My implementation of Zettelkasten in Craft
I have been using a new notes app called Craft.do. I love it and have been obsessively using it for the past three days.
In this blog post, I share how I’m implementing the Zettelkasten method in Craft.
For the best experience and links to work, view this post as a Craft doc.
Step 1: Take Reference Notes
This is simply importing Kindle highlights into a page (the “Reference Note”), then adding some metadata. Most important metadata are, “Keywords” and “Related notes.”
Here’s the metadata I add:
— Keywords: Related notes: Date created: Sat, 21. November 2020 Last updated: —
Step 2: Take Literature Notes
When inspired to do so (for example, when reviewing a Reference Note), create a page for “Literature Notes.” This is where you take “fleeting notes.”
In Zettelkasten, fleeting notes are “only reminders of information, written in any kind of way.”
However, I write them using complete sentences, usually in response to a quote in a Reference Note.
- Reference Note: The Lessons of History by Will Durant and Ariel Durant
- Literature Note: LN: The Lessons of History
- I create a new page with a title that starts with “LN”. This is so I can distinguish them from the highlights or Reference note.
- In the Literature Note, I link the Reference Note as a “Related note” in the metadata
- I also add the same metadata, with the addition of the keyword Literature Notes
— Keywords: Related notes: Literature Notes Date created: Sat, 21. November 2020 Last updated: —
Step 3: Make Permanent Notes
For Permanent Notes, I like Andy Matuschak’s definition and application of what he calls “Evergreen Notes”, notes that are, “written and organized to evolve, contribute, and accumulate over time, across projects.
For understanding, it’s best to see examples of Andy’s Evergreen Notes.
I don’t have any Permanent Notes yet. What typically happens is I make a connection between two notes (for example, meeting notes and either a Literature Note or some block reference from a Reference Note). I write a Literature Note for that. In the same seating, it evolves and gets written into a blog post.
For example, my blog post “How not to waste your youth while you are young” was written while reviewing my notes for How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis and my meeting notes with a coaching client.
What about Craft?
Nothing in this workflow is specific to Craft. I have been implementing some version of it for many months, previously using Bear, Obsidian, and Roam Research.
These days, Craft is my notes app of choice because:
- I find it the most pleasurable app to read, write, and annotate (bolding and highlighting in) with. With Obsidian, I found it a pain to have to switch from writing to previewing mode, just so I can click a link and view its contents.
- Linking notes and blocks (within notes) to each other using the
@function is seamless.
- Search works well. Meaning, I find what I search for. I somehow found it difficult to find notes in Obsidian.
- Unlike Roam Research, exporting a note in Markdown and adding as a new post into WordPress so I can publish it as a blog post is super easy.
To see it in action, view this post as a Craft doc.
Post Script: This post you are reading actually evolved as a Literature Note while watching Shu Omi’s video, “How to Take Smart Notes | Zettelkasten Method in Roam Research”.