The Secret Weapon Every Creator Needs In Their Life

Ev Chapman
July 18, 2021

I have a secret weapon when it comes to writing.

It's a treasure trove of ideas that I can draw on. New ideas are constantly being added and connected to existing ideas. It's a playground for my mind to play in.

It's called my Zettelkasten.

If you've never heard of the concept it comes from the book How To Take Smart Notes and is a system of note-taking that was created by Niklas Luhmann who wrote over 70 books in his lifetime. Instead of notes going missing in the black hole of other tools, notebooks, and databases. The Zettelkasten is a living system of notes that makes it far easier to write as a result.

Here are two ways I use my Zettelksten to write essays:

Create Essays From My Zettelksten Notes

As I spend time writing notes, reading through my notes and generally wandering through my Zettelkasten, I'll often have ideas for essays that I want to write. Within each of my notes I have my content database embedded, so I don't have to even leave the note. I just create a new essay idea, dump my ideas and it's all connected when I go to write my essays.

Extract Relevant Notes When Assembling Essays

Before I go to assemble an essay I do a quick check of my Zettelkasten notes to check if there are any relevant notes I can use in my essays. My notes database is embedded into each essay template in Notion so I don't even have to switch screens. I can simply search, open notes, copy details and continue writing my essay.

I'm confident that the reason my Zettelkasten is so useful is that it is in the very place where I write my content. There is no friction, no going searching for it, or opening another window on my browser. It's built into my process.

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