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Which one's better? Analog or digital note-taking?

In the information economy, there’s a lot more noise rattling our everyday activities.

Notifications are the bane of our attention — it distracts us constantly, and no matter how we mute them, it creeps in to our subconscious.

Ding! There goes our mindful eating, getting captured with a single alarm.

Let’s face it, it’s hard to miss some notifications because some of those come from our beloved ones.

Whoever designed the notification feature on our phones, computers, or tablets, they have created gifts and curses.

We, as the citizens of the internet, read information every day.

Whenever we see a line of thought that’s insightful, we will capture it.

Even in the offline world, capturing insights improves our learning.

But there’s a debate among people who write information.

The analog way vs. the digital way.

Two camps that coincide with each other.

Here’s the honest answer: There’s no right process to write a piece of content.

Analog and digital writing both have advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some advantages of analog writing:

  1. It has fewer distractions.
  2. You can remember better because it’s a tactile experience.
  3. It’s faster in capturing your fleeting memories, and fosters deep work.

Here are some advantages of digital writing:

  1. You can see the connections between your different lines of thoughts.
  2. It has instant and precise search capabilities.
  3. You can share it and receive feedback faster.

If you want to produce the best content, how about you combine both methods?

Here’s the biggest difference between the two methods:

Analog permits us to make mistakes.
Digital allows us to fix them.

We don’t need to compare these two. What we need is to use these two methods to produce great content.

The harmony of the two will produce a zen garden-like content. It's serene and powerful.
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To get more creative, let's remember our elementary days.

Collecting ideas is a tedious, repetitive, and boring process in our creative lives, but it’s the only way we get clarity.

Just like our life in elementary. We are the kids who collect everything.

Kids who are brimming with curiosity love exploring their environment.

Whether quiet or energetic, kids are kids. They love things that make them joyful, and as a kid, they will collect everything.

Collecting what makes them joyful is their way of learning.

Until they hit a turning point where they see their collection as junks.

What will they do with their collection? They will pick only the things that make them joyful.

In short, kids will pick their favorites because it gives them a clear understanding about what they love.

If it makes them happy, they will choose it, and they will discard the rest.

Maybe you’re thinking:

“We’re not kids anymore, we don’t have the luxury of playing, or even time.”

The reality is we just don’t see it in plain view. It’s not painfully obvious that at every moment in our lives, we’re in a mode of collection.

Whether we’re working or resting, we’re always collecting.

Repetition is boring, but it plays an essential part in our creative journey.

Ideas are everywhere, we won’t know if an idea is interesting unless we collect them.

Like what Jack Canfield said:

“Repetition is the key to real learning.”

Don’t stop just because it’s boring or repetitive. Stop if it’s not giving you the joy of learning.
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The creative journey starts within us.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” — German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

At the start of our creative journey, we’re like kids who are excited to explore the world around them.

We’re eager to play anything that our hands can reach.

Our enthusiasm for adventure and thrills will not cease until our first step.

“The world is your oyster” rings true when we’re just getting started.

For every thing we see, we see an idea, and for every idea, we see opportunities.

Opportunities to get curious and see if it resonates with us.

If something doesn’t spark our interest, we forget it and move on to the next.

We’re not bound to make our first step the right one. Instead, we’re free to experience the world.

The creative journey starts within us.

When writers love what they’re writing about, they’re able to produce more meaningful work.

If we identify what ideas that resonate with us the most, it’s easier to create a work that we’re proud to share with the world.

Can we apply this ‘creative freedom’ to the business world? Of course!

Every business starts with an idea.

Ideas are evolving, but they’re still rooted to our beginnings.

Once we lose sight of our beginnings, our work will not represent the vision we had when we’re just getting started.

Build the business you want to run that reflects your starting point and be proud of it.
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What’s the best thing to do if you’re getting started in writing?

Don’t skip this first step:

Finding ideas that resonate with you the most.

If you don’t like an idea, and you write about it, whatever you wrote will not resonate with you.

The work you’ve done will not reflect your vision.

Have you noticed yourself that you’re drawn to certain kinds of work because you like the idea behind it?

It’s similar to writing.

If we like the information we read because it’s interesting, and it resonates with us, we’ll feel we have to contribute our thoughts to it, so we can continue it through our own lens.

Like what Austin Kleon wrote in his book “Steal Like An Artist”:

“When we love a piece of work, we’re desperate for more. We crave sequels. Why not channel that desire into something productive?”

So, why write about an idea that bores you? People hate boring stuff.

It’s hard to find ideas that resonate with us because we’re living in information abundance.

But what’s easy is that we can sift through the noise and identify idea signals.

The human brain filters thousands of information.

Once you find a captivating idea, you cannot stop your brain from getting curious.

Once we get curious, we listen to its signal.

Then we’re obliged to write about that fascinating idea.

Besides, writing is all about exploring our curiosities.
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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Have you experienced a moment in your life when things are in their proper places, and you’ve become comfortable with it?

Then life slaps you in the face with unexpected problems?

That was me last year.

2021 was a tough year for me. That year gave me a roller coaster ride.

I stopped using social media, and I disconnected from the online world to prioritize what truly matters to me during my hard times.

Glad that I survived, sorted out my problems, and reflected on my journey.

Now that my problems had subsided, I asked myself: 

“What truly matters to me at the moment?” 

Got my answer:

Discovering and developing my own authentic voice.

If we want to contribute something to any topic we care about the most, it’s important to differentiate our voice from the monotony of social media.

Why? That’s because people crave a different perspective.

Want others to listen to what you say? Have a unique perspective that you only have.

2022, for me, will be about:

  • Discovering topics I care about the most.
  • Developing my authentic voice.
  • Deliberate writing.

It’s time to be thoughtful, consistent, and diligent in making a difference.
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The Paradox of abundance

The paradox of abundance happens when you’re paralyzed with having several choices.

Restrictions can put your creativity into working mode.

For example:

Offline mode speeds up your thought processes and it will limit your access, which is great when you’re writing content that matters to you.

It forces you to write drafts without minding for misspells, grammatical errors, or sentence structure.

Online mode gives you access to abundance, and it also gives you distractions along the way.

When I read Austin Kleon’s book “Steal Like An Artist”, I noticed that when we work while facing a computer, we’re perfectionists.

“The computer is really good for editing your ideas, and it’s really good for getting your ideas ready for publishing out into the world, but it’s not really good for generating ideas. There are too many opportunities to hit the delete key.”

Offline mode brings us new ideas.

Austin Kleon shared a wonderful tip on how we can generate new ideas to our work:

Have an analog station and a digital station.

Analog station is where you can generate rich ideas.

Digital station is where you publish these ideas.

Creativity starts when you generate ideas.
UX Writer, Pressed Copy