing out his draft.

    1. 1478-1518, Notebook of Leonardo da Vinci (''The Codex Arundel''). A collection of papers written in Italian by Leonardo da Vinci (b. 1452, d. 1519), in his characteristic left-handed mirror-writing (reading from right to left), including diagrams, drawings and brief texts, covering a broad range of topics in science and art, as well as personal notes. The core of the notebook is a collection of materials that Leonardo describes as ''a collection without order, drawn from many papers, which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place according to the subjects of which they treat'' (f. 1r), a collection he began in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli in Florence, in 1508. To this notebook has subsequently been added a number of other loose papers containing writing and diagrams produced by Leonardo throughout his career. Decoration: Numerous diagrams.

    1. The Codex Arundel, named after a British collector, the Earl of Arundel, who acquired it early in the 17th century. Da Vinci composed the collection of hundreds of papers between 1478 and 1518 — that is, between the ages of 26 and 66 — the year before his death. The papers now reside in the British Library. The collection features his famous mirror-writing as well as diagrams, drawings and texts covering a range of topics in art and science.

      Da Vinci composed a collection of hundreds of papers from 1478 and 1518 which are now bound in the Codex Arundel, named for the Earl of Arundel who acquired it in the 17th century.

    1. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardised test that can assist international students analyse their strengths, improve their chances of admission, and add credibility to their applications for advanced degrees like a Master’s, a PhD, or an MBA.
    1. A sequence of Folgezetteln notes in the filenames of the Zettelns can from this perspective be considered a hardcoded outline and should be avoided, however convenient it seems.

      And here he says it out loud... see https://hypothes.is/a/Gl5ferPsEe2Yf5P83a3wUg

    1. Writing has taken priority. My course assignment is to write a creative non-fiction essay modeled after the works we discussed in class. My Zk has been a joyous and surprising resource for ideas. I'm using my ZK by creating search queries and using the highlighting feature to find where I've already written answers to the query in my own voice. They become snippets directly into my essay. In a sense, I've already written my essay. I just have to find all the pieces and put them together. In truth, this is only a first draft and still needs work. What I've found to be key steps to creating a rough draft. 1. Write and outline 2. Craft queries following the outline 3. Spend time looking closely are all the returned results 4. Look for quotes and epigraphs relevant to the paper 5. Look through the draft for ideas that want expansion repeating steps 2-5
    1. Of course the metaphor of the bees and their honey is the biggest which we've all failed to mention! It's my favorite because of its age, its location within the tradition of rhetoric and sententiae/ars excerpendi, its prolific use through history, and the way it frames collecting and arranging for the use of creativity and writing.

      In the his classic on rhetoric, Seneca gave an account of his ideas about note-taking in the 84th letter to Luculius ("On Gathering Ideas"). It begins from ut aiunt: "men say", that we should imitate the bees in our reading practice. For as they produce honey from the flowers they visit and then "assort in their cells all that they have brought in", so we should, "sift (separate) whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading" because things keep better in isolation from one another, an idea which dovetails with ars memoria, the 4th canon of rhetoric.

      "We should follow, men say, the example of the bees, who flit about and cull the flowers that are suitable for producing honey, and then arrange and assort in their cells all that they have brought in; these bees, as our Vergil says: 'pack close the flowering honey And swell their cells with nectar sweet.' "

      Generations later in ~430 CE, Macrobius in his Saturnalia repeated the same idea (he assuredly read Seneca, though he obviously didn't acknowledge him):

      "You should not count it a fault if I shall set out the borrowings from a miscellaneous reading in the authors' own words... sometimes set out plainly in my own words and sometimes faithfully recorded in the actual words of the old writers... We ought in some sort to imitate bees; and just as they, in their wandering to and fro, sip the flowers, then arrange their spoil and distribute it among the honeycombs, and transform the various juices to a single flavor by some mixing with them a property of their own being, so I too shall put into writing all that I have acquired in the varied course of my reading... For not only does arrangement help the memory, but the actual process of arrangement, accompanied by a kind of mental fermentation which serves to season the whole, blends the diverse extracts to make a single flavor; with the result that, even if the sources are evident, what we get in the end is still something clearly different from those known sources."

      Often in manuscripts writers in the middle ages to the Renaissance would draw bees or write 'apes' (Latin for bees) in the margins of their books almost as bookmarks for things they wished to remember or excerpt for their own notes.

      Of course, neither of these classical writers mentions the added benefit that the bees were simultaneously helping to pollenate the flowers, which also enhances the ecosystem.

      • Seneca (2006) Epistles 66-92. With an English translation by Richard G. Gummere. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library), 277-285.
      • Havens, Earle. Commonplace Books: A History of Manuscripts and Printed Books from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 2001.
    1. Lustig, Jason. “‘Mere Chips from His Workshop’: Gotthard Deutsch’s Monumental Card Index of Jewish History.” History of the Human Sciences, vol. 32, no. 3, July 2019, pp. 49–75. SAGE Journals, https://doi.org/10.1177/0952695119830900

      Cross reference preliminary notes from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0952695119830900

      Finished reading 2023-02-21 13:04:00


    1. I’ve also begun adopting a style loosely based on the approach to introductory signals used in legal writing, where things like See: [[something]] and See also: [[something]] and But see: [[something]] each have slightly different meanings. This gives me a set of supporting, comparison, and contradictory signals I can use when placing links as well.

      Shorthand notations or symbols in one's notes can be used to provide help in structuring arguments. Small indicators like "see: x", "see also: y", or "but see: z" can be used for adding supporting, comparison, or contradictory material respectively.

    1. To cover my knowledge management process would distract you from what works for you. Your question needs more context to be actionable.TL;DR; Whichever knowledge management system gets you paid.I've got 13 notes with the term "knowledge management," 15 with "information gathering," and 7 with "strategic intelligence." Without finishing a MOC, here's off the top of my head:Have a purpose or reason for learning.Ask helpful questions that solve problems.Answer questions as stand-alone notes.Learn from primary sources. Even boring ones.Take notes for your intended audience.Serve a specific audience (get paid.)Write about what people care about.Become a subject matter expert in target areas.Deliver what you know as a service first.Build on your strengths. Knowledge is cheap.It's not a process. More like tips. If demand exists, I'll write a book on the topic in a few years. Might be a good podcast topic.“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” -- Samuel Johnson, The Life of Samuel JohnsonRemember, there is no shortage of knowledge. Managing information is like masturbation; it feels good but doesn't do much. Focus on making information drive goal achievement.

      Some useful and solid advice here.

    2. https://www.reddit.com/r/ObsidianMD/comments/zb4okr/map_of_18237_files_more_than_22_years_of_writing/

      u/jwhco has ~5,000 index cards and 18,237 files (presumably mostly note-based text files, though some mentioned are papers, articles, etc.) over the span of 22 years.