On communicating with your notes

I expect most of us are approaching our use of Obsidian as a zettelkasten or some other kind of second brain. As a “second brain”, the note taking system can be seen as a communication partner. Tiago Forte thinks of the value of note taking as a means to produce something, not for the sake of taking and building an idle archive.

I like with idea of communication with my second brain, but in practice, I struggle with it. I think its got to do with knowing ones goals and projects, and the note taking may fall in line when those are clear. I am curious about your thoughts on this, and if you agree.

Whats your workflow like when it comes to communicating with your second brain? What kinds of roles do you assign for it? What role do your notes play in your active project. When do you tell yourself “now is the time to visit Obsidian (or whichever app you use) in your workflow?” We talk a lot about collecting and recording, but this question is more about using.

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Perhaps this can help?


You can search for more on this forum. Apologies if you already did that.

I find that a good way to try to build connections between notes meant to be connected is to start by creating a set of notes to be used as your vocabulary for paraphrasing each note in as few words possible.

This is done by going into each note and composing a sentence using only links to those notes (or words in your vocabulary).

Then go into each of the “word” notes and use the backlinks pane to help you begin to merge the related ideas into single ideas. For very large and complex networks, it can be helpful to preface this step by filling the word notes with the text from the backlinks, and grouping items based on those that share the most links.

I should mention, there is no easy way to copy and paste this text without scripts or doing screenshots and using text recognition. You may want to remove brackets so that there are not duplicate links that could confuse you later.

Anyways, after you are done organizing and merging content of each “word” note, you can return to your original set of notes and paste in the text from the bodies of each word note that they linked to. At this point it is important to edit out all unrelated items, or just move the best to the top.

Now you are free to begin linking between the original notes directly with the help of the self aware map you have created for yourself.

There is no need to keep all the complexity around once you have built a structure you like. Continue to merge and split ideas until you have “crystallized your knowledge” (from post about where Obsidian name comes from).

Rinse and repeat, but just try and keep each item as simple as possible. I am new to this and am doing creative work, so hopefully my description doesn’t read as if I am doing anything more than just sharing what works for me. The strategy should be focused on what your goal is, so it should be always changing, and fun. Thank you developers. What a great tool you have imagined.