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Day 21: How to Write 3 - Four Types of Notes

Essay Full Text

In Essay 1, I shared the reasons we make notes. We write to remember, organize our thoughts, exchange ideas, produce assigned work, to create, and to generate new ideas.

In this essay, I will discuss the four types of notes we will make as we embark on various writing projects. These are based on the description of the note types in How to Take Smart Notes by SΓΆnke Ahrens.

The notes are listed below in increasing order of permanence. Fleeting notes will be around only a day or two while permanent notes typically will be around forever. Let's look at each note in detail.

Fleeting Notes

Fleeting notes are quick captures meant to hold an idea for you only long enough to allow you to evaluate the idea or thought and decide where, if anywhere, it should go. Fleeting notes either become one of the types of notes below or go to the rubbish pile.

Project Notes

Project notes are more task oriented than knowledge oriented. Project notes typically have little utility beyond the current project. Project notes are typically stored separate from literature or permanent notes. I personally keep project notes in my productivity/GTD system rather than in my zettelkasten.

Source Notes (aka Literature Notes)

Source notes are notes made while reading, watching, or listening to a specific source of information. More commonly called literature notes, this name is too narrow for my implementation of zettelkasten as I create notes from podcasts, videos, and shows in addition to articles and books.

Permanent Notes

Permanent notes are your deeply synthesized final personal notes that go in your zettelkasten. Permanent notes are linked to both source notes and to one another.

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