I’ve long been a fan of note-taking apps going back to my beloved Evernote in its early beta days of 2007 or so (I still have the t-shirt). I’ve used most every iOS and a slew of Android note-taking apps as well. All have the same promise that I’m looking to fulfill… a place to store things I come across that I don’t want to lose.
We need to forget. But we need to forget safely. That’s why we use note-taking apps.
I recently rediscovered my love of note cards and Zettelkasten while diving into the wonderful app Obsidian. I’ve long used notecards to process good thoughts, bad thoughts, interesting thoughts, and things I need to remember (or forget). I have a huge storage box of them. Somewhere along the way, I let that practice go in favor of more digital means of keeping notes.
But here we are in 2023 and I’m in love with notecards again.
This comment hit home…
Writing is part of the creative process.
Writing it down helps to solidify an idea into the heap from the stack, maybe even take it from hot storage to cold storage. It allows you to jot it down while it is still fresh and offload it to focus on it later. This is super helpful in ideas, jokes, thought streams, todos, one pagers on some projects, etc. It does help you remember but also allows you to move to the next thing for now.
Writing down ideas is like a sketchbook, ideas/actions/iteration of thoughts both good and bad. It is important to write thoughts down though because how many times have you had a great idea and you are like “I’ll never forget this” and then a while later you are wondering what that was or you entirely move on because life moves fast.
Creatives, writers, comedians, developers, or just projects, are better when writing is involved in ideas to realization of those ideas.
Writing it down and notes is a form of brainstorming. Brainstorming allows ideas to be spontaneous and allows improvisation to get to better ideas. Even writing down bad ideas because somewhere in it is something good.
I use notes apps but more now just a repo (super easy with github.dev everywhere) and notes have easy history that way and you can freely add/remove without feeling like notes are lost. When I use notes apps or even Google Docs, yes they have history but it isn’t as fluid/quick as github for that. The important thing is find something that works for you that makes the barrier to writing it down almost non-existent. It needs to be very easy to write things down in between busy days and to capture these fleeting moments.