Fighting the blank page with networked notes

It’s in moments like these, when I don’t want to write that I must find value in my notes. I don’t want to choose what I should write because I chose already when I annotated something. If I was diligent I’d also organize my notes according to emergent topics. What’s the most popular theme in my notes? What grabbed my attention yesterday or yesteryear? That is the approach. The next obstacle is in having a note archive organized to offer such creative opportunities. Do I have idea buckets? Draft idea lists? Semi-finished articles written when I did have the inspiration? Because, otherwise, my note archive has no creative value. It would be only an amass of junk hoarded with the illusion of making something out of it, one day. And that day will never come.

So, exercise, before starting to write, if it is not a free-flowing writing session, I shall curate my notes by identifying threads, discussions, connections and potential drafts. Or, better, the work done in the note archive should be exactly that: the writing. The final manuscript should naturally evolve in the notes and when it will spontaneously emerge I would only need to extract it into a draft, candidate for publishing.

My next step is to move my writing context from the blank page of a new document to the already existing network of notes and ideas. So that writing becomes gardening, curating, connecting, nurturing ideas that have been already found.

It all sounds good. Let’s see what practicing it will look like.


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