Notes as Building Blocks of Easier Writing
I’ve been reading the book How to Take Smart Notes. The author recommends looking at the process of writing in a novel way. Instead of starting with a blank page and trying to summon inspiration, he talks about taking notes over time and letting them develop into ever more substantial, interconnected units of thought.
He emphasizes ease. Generating ideas and weaving them together with ease, in a playful way. This seems like roughly the opposite of how most people think about writing. A more typical impression of what writing feels like might be strain. Trying to force something out, instead of playfully weaving ideas together.
Of course, you have to take the notes, and you have to link them to each other. You still have to do work, but it’s more like steady, cumulative work and less like some kind of heroic effort
I am reading this book because it is the current book in the Roam Book Club. It’s a unique online book club put on by the company that makes Roam, the beloved note taking app. It’s easy to see why they chose this book for their book club, as Roam is made for taking notes and effortlessly linking them to each other. Roam makes it easy to develop a system of interconnected notes without a big upfront investment of time.
This seems like a way software can increase human abilities. It makes it easier and more natural for people to develop an external system of connected ideas in order to ultimately create something valuable. It can make writing things worthy of publishing less intimidating and more accessible. This is software at its best, helping people organize and develop their thoughts in order to create valuable things.