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Use Zettelkasten to write articles

February 28, 2021
knowledge management

No writer likes to confront the dreaded blank page.

That moment before the first word is written. Enter, the Zettelkasten. This system for writing notes allows writing large pieces of text in smaller chunks and therefore preventing the dreaded confrontation with the blank page.

Zettelkasten is not just a note-taking system but a tool for making writing more enjoyable.

Writing is not a separate task from Zettelkasten

For the past month, I've been writing three new notes per day. I enjoy doing this, but the fact that I'm not writing my regular articles has been bothering me.

I've forgotten what I've read in "How To Take Smart Notes". Zettelkasten and writing are not two separate tasks. Zettelkasten is writing.

Zettelkasten makes writing more fun

Zettelkasten allows working in smaller increments and therefore makes writing more fun. It prevents having to decide what to write and then writing an article from scratch, which might not be as enjoyable since it's a much bigger task.

Niklas Luhmann, the inventor of Zettelkasten, said that he only does what is easy. Zettelkasten makes writing and learning easy since it becomes more fun.

Articles emerge from your notes

Writing articles from the title means writing them top-down. Your main argument is expressed in the title, and then you spend the rest of your article defending it. Using Zettelkasten for writing prevents that, as you explore what's interesting from within.

As you start doing that, the relationships start to form. The hierarchies emerge. Spotting a good candidate for an article becomes much easier than waiting for inspiration to hit you.


Producing articles this way doesn't guarantee they will be of high quality. Zettelkasten doesn't think for you. You will still have to think for yourself and notice a bad article. Thankfully, you don't have to publish everything. You can take as much time as you want to improve bad articles.

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