Zettelkasten Forum


Introduction and thanks

Hello -- I want to introduce myself (Carolyn here) and thank you all for being so patient as I lurked over the last month, and waited to post something. :)

I started my Zettelkasten in January, as a lockdown project, and I quickly found that it's perfect for me. I'm a compulsive learner (really), and ZK is a wonderful way for me to take useful notes, initialize writing projects, and organize my thoughts.

I work as an independent consultant, specializing in statistics, neural network applications, and geospatial technology, and my ZK mostly contains topics related to that. I adopted Obsidian for my software tool -- I work on both Windows and Linux, and it's supported on both platforms; in addition, it supports math markdown.

As an independent consultant, I've also been thinking a bit about how to market (or at least, how to remind people that I'm here, so they remember me when they need my kind of help). Of course, blogging is a popular way for niche consultants to market, but the idea of adding regular blogging to my pile of tasks was daunting.

But then, the other day, I realized that I have many potential blog posts already written, in my ZK. In many ways, the atomicity of Zettels is a perfect writing style for blog posts -- all you need to do is modify them so they are a bit more freestanding, and add something at the beginning to explain why readers should care about the idea under discussion (since you know why you put it in your ZK, but readers don't).

I'd love to hear what you all think of the idea of blogging content from your ZK. Here is my introductory post, and my first Zettel post, a quick review of the covid vaccine FDA pre-approval briefs.

Comments

  • Welcome.

    But then, the other day, I realized that I have many potential blog posts already written, in my ZK. In many ways, the atomicity of Zettels is a perfect writing style for blog posts -- all you need to do is modify them so they are a bit more freestanding, and add something at the beginning to explain why readers should care about the idea under discussion (since you know why you put it in your ZK, but readers don't).

    I even have a note titled "A zettel is a blogpost" (with a reference to blogpost guidelines for readability). ;)

    I am a Zettler

  • Welcome to the forums.

    Atomized note fit as blog post quite well indeed. Check out @Massimo_Curatella trail of writing blog posts with the help of the ZM. I took a 31-day challenge and posted a series of posts to my blog that were minimally edited atomized notes from my archive.

    The 'working in public' movement and the 'public zettelkaten' is interesting, which is an extension of blogging.

    Please share your adventures in using your notes for blog posts. I'm curious.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • edited March 20

    As someone who just took the first Pfizer shot with family who have the first Moderna, thank you for publishing this article it was very interesting. :)

    Andy Matuschak is an interesting example – his "blog" is essentially a subset of his note taking system.

    In a sense blogs (and microblogs such as Twitter) are so powerful because they follow the same pattern: atomic notes*, densely linked.

    * focused on a specific topic, not necessarily small

    Question @carolyn on the article itself: You state J&J fully vaccinated time period is more like 28 days from the data vs the 14 advocated by J&J and the CDC. Were you able to make a similar assessment of Pfizer and Moderna from the data you had access to?

  • Question @carolyn on the article itself: You state J&J fully vaccinated time period is more like 28 days from the data vs the 14 advocated by J&J and the CDC. Were you able to make a similar assessment of Pfizer and Moderna from the data you had access to?

    Hi Dave, I'm so glad you found it interesting!

    I made the assessment about the 28 days for J&J because they deliberately called out the 14 day post-vaccine efficacy vs the 28 day vaccine efficacy rate, and I noticed the latter was significantly higher. I thought it wouldn't do any harm to point that out -- after all, if I'm wrong, the only cost is that you spend an extra 14 days being extra careful, beyond what CDC is recommending. :)

    The CDC is saying, conversely, that with Pfizer and Moderna you can be considered fully immunized 2 weeks after your second shot -- that's 5 and 6 weeks respectively from the first shot. There are lots of people and publications speculating that you're well protected before that date. I won't speculate on that because if I were wrong, the cost could be very high.

    But if you wanted to investigate that question for yourself, I suggest you have a look at the cumulative incidence curves in the Pfizer and Moderna briefs. You can look them up in the Table of Contents for figures.

  • Please share your adventures in using your notes for blog posts. I'm curious.

    Hi @Will,

    So far, my adventures have been pretty minimal -- I've turned only two zettels into blog posts (one is still a draft). But since you asked... :blush:

    I've found that the act of turning a zettel into a blog post improves the writing in the zettel, so I work back and forth between the blog post and the zettel quite a bit. At the end, the zettel and the blog post strongly resemble each other.

    But I've also found that while I, of course, know why I put that zettel into my ZK, blog readers are likely to look at the topic and wonder why they should care. So I try to tell them why they should care, in the title and in a 'preamble' to the zettel content.

    Over time, some of the 'clusters' in my ZK will replicate themselves in series within the blog, but it won't be clear at first where things are going unless I say something about it in the preamble.

    Another point is that I had a really hard time picking a place to host the blog. My website is on Wordpress, and my zettels are written in Obsidian math markdown. The conversion to MathJax format from markdown is pretty easy, but Wordpress won't let you incorporate MathJax into your blog unless you buy a Business subscription, which is $300 a year. My price for the convenience of keeping my blog together with my website is probably about $60 a year.

    On the other hand, with Blogger you can just edit your style sheet and add MathJax, and off you go. So my website is hosted on Wordpress and my blog is hosted on Blogger. Not ideal.

    It looks like most folks here don't need math support for their blogs, but if anyone is farther down this road, I'd love to hear about your solution.

  • @carolyn said:
    So far, my adventures have been pretty minimal -- I've turned only two zettels into blog posts (one is still a draft). But since you asked... :blush:

    I've found that the act of turning a zettel into a blog post improves the writing in the zettel, so I work back and forth between the blog post and the zettel quite a bit. At the end, the zettel and the blog post strongly resemble each other.

    Your experience mirrors my own. Editing a zettel into a blog post improves both. I let the resemblance grow. This is a great tool for "tricking" yourself into refactoring the idea. I've always chosen to blog with what I thought was the most well-put-together note (whatever that means?). Maybe the better approach is to pick a note in poor shape and give it the blog post refactoring routine. Of course, one would have to have a semblance of a routine or plan to be other than a one-off thing.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a zettelnant.
    Research areas: Attention Horizon, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • Concur. I've even been going as far as to assume I'll publish some of my notes someday so I try to write them in a way that would make sense to an external reader, with transition sentences providing context surrounding links to other notes. In essence, writing a hyperlinked essay with no beginning or end. (not all of my notes are like this of course, some are quite rough)

    Whether or not I actually ever do that (debatable, I'm just a random person after all) the result is it focuses my thinking when writing and editing the notes.

    This seems to align with Ahrens' points regarding writing as the medium of thought: if I can't write my thoughts clearly enough that the note can explain the concept to someone else, then have I really understood the concept?

    cf: Feynman Technique,

  • @carolyn Welcome to the ZK forum and best wishes for your blog! My wife and I wrote a weekly blog for 18 months while living in Australia. It was a combination of Canadian observations of Australian-isms, bird-watching highlights, beautiful places to hike around Melbourne, and experiences from sharing self-reliance concepts (that's what we were officially doing there). I remember spending hours working the text of each blog - trying to apply the Hemingway principle of empowering the text by reducing, simplifying and using purpose-fit vocabulary. That was a few years before encountering Zettelkasten, but nevertheless excellent preparatory training. I think you're onto a solid idea of working a blog post and a zettle simultaneously, to improve the quality of both.

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