# My first Zettelkasten project

edited July 2020 in Writing

A few hours ago, I sent the chapter. This piece for an edited volume is my first academic project crafted with the Zettelkasten Method. What follows is my reflection upon my first use of it.

Creating the zetteln seemed clear. I gave each a unique identifier, notes, sources, and then I gave each at least two other zetteln references. The references included back links, as well.

I used Devonthink to make and store them. I created many of them in the folder for this project, but I kept a replicant (Devonthink for the same zettel in multiple folders) in another folder that contains all of my zetteln. I had zero zetteln when I started, so when I came across an idea that did not fit in the project, I put it in the zettel folder with everything else. To make myself feel more comfortable, I used tags in addition to the other networking methods described on this forum. I found that I did refer to the tags on occasion to find zetteln I was looking for.

For future projects, I can see myself creating folders from Devonthink searches, and then adding zetteln from there, as above. None of these contain links that I can simply click to hop around zetteln. I don’t know Markdown and don’t have Archive. These weeks only allowed for so much time for new things.
I outlined using the zetteln. Just for fun, I cut and pasted the notes of the zetteln together in a single document. Doing that alone nearly got me to the required word count. Of course, I did not use this for my text, but began writing from the zetteln. This is where things got tricky.

The zetteln and the flow of ideas did not exactly follow the same current. I found that I would use parts of zetteln. At other times, I would need to go back and insert a zettel or a part of another zettel, and I took some things out. In other words, the zettel outline I produced came alive as more of a Charybdis than a chapter. Fortunately, I was not afraid and sailed on.

I continued with the writing process as one would expect: rearranging parts, re-writing parts, discovering the need for further research, and so on. When putting the time into creating the zetteln, I expected that the re-writing and editing process would be faster. I was wrong. And this turned out to be a good thing. Reworking the piece allowed for new insights and a better final product.

I have some remaining questions:
1. Should I expect that my style for composing zetteln will change? Will they start to come together a bit cleaner than the Franken-paper I first made from the outline?

1. (I’ve seen this question asked elsewhere) What’s the best way to introduce new zetteln in the writing process? If I’m running with a new idea, I don’t want to stop and create a zettel. If I don’t, however, it’s likely that I never will.

I’m interested in your thoughts.

## Comments

• ad 2: Sascha once suggested I just write down the idea wherever I currently am, even if it doesn't fit, and mark it as "spontaneous idea". Could be using ----------- do visually add a separator line, could (should?) be with an ID and title; and some marker so you can find stuff like this you need to extract later, like an #extract-me! hashtag.

Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

• @Cedd said:
I have some remaining questions:
1. Should I expect that my style for composing zetteln will change? Will they start to come together a bit cleaner than the Franken-paper I first made from the outline?

1. (I’ve seen this question asked elsewhere) What’s the best way to introduce new zetteln in the writing process? If I’m running with a new idea, I don’t want to stop and create a zettel. If I don’t, however, it’s likely that I never will.
1. Yes, and hopefully our styles will change as our practice progresses. Without change or evolution, your note-taking becomes stodgy and inflexible when confronted with new ideas.
2. I use a Keyboard Maestro macro I have which I describe in the second part of https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/6811/#Comment_6811. I execute the macro and place a #inbox tag and return to my writing. I've done two things by doing it this way. First I created a link in my zettelkasten and second, I've created a place holder/reminder for myself. My top saved search is all notes with an #inbox tag. This takes only highlighting a few words of text (nothing fancy), one key combination to make a new note, typing 6 characters (#inbox) and returning to my writing. I've developed muscle memory for this and pretty quick. It doesn't disturb my flow.

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

• @ctietze, I think you and @sfast should create an inaugural forum.zettelkasten.de Most Helpful Forum Member award. Maybe the prize could be a slip box and a pack of 4x6 notecards or something (but srsly, perhaps a monthly guest post on the blog?).

I hereby nominate @Will as the recipient of this year's prize.

Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

• @Phil said:
@ctietze, I think you and @sfast should create an inaugural forum.zettelkasten.de Most Helpful Forum Member award. Maybe the prize could be a slip box and a pack of 4x6 notecards or something (but srsly, perhaps a monthly guest post on the blog?).

I hereby nominate @Will as the recipient of this year's prize.

I second the nomination!

• @Phil, @Will is already on every list we created for gifts etc. (Updates, Courses, Books,...)

I am a Zettler

• Thank you for taking the time to post your helpful replies.

• edited August 2020

@Cedd said:
What’s the best way to introduce new zetteln in the writing process? If I’m running with a new idea, I don’t want to stop and create a zettel. If I don’t, however, it’s likely that I never will.

I’m interested in your thoughts.

If I have an idea or a text that needs a new note I write the following in the current text I'm working;

---

zt 20200806a21

#0fn

Brief title

Here is the great idea I don't want to forget giving its own dedicated note.

---

• zt just means is a Zettel (note)
• 0200806a21 is the date, the a means is the first note I write at 21 hour of the day. That's my unique identifier (UID) convention. The third note written at 9 PM will have a c21.
• The tag #0fn means it is a fleeting note. I have 3 tags as in a scrum board to make sure I'm finishing my notes and a smart search for each. The tags are sequential and are #0fn, #0fs, #0ip for fleeting, sprint, and in-progress respectively.
• Every wednesday and saturday evenings I search those tags in their smart folder and try to prioritize finishing all the fleeting notes possible. Of course I never finish all the #0fn notes but at least I make progress on them and those notes might get promoted to a sprint tag #0fs (note it is still a "fleeting-sprint" note) or to the in-progress where it's almost a finished note.
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