Writing & Taking Notes

Ideas on writing and note-taking. Suggested approaches to writing books or any text.

Note-taking & Writing
17. July 2024 by Click insider / Human Brain

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Opinions & Ideas on Writing Well

  • Write simply, because it's easier to read and it lasts better; ideas leap into your head and you barely notice the words; fancy writing conceal ideas or the lack of them.
  • Formulate acquired knowledge using own words.
  • Remove unnecessary words (and sentences and paragraphs)
  • Get to the point.
  • Short sentences.
  • Avoid cliches.
  • Clarity, be precise.
  • Surprise!

Find mistakes:

  • Read your work out loud to find mistakes your eyes won't catch.
  • Use a spell-checker, but don't rely on it.

Approaches to Writing… a Book, an Article, or Any Text

  • Outlining approach. Write an outline first. Then expand the text based on this outline.
  • Quantity-first approach. Prefer quantity over quality. Write as much as possible. Refine and edit later.
  • Experience-first approach. Don't write anything unless you have the actual experience about the thing you're going to write about.
  • Think-first approach. Reflect before putting pen to paper. Think hard about the matter prior to having your fingers touch the keyboard.

Writing Tools


  • Use easy to read sentences and words. Write text comprehensible for middle schoolers.
  • Length: Write 5–8 minute articles. Limit sentences to 12–16 words.
  • Use power words (great, amazing, best).
  • Use Title Case In Headlines.
  • Call to action. Always.

Taking Notes

  • Write your notes on a sheet of paper.
  • Make the notes easy to review later.
  • Make the information visually and conseptually easy to review and organize.
  • Writing notes makes it easier to remember.
  • Read/listen/watch/experience the whole thing. Then outline the important stuff.

Learning Languages

Immerse yourself with locals. The best way to learn a language may be to immerse yourself in the culture and with local people who speaks the language.

The baby-method. Or simply do what babies do; Learn by practice, making the sounds of the language, even if you don't know what they mean, making mistakes, lots of mistakes, not caring about making mistakes, listening, and by trying to both understand and to be understood.

Think in the language you want to learn. This is a golden ticket to learning any language. When thinking, and if your thinking involves language, do it in the language you are learning. Think about what you want to say before actually trying to say it in the new language, because it's hard to simultaneously translate your mother language while speaking in a language you're learning.

Language learning tools include Paralleltext.io which lets you read text in two different languages side by side.

Learn a language fast (in six months, according to Chris Lonsdale and his TEDx talk) lists some important principles of language learning:

  • focus on language content that is relevant to you.
  • communicate in the new language from day one.
  • when you first understand the message you will unconsciously aquire the language.
  • physiological training including listening and speaking.
  • psycho-physiological state matters (happy, relaxed, curious)
  • Actions: Listen a lot; Focus on meaning before words; Start mixing nouns, verbs, adjectives; Focus on the core; Get a language parent; Copy faces; "Direct connect" to mental images.

Books on Writing

On Writing - by Stephen King (summary). Writing is telepathy, it’s intimate. Must be joy in it, play. Writing is about enriching lives of the reader and the writer. Read a lot, write a lot. Keep the ball rolling. Write about something, then when basic story is on paper, think about what it means, add conclusion.

Other great, good or okay books on writing, or in some way related to writing:

  • How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser.
  • Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. Containing 50 strategies for every writer: Other books by the same author: How to Write Short Word Craft for Fast Times; The Glamour of Grammar A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English.
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Approach to punctuation.
  • How to Write Great Copy by Dominic Gettins.
  • The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman.
  • Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson. Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat.
  • The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy.
  • The Copywriter's Handbook by Robert W. Bly. Other books by Bly: 88 Money-Making Writing Jobs; Careers for Writers & Others Who Have a Way with Words; How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit; The Words You Should Know to Sound Smart; Webster's New World Letter Writing Handbook.
  • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini. The Psychology of Persuasion.
  • Clean Code by Robert C. Martin. A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship.
  • An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones, William Wilson. 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't.
  • Shakespeare. The World as Stage by Bill Bryson.
  • Grammar Essentials For Dummies by Geraldine Woods.

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