Write beyond ashes

Ever since I started making websites I've had this weirdly undying romantic notion that blogging is cool. But I've never been into it, or even good at it. What's changed?

Ever since I started making websites I’ve had this weirdly undying romantic notion that blogging is cool. But I’ve never been into it, or even good at it.

Then came a certain True Gentleman and his Year in Review - a nice and compact reflection of his past year (maybe even slightly motivational). This intrigued me so much that I decided to shamelessly rip it off.

Maybe it’ll finally teach me how to write - break the writing paralysis. That’s what everyone says - if you want to learn to write, write. And it doesn’t matter what, neither the initial quality of it.

Then I came across Obsidian, Logseq, the Zettelkasten methodology, and all this sect of productivity. It’s way beyond the scope of this post to go into that..

What it did get me though:

  • A tool to connect classic, static notes and my daily notes
  • my own daily notes structure (which I expected to be able to exploit later in some automation, e.g. show all the days when X happened)
  • a surprisingly effective nudge to write anything at all - by the way, it’s private, so I don’t have to be embarrassed that I sound like an ape and that my syntax is on the level of “spray and pray”

To better illustrate - I created the following template to be used every day to automatically create a daily note in Obsidian. It greets me every time I open Obsidian. You literally have everything lined up in front of you, you just need to fill it in with letters:

# 2023-02-26 (Sun)

[[2023-02-25 (Sat)|<-- Yesterday]] - [[2023-02-27 (Mon)|Tomorrow -->]]

## Stats

(Because I'm a numbers, graphs and stats freak... this section has been replaced by Oura)

- Getting up: (Motivational element for an owl of my caliber to get up earlier)
- Sleeping: 
- Smoking: (Again, but a demotivational element - "beware how much you smoke, whatever you smoke, quit it")

## Highlights

(Or exactly the more important, historical moments that would go into the Year-End Recap á la Pavel Králíček)

## Thoughts

(Daily ramblings, random thoughts, reflections and observations; not necessarily of great telling value)

## Today's notes

(Notes related to today - for example, I'm now walking my son Filip in a stroller, so I have info on how long he sleeps)

## Today's tasks

(E.g. what needs to be bought, done, drilled, ... :)

        path: "Daily Notes" task-todo:""

(This mysterious piece of text retrieves all the unfinished tasks from all the other daily notes and lists them here - or what didn't get done before might get done today)

If you know Markdown, you’ll feel right at home. If you don’t, cheerfully ignore the weird characters. Just for the record, anyone can make any template they want.

…and it’s worked fine for six months. Till I quit smoking.

You know, when you make a line for every cigarette, with a frequency of about 90 minutes, 15 times a day, and just as often have your daily notes gaping with void, there’s a pretty good chance something noteworthy happened in that last hour.

Today marks 6.5 weeks of me not smoking. In that time, I’ve only had 7 lame entries. I’m not saying I managed to post daily before, but multiples more definitely. Out of sight, out of mind…

And here I’ll take the liberty of inserting today’s entry, which indirectly made me write today’s post:

End of February, the temperature has dropped below freezing again and so has my writing activity. I have [[2023-02-01 (Wed)|mentioned earlier]] that with the end of smoking I don’t write that much.

I’m walking Filip now and so I’m busy reading articles. And one of them, referring to Weeknotes by Giles Turnbull, inspired me. Why create hundreds of daily notes a year and then stress about not having as much to write about? Weekly or even perhaps monthly notes would be perfectly adequate.

I’m going to take the liberty of tactlessly ending here today. It is too early to give out advice and wisdom in this regard.

But what I would highly recommend to anyone taking notes is the aforementioned Obsidian or Logseq (both have apps for both desktop and mobile). I’ve been using them for over a year now, and I’m still fascinated by how much added value just linking a few notes together gives you. You’re actually building your own mini-Wikipedia. It sounds like a crap idea, but it will fully “click” when you use it for a while. Then you’ll never want to go back.

Visualizing the note linking in Obsidian
If this jumble of linked notes of mine reminded you of brain synapses, you’d make the developers of Obsidian and Logsequ very happy - that’s exactly what they’re after.