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Writer & Entrepreneur. I write to process and share what I’m learning :) How to take notes in Obsidian (free guide!): https://brooke-harrison.ck.page/a4d8350db3

The beginner’s guide to linking notes, creating structure, and building a knowledge base

Image from https://obsidian.md/

The problem with the note-taking space is that there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground; either you’re an expert, having studied note-taking and built up a body of knowledge for years, or you’re an average Joe.

If you’re an average Joe like me, you’re simply looking for a place to keep notes and collect ideas.

You may be excited to use a new tool like Obsidian, the up-and-coming text editor that wants to be your “second brain” and is giving Roam Research a run for its money. You like the idea of “linking” related thoughts and ideas.

But how…


No, not everything belongs in your slip-box

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It wasn’t until I read How to Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens that I realized almost everything I’d assumed about the Zettelkasten or “slip-box” note-taking method was WRONG.

This method gets a lot of attention for the results it gave German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. He used index cards and a unique numbering system — and for some of us, that’s all we know about it.

Now, there’s a lot of talk about creating a digital Zettelkasten with the help of text editors and apps like Roam Research, Obsidian, and Evernote… but most of us don’t know what that means…


I’ll show you how it works in practice, using the text editor Obsidian

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Heard of the Zettelkasten note-taking method and always wanted to give it a shot?

Me too. The Zettelkasten or “slip-box” method emphasizes connection and inspired the bidirectional linking of programs like Obsidian and Roam Research.

If you’ve heard of this method, attributed to German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, you might think that you know a thing or two about it… Index cards! “Linking” similar ideas!

Thing is, there are a few principles we need to understand in order to reap its rewards. Zettelkasten changes the way we consume information and take notes… Luhmann’s “permanent” notes were written in complete sentences, in…


A much-needed PSA for creatives and overachievers

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

“Wasted time” likely has a different meaning for each of us. You might be thinking about a Netflix and chill session during which you binged too many episodes of Bridgerton (no judgment here).

But I’m not writing about downtime. That’s an article for another day. No, this is for us productivity-junkies who convince ourselves that every pursuit should yield results.

And if it doesn’t… If we walk away from a creative session with nothing to show for our time, we call it a “waste.”

A few weeks ago, I spent an entire workday *trying* to film a tutorial video for…


Go back to basics with the questions that rule every piece of written content

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

A returning client reached out to me recently with a new project. And, despite my willingness, excitement, and the knowledge that my client believes I do good work, I was still nervous about jumping on the phone to discuss the project.

Yes, client phone calls still stress me out.

In the first year or so of freelancing, it seems that no two projects are alike. As I attempt to narrow in on my niche, my work is often widely varied, and I’ve taken on projects across different industries. My clients have different personalities and expectations.

I worry, have I asked…


5 creative ways to cultivate stronger relationships

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Funny story: this time last year, I set an “intention statement” for 2020 vowing that it would be the “year of relationships.” Ha! Ha ha ha.

As a perfect example of life throwing curveballs and things not always going according to plan… the pandemic made it difficult to cultivate relationships in the way I was used to (happy hour with coworkers, meeting friends for coffee, traveling, etc.).

Nurturing friendships, meeting new people… this is often challenging for me as an introvert, and that’s why I knew it needed to take priority in 2020. I crave connection like anyone else. …


Obsidian is a writer’s text editor based on markdown files for longevity and easy accessibility

Photo by Milena Trifonova on Unsplash

I was the kid who always carried a pen and paper with me wherever I went. As a writer, I needed to be prepared for inspiration to strike, and I hoarded notebooks like a squirrel in winter.

Even now, I have a thousand Word files, shared Google Docs, and iPhone notes. Sound familiar? The trouble is, it’s infinitely more difficult to find and reference ideas later.

That’s the reason I began searching for a simple but flexible note-taking app that would allow me to (1) keep notes and ideas in one place, (2) easily “search” for files, and (3) connect…


Why you need a shutdown ritual to maintain work-life balance and maximize productivity

Photo: Dustin Tramel/Unsplash

One of the challenges I’ve faced as a freelancer is a perpetual feeling of guilt… I often feel guilty when I’m working (hey, I’ve got a flexible schedule now, right?) and guilty when I’m not (“I should be working! I don’t get enough done!”).

I’ll come to the end of a workday and feel discouraged because I’m convinced I could have been (should have been!) more efficient, productive, motivated… you get the idea. It feels as though I’ve made no progress at all. Where did the time go? Why did I waste it? I’m a freelance failure.

It isn’t true…


Why you should keep a time-tracking spreadsheet even when you have software like Quickbooks

Photo: Fazly Shah/Unsplash

As a freelancer, time is your inventory.

If you’re not tracking your time, you’re missing out on valuable data about your productivity, your workload, and your profitability.

When I started freelancing, I often gave clients more of my time than they’d paid for. The problem wasn’t necessarily that I’d logged unbillable time, but that it was unintentional — and by that, I mean, I didn’t keep track of the hours I’d put toward the project and spent more time than I was willing to give.

So I began using a spreadsheet to track my time for client projects. For one…


5 truths about the creative process I’ve learned from comedians like Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

Writers and comedians have a lot in common.

At first glance, comedians are merely performers — funny people who have the confidence to stand up in front of live audiences and make them laugh. Us writers, on the other hand, are such solitary creatures. Our words take the spotlight.

Comedians are writers, too. Some of the best comedians in the biz spent years writing jokes and honing their personal creative style to entertain their audiences.

I made a friend recently who’s in stand-up. He’s self-taught, and he told me what his life was like when he performed 3–4 sets each…

Brooke Harrison

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