Changing my direction

Oct 22, 2022

I’m no longer following my plan of publishing every day. There are some good reasons for this.

This blog exists because I decided I wanted to write every day. From that need I made two rules for the site:

  1. I would publish content every single day.
  2. The content could be complete garbage.

The blog was just for me… somewhere to throw the odd bits and pieces. If I had a fun technical solution to something I could throw it in there and let google sort it out.

For a few weeks I met the first rule… content went up every day.

The second rule was a problem. I found I could not do garbage. I’m not saying what I posted is amazing, but I could not throw up a photo or a lame paraphrase. This took an unsustainable 2 hours a day.

The catalyst for change

I had a good run. Posting daily without fail. It was a sprint, an unbroken chain. Then it ended. One of the early posts on “quiet quitting” just lost its content. I assume it was a git mistake of mine. If you think of a 50 yard sprint, I was the one tripping. You don’t stumble - you tumble. I tumbled for about two weeks. It was not rational, but that was it. I finally started again, but that free time gave me some space to think and consider a Zettelkasten.

Enter the Zettelkasten

A Zettelkasten is a personal tool for thinking and writing. It has hypertextual features to make a web of thought possible. The difference to other systems is that you create a web of thoughts instead of notes of arbitrary size and form, and emphasize connection, not a collection.

Linked ideas in my ZK
Linked ideas in my ZK

A Zettelkasten is a way to capture ideas and combine them over time. I had been using Obsidian, software that supports the ZK approach, for over a year. But for editing and organizing, not in the true capacity of a ZK. During my break I tinkered with some changes to fix that. Early on in the ZK process I made a new connection between two concepts, sparking a brand new idea. That was the most exciting thing to happen this entire time. This is the point of the ZK, but until it happens you are operating on faith. It was invigorating.

I realized that my writing was all from experience. Yes, I have a lot of that. But it was not much more than a brain dump for me. Useful to someone but does nothing for me. Well it did let me work on my writing (link to some post about how you have a million bad words to get out before you write good).

Changing from publishing to producing

I don’t want to write about things I already know. I want to discover new things and then write about those. One of my oldest friends has been promoting focusing on systems for longer than it has been in fashion. Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on what creates that. So in finally following that advice I am changing my daily goal.

I am going to spend time each morning:

  1. processing data into my Zettlekasten
  2. creating unique connections to explore
  3. continuing to research identified connections
  4. when applicable, posting findings as blog posts

Miscellaneous stuff can get done now

There is also a growing amount of changes I want to make to the site itself. Data I would like to post that is not a good fit for a post. This will give me some more space to get to it. Heck, I want to redo the entire CSS system too.

So, here is to Zettelkasten and focusing on the inputs!

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