One of the implications of Beau Hann’s take on Fleeting Notes that I’m super excited about (and I’m jumping ahead and Beau may disagree) is a meaningful and referenceable space for unstructured thoughts in different formats, like handwriting, pictures, and recordings.
The science indicates that writing notes by hand is beneficial, and I will offer anecdotally that this is true for slowing down the brain, which feels amazing and generates insights of higher quality more reliably.
Also, it sure is nice to get away from screens for a minute.
My attempts to go analog have ultimately succumbed to the compromise that structure and searchability are more important than the many good reasons I’d rather read comfortably with pen (actual pen) in hand.
But Fleeting Notes have no preference to format.
Because Fleeting Notes are fully divergent, encouraging me to explore any direction my mind goes, there’s no reason they can’t include pictures of index cards or pages in a notebook or a picture of a door knob that spontaneously arises and feels right in that moment.
If I were just capturing all these formats and stuffing them together into a folder with some kind of category name on it, I would be taking a filing system that’s already tedious and dubiously helpful and adding materials to it that are even harder to find than typed notes.
But with Fleeting Notes, allowing an inspiration or sparkly noticing to prompt any number of divergent threads, knowing that later I will diverge further and then surface from them some meaning, connecting them to my larger map…
I can do whatever I want in the Fleeting Notes!
And here’s the thing: I’m not building a Zettelkasten because I want to have The Best, Correct, Pressure-Tested Thoughts. No. I’m looking forward to the way those high-level thoughts can lead me back down to the stuff in my Fleeting Notes.
I like that stuff.
The Zettelkasten for me represents less a refinement > refinement > cream-rising-to-the-top model of getting to the Most High Quality Thinking™. No, most of my best ideas arise spontaneously when I am most unserious and playful.
What rises to the top of a Zettelkasten is a structure that can lead me back down to something valuable at precisely the right moment.
That is the holy of holies for me. At least right now.