Day 23: Essay 4 - How to Write - Learning is not Flow

Essay Full Text

This is Essay 4 in the series summarizing How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens.

One of my favorite podcasts is Happier in Hollywood which is hosted by tv producers and writers Sarah Fain and Liz Craft. They have many mantras. One of my favorite is:

All writing is rewriting

When you use a Zettelkasten you are forcing yourself to rewrite your notes from fleeting notes and literature notes into permanent notes. Then, as you create a product from your writing, you are rewriting those permanent notes into your final project.

You can't be a writer if you don't write. Creating a zettelkasten is a first draft of any writing project.

This process of writing into the Zettelkasten allows you to go through the discomfort of learning in the early stages of writing so that you can enter flow more easily in the later stage. In Episode 7 of the Huberman Lab Podcast, Dr. Andrew Huberman makes the argument that the flow state is the opposite of learning. Flow comes from comfort. Learning comes only in discomfort. Use the Zettelkasten to grapple with and debate ideas. When you go to your final product, you can more easily let your ideas flow without worry or disruption from cognitive dissonance.

Flow is created when you've already experienced the discomfort of learning by making notes in your zettelkasten.


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