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My Journey Into A Powerful Digital Note-taking System. From Paper to Plain-text

December 14, 2020

There I was, it was 2017, once again looking for a new app, to organize my ideas. I've been through all the common apps, but all of them ended in a chaotic mess.

Back then I thought the best way to write was in something like at Microsoft word. Now, I havn't even opened Word for months, a lot has changed, but where did it all begin?

The Initial Rabbit Hole

While going down an internet rabbit whole, I found a Ryan Holiday blogpost. That maniac wrote all his books with the help of index cards notes, stored in a huge box.

If there was a fire in my house, my box of notes is the one thing I would go back to safe.

  • Ryan Holiday (parraphased)

I digged deeper, I learned this technique was called Zettelkasten. A mad scientists (sociologist) by the name of Niklas Luhmann, born almost a centure ago managed to write over 70 books with the help of these pieces of paper.

My Jorney With Zettelkasten Begins

My journey began, I created my own index card system in paper.

It as amazing, but of course it was quickly getting out of control.

I was moving countries at the time, so I scanned every index card and stored it as images in a folder that I'll never revisit again.

Time to start over, I finally found plain text files. Endless hours testing new software. More hours moving all my files from one app to the other.

I decided to go hard core, I hear of this thing called vim. I've always been wanting to try out Linux in the past. I learned that most vim users used Linux, so this was my chance. I installed Linux, destroyed all my other apps, got rid of Microsoft Word, and started writting everything down in plain-text files in vim. Then I discovered I could use vim in emacs (spacemacs) The world was mine.


How Do I Teach This?

But from the moment I started feeling the benefits of having an awesome plain text set up, I wanted to share what I've learned.

The problem was that it took me 1 whole year to find the right solution, and a whole other year to learn Linux, vim and spacemacs.

There was no way people just getting started would want to go through all that trouble. So I had to go back to square one. I needed to find a user-friendly yet powerful tool that allowed me to teach these techniques to others.

Now, I finally knew what I was looking for:

  • Powerful [[wikilinks]] connections
  • Plain text local files
  • Markdown support
  • Vim shortcuts
  • Awesome Community

This is the story of how I found Obsidian.

Now I'm happy to announce I've release my Obsidian online course To help you achieve what I've achieved.

Santi Younger

Santi Younger

Professional Notetaker, Jack Of All Trades, Philosopher.
 
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