From LeanAnki, Zettelkasten Method, I see he has this simple method for essay writing:
- Write about a problem in detail.
- Write about the solution.
Of course an extra step would be ‘make sure you include actionable advice’. I like this approach, it’s simple and goes straight to the point. I like the way he combines it with note-taking/zettelkastening by linking zettels that have to do with the problem, and others that have to do with the solution.
This could be a way to write essays more freely, without being bound to the tutorial structure.
- Write durable notes continuously while reading and thinking. (Evergreen note-writing as fundamental unit of knowledge work)
- Each time you add a note, add a link to it to an outline, creating one if necessary (Create speculative outlines while you write).
- Eventually, you’ll feel excited about fleshing out one of those outlines. (Let ideas and beliefs emerge organically)
- Write new notes to fill in missing pieces of the outline.
- Concatenate all the note texts together to get an initial manuscript
- Rewrite it.
As is, it works better with a Zettelkasten kind of note-taking space, but each separate note could be replaced with a new paragraph or header in a big note in a system like this personal wiki. Then I could maintain an “outline” folder for essays-to-be, where they could grow organically. This may start with my small ‘how to make a static site and host it on the web’ and grow slowly from there, as a growing place for posts before I publish them on my actual blog (or on this site’s blog, I guess).
From Matt Might’s blog
” The secret to low-cost academic blogging is to make blogging a natural byproduct of all the things that academics already do.
- Doing an interesting lecture? Put your lecture notes in a blog post.
- Writing a detailed email reply? “Reply to public” with a blog post.
- Answering the same question a second time? Put it in a blog post.
- Writing interesting code? Comment a snippet into a post.
- Doing something geeky at home? Blog about what you learned. “
“This idea of jotting down ideas while you’re out and about is very important. If you feel you don’t have enough ideas (be it for research, for writing fiction, for art – whatever) my first question would be whether you have a good way to jot down little ideas as they occur to you.”
What is, what could be, call-to-action
This is the story structure behind every TED talk:
- Act I: What is
- Act II: What could be.
- Act III: The call to action.
You can build this story arc in different lengths for different settings: the elevator pitch, the 15 minute explanation, the 1hr story.