Writing as thinking, not memorializing

I’m not writing it down to remember it later. I’m writing it down to remember it now. - Field Notes branding

There’s a lot of chatter in certain circles about Writing As A Tool For Thought, and ensuring that everything that you’ve written is captured, catalogued, discoverable, archived, and so on. You’ll run into this with Zettelkasten, Building A Second Brain, Roam Research, and a number of competing tools and methodologies.

These are not without utility! Being able to do research, take notes on it, and rediscover it later is incredibly valuable. The issue is that these various tools and methodologies are presented as something you should put all of your written words into–and that creates friction to just grabbing a pen and notepad and chicken-scratching your way through a thought process.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to use the equivalent of a really nice, heavyweight archival acid-free paper; it adds ceremony and perceived value to something you’ve already decided is worth keeping for the ages.

But don’t forget the power of a $0.50 legal pad, a smooth-writing pen, and total apathy for reading your own handwriting later. The mere action of writing is a valuable form of thought, especially when you’re digging into something bigger than you can hold in your working memory all at once, and you very well may never need to revisit most of what you’ve written in such a case.

Did that make your day a little better?

I write every day. Subscribe here and you'll get new posts straight to your inbox, just like that.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.