How to Start Taking Notes in a Text Editor Like Obsidian
The beginner’s guide to linking notes, creating structure, and building a knowledge base
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 do you do that? Where do you start? How do you go from a blank slate to building that beautiful web of interconnected thought?
A lot of the content that’s out there is too advanced for beginners. Learning about the latest plugin won’t do us any good if we don’t even know how to organize our notes or create structure in a way that makes sense and facilitates connection.
Since I started taking notes in Obsidian, I’ve had many readers reach out asking for more accessible tutorials and resources. I get it, because I struggled, too. I made “mistakes” when I started because I didn’t understand the concept of linking notes.
So I’m writing this for my fellow note-takers who need basic principles to get up and running. Let’s dive in.
Obsidian 101: What is it? Why should I care?
If you’re already familiar with Obsidian, you can skip to Step 1!
Obsidian is a free text editor and note-taking app like Roam Research, The Archive, or Evernote. I believe a strong note-taking app allows for the following:
- Keep everything in one place
- Longevity of notes
- Easily “search” for files
- Connect ideas and build a knowledge base
Obsidian uses plain text markdown files (.md). When you take notes, Markdown allows you to format your text using symbols to create headings, subheadings, bolded and…