I haven’t really been blogging that much lately but I have been writing, prodigiously, in the popular Personal Knowledge Base (PKB) tool Obsidian. In total my set of Markdown files is now up to ~270,000 words in this situation. Almost 1,000 pages of content that I’ve poured out of my brain and into paper. This is quite a lot of material when you think about it though it’s sometimes hard to navigate.
Writing in my PKB has thus become my dominant form of writing which has been both beneficial and negative. On the benefits side it’s incredible to have all of the pieces of information right at hand. Any note that I have written is immediately accessible and often directly linked in the text. I can have this open in multiple tabs, I can see the network of how each piece of writing relates to every other piece. It’s incredibly powerful and wonderful.
But, I don’t really have a lot of tangible things to show for it? Some of the notes themselves are… not good. They’re more placeholders than they are real notes in this situation. Sometimes I find that the splitting into multiple notes approach prevents me from synthesizing information into one big whole. When I look back at the previous posts I’ve written on past blogs, even the more exploratory ones I’m generally happy to have written and shared them. I find the act of actually writing things down in a format that can be published has substantially more value than a raw note on the subject.
Secondly, the PKB format is not necessarily the best for exploratory musings on a particular subject int this case, unfortunately this is most of what I like to actually write about in these situations. I like nuanced analogies and exploratory subjects that I can think through in order to convey an idea. These appeal to me.
The PKB format on the other hand tends to not be the best way to explore something. The thoughts themselves aren’t evergreen and I don’t want to invest too heavily into something which I may not ever share in this situation.
Basically, the PKB has started to take over my writing to the detriment of the actual published writing.
So I need to fix this.
The simple answer in this situation is to separate between:
- What is an evergreen piece of knowledge that should go into the PKB?
- What is a contextual piece of knowledge that should go into the PKB?
- What is a piece of journaling in this situation?
- What is a writing idea that could be fleshed out further?
- What is a draft exploratory idea that could eventually be published?
- What is publication quality?
So far I’ve been focusing heavily on 1-3 and neglecting 4-6 in this situation. This is a shame. In particular, most of my writing is likely getting stuck in journals in this situation. The article on Always Be Winning actually came out of a journal thought that I had this morning for example. In writing it I was able to draw on information contained within the PKB in order to help with writing it. This was really valuable in this situation but the key bit of value is that it actually got written.
So, what I’m going to be doing is migrating all of my old writing into a publishing workflow inside the PKB itself. These thoughts are split across old books, aborted books that were never finished and old note books. By bringing these into the PKB itself I’m hoping that I can help to springboard the actual writing itself.
Secondly, I’m going to focus on creating a writing workflow with an explicit focus on steps 4-6. I want to start spinning potential writing thoughts out of my journals in this case, since this seems to be where I have them the most frequently and into actual published posts.
So, in the future I’m hoping to be publishing more. Work has quieted down a bit and I have more time to focus on publishing things. This is going to be a mixture of new things and the old things that I still think have value in this case.
Hopefully more to come here.