Zettelkasten Forum

Writing with the Zettelkasten is like building a fieldstone wall

edited February 2018 in Writing

An interview with programmer and author Gerald M. Weinberg contains a part about his ebook on writing. He calls his method the "fieldstone method", and from the transcript of the interview, I have a strong feeling it's just as experimental and playful in design as writing with a Zettelkasten:

[James Bach asked Weinberg for advice on writing after he spent $30k in book advances without feeling able to write the actual book.] So I had a consultation with him. He came out here to New Mexico in my living room. And we sat down, spent a couple days, and he asked me to help him write books. I explained to him how I write books. I described the fieldstone method - I had never thought about it as a method, it's was just what I did.

So I was thinking of a metaphor and I said, "Well, it's like building a fieldstone wall," - I had done some work building fieldstone walls - and he says, "What's a fieldstone?" He didn't know what that was. So I had to explain to him what a fieldstone was, and how you gather lots of stones, more than you're going to need. And you're always looking for interesting stones, even if you don't have a specific project in mind.

And then eventually you have a project and you look at your pile of stones and you start picking them out. This one fits here, no, that one doesn't. Ideally, you hardly ever modify any of them, but you might have to sometimes to just get a little fit. And you build the thing, and you have lots of leftover stones that you don't use. That's how you have these beautiful walls.

(Bold emphasis mine)

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

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