The Zettelkasten Method
Do you take notes? Beyond shopping and to-do lists, most people haven't taken a note since Mrs Bird forced them to in Geography class. But these same people want to write a best-selling novel, or an autobiography, or complain when they forget their genius multi-million dollar ideas.
I wish there had been a class on "slip box" note taking in high school. After discovering the Zettelkasten system, and remembering the stacks of unorganised jottings that used to clutter my desk, I've realised that note taking is an art in itself.
So what is a Zettelkasten?
Think back to the last time you were in the library and how every book, DVD, or magazine had a little sticker on the spine with letters and numbers on it? This code of letters and numbers is the Dewey Decimal system and is kind of a secret code to librarians around the world. Zettelkasten is a like Dewey Decimal system for your notes. Each note gets an index letter or number, and anything related to that note follows on.
No categories, no sorting, no labels. Just your notes, and their secret code.
But shouldn't I have all my notes about wine in one place, you ask? No. Some of your notes about wine will tell their own story when linked together, but the more interesting threads are the notes about wine that also relate to anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, promotions, or other events that called for the opening of that 1999 bottle of Italian Paolo Scavino.
Having boxes of notes is not ideal tho, and no one has neat enough handwriting for that kind of thing anymore anyhow. But we now have Slippy!
Instead of adding a number and decimal to every note, and having to review your notes to add relationships (ain't nobody got time for that!) just tag or categorise your note within Slippy. As soon as you publish your note, WordPress and some LMNHQ wizardry will connect that note to previous notes via tags and related categories, revealing genius connections you can pretend you knew all along! You can manually link notes to build even more abstract connections.
No more fighting to find the right cards, Slippy deals you a full house every time.
And if I don't already have a WordPress blog? What then?!
You can review and polish your notes and turn them into fancy blog articles with clickbait headlines if you really want to, but as Slippy notes are private by default, an equally legitimate use case is to set up a private blog, install Slippy, and get to work discovering connections between your thoughts you never knew existed. Finally you can make some progress on that War and Peace sequel you've been planning since the fifth grade.
And on those uninspired days when your creative muse can't muster up the strength to fight off big ugly writer's block, log in to your notes and click a few tags. Slippy has been hard at work behind the scenes, organising your thoughts while you were sipping Mai Tai's.
What has it figured out for you today?
Organise, discover, develop, and get into it! There's no need to remember that clumsy Z word either. If you use WordPress the only word you need to remember is Slippy.
Writer's lubricant since lockdown 2020.↑