In “How To Take Smart Notes,” the author says that an essay is something that you write, piece by piece, every day.
If you have one place where you store all of your writing pieces and, each time you write a new one, you connect it to the previous ones, then, one day, slowly or quickly, according to how you write and how much you write, you will accumulate several pieces in threads.
The idea of the book is that you should always be writing and carefully curate your note archive so that you always have threads forming.
It doesn’t matter if you continue to write on the same topic day by day. You can jump from one topic to another without any limitation.
The most important behavior is for you not only to store your writings all in the same place, but you have to weave them into threads.
You can start from any amount of information, drafts, articles, essays you have previously created. You don’t have to start from nothing. But you have to find connections between them to form threads.
Those threads are your “80/20”, your Pareto’s law of creativity. They are drafts. For anything you want them to develop into: articles, essays, chapters, lectures, podcasts, etc.
When you collect your draft by extracting a thread from your note archive, you change the environment. You rewrite what your initial idea expressed in that draft to transform it into the final copy was.
I know this process very well, but I keep failing on the most critical behavior: connecting pieces. So each time I have to write, I am starting almost from scratch because I don’t have threads formed, I cannot extract drafts, I have only an innumerable pile of fragments, all shiny, all interesting, all relevant at the time I captured them but inexorable separate, distinct, distant. They are not connected.
This is why I am starting my fourth reading of the book “How To Take Smart Notes,” with the idea of annotating it precisely as suggested by the author.
It’s the nth beginning, starting again with the hope of making it right this time.
So, I do want to write an essay, as well, and this is how I am setting it up.
How will you write your essay?