Changing Direction
2 min read

Changing Direction

Changing Direction

I'm going to be changing my writing routine.

I realized, as I am reading the book How to Take Smart Notes, that the way I'm writing these articles is breaking the cardinal rule.

I'm approaching my writing from a top down direction instead of the bottom up, notes focused direction.

I have just started my note-making journey. So at this point I don't have my "slip-box" of notes built up. I don't have a bunch of ready topics and arguments peeking out at me from my writing software yet.

But because I have to write everyday I have to force myself to choose a topic regardless and create something  from the blank page.

So why am I writing in the first place? To satisfy the requirement of posting everyday and win some sort of contest of accomplishment?


I'm writing to learn. To clarify my thoughts and challenge my beliefs. To educate myself and others.

I don't think I'm accomplishing that by publishing surface-level works that have no preparation and research behind them.

I've also had a difficult life situation come up the last few days, which is causing me a good amount of stress.

So the effects of this challenge have been magnified recently and I've noticed a few things:

  • I'm struggling to complete my baseline priority 1 daily habits, which form the foundation of my life (meditation, good sleep, exercise, etc)
  • I'm sacrificing time researching, reading and writing high quality notes in exchange for putting out a low quality article each day.
  • I'm fighting against obvious friction which leaves me tense throughout most of my day.
  • My motivation has changed to external rather than internal.

I don't think this is serving anyone.

Forcing myself to follow specific topics also goes against the free flowing and playful methods that Niklas Luhmann enjoyed:

"But what is even more impressive than the sheer number of publications or the outstanding quality of his writing is the fact that he seemed to achieve all this with almost no real effort. He not only stressed that he never forced himself to do something he didn’t feel like, he even said: “I only do what is easy. I only write when I immediately know how to do it. If I falter for a moment, I put the matter aside and do something else.” (Luhmann et al., 1987, 154f.)[1]

I know my time would be better served being able to explore paths of knowledge that I enjoy and am interested in, thus leading to a deeper and more comprehensive body of work.

I also don't want to sacrifice the fundamental pillars of health and mental wellness that I have spent so long working to improve.

That's not to say I won't be writing. I intend to continue writing everyday and publishing often. But without an artificially imposed schedule. Hopefully this will lead to higher quality work and a happier writer.

  1. Ahrens, Sönke. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers (pp. 15-16). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

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