The Fieldstone Method

With all the discussions on “Smart Notes” and Zettelkasten, I picked through Gerald Weinberg’s book Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method. In this book, Weinberg uses the metaphor of building a stone wall out of fieldstones found by wandering about. The idea is that you have to first have a desire to build the wall, and the clearer you are on the project, the easier it will be to know when a stone you discover is a good fit to add to your pile. Naturally, stones come in all sizes and shapes, but they can fit in many places with a little chipping and work. Of course, to build the wall, you will have to collect many stones over some time. You can’t start building with a single stone. Interestingly, building a stone wall without mortar requires excellent skills in organizing your found stones in such a way that it creates a strong and aesthetically pleasing wall. The more mortar required to hold it together, the less adept the builder. Another interesting aspect of the metaphor is that the wall builder will not pick up any stone to drag back to his pile. He will consider how it strikes him emotionally as well the stone’s practical considerations. The metaphor is wonderfully interwoven into dozens of useful tips on writing from the bottom-up and supplements the principles of Zettelkasten. A practical book by a prolific author you might enjoy adding to your collection.

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I live this metaphor and really resonates with me on how to build your ZK or evergreen library.