Jethro's Braindump

Writing with Zettekasten

The status quo for writing is:

  1. Find topic/research question
  2. Research/find literature
  3. Read and take notes
  4. Draw conclusions / outline text
  5. Write

This process is extremely linear. The student actually has to do many other things that aren’t part of writing the paper, and that has to happen before the process of writing begins.

If we flip this process in Zettelkasten, and make the notes the thinking process rather than a record of of the thinking process.

  1. Only written down ideas count
  2. Bottom-up
  3. Questions arise from material
  4. Categories emerge
  5. Externalized system to think in
  6. Highly standardized
  7. Process oriented

As a result:

  1. Thinking, connecting and understanding become concrete actions
  2. Focus is on the process, not the outcome
  3. Writing is broken down into reasonable steps (one note at a time)
  4. The value of each idea compounds
  5. There is a clear distinction between permanent and temporary notes