Learning in Public and Digital Gardens

Learning in public is a great way to pursue a new-found interest or passion.

But what means to learn in public?

It is simple. After you discovered a new topic, take notes using what method you prefer and make them available online so anyone who is interested can see them.

So how does this help?

First, this process will force you to start writing down your thoughts, making them clearer and helping you to learn and memorize the new information faster.

Don’t just copy the text from the original source. Paraphrase it, interpret it, make it your own. Use your own style, add emojis, graphics and most importantly have fun.

Although your notes and ideas are far from being final, when you share them online, you open them to feedback and comments. This in return gives you a chance to refine them early on and improve the quality.

In addition, making your notes public, will help you build an online presence, connect with like-minded people and create relationships that can be mutual beneficial.

As you advanced into your expertise, having a public trail of your struggles and challenges will help others that are on a similar journey as you. Remember that it is easier to connect and learn from people with similar skills, rather from the ones who master a craft since they long forgot how it is to be in the beginner shoes.

How to get started?

Nowadays, there are lots of option to share content online: blog posts, medium articles, newsletters, YouTube videos, etc

My recommendation is to start with creating a [[Digital Garden]]

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Digital gardens represent a collection of your thoughts and knowledge on various topics. Some might be as small as one paragraph, others as big as a complete guide on a subject.

When new ideas are formed, they are compared with seeds planted in a garden. As time passes and your knowledge increases, the ideas start to shape themselves into an organized form, reaching a so-called “evergreen” state.

Digital gardens differ from traditional blogs in that posts are not ordered chronologically, but instead resemble a network of ideas that are linked together.

You can get started nowadays with a plethora of options. If you want solutions out of the box, you can use ObsidianNotion, and TiddlyWiki.

If you want to get your hands on a bit of coding, tools like Gatsby or Jekyll make it quite easy to have something running in less than 25 minutes. For example, my digital garden is build using Mathieu Dutour’s Gatsby-Digital-Garden solution.

For more tools and example Maggie Appleton compiled an extensive list of resources for everyone who wants to get started:

https://github.com/MaggieAppleton/digital-gardeners

Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is to take action: start writing and sharing. Don’t worry that your initial creations will be far from perfect, be consistent and enjoy the journey!

References

Visual Studio Code – The ultimate writing experience

Microsoft Word. Google Docs. Ulysses. These are the applications that come first in mind for most writers. What would you say if I tell you that “Visual Studio Code” would be another option that you should seriously consider?

Wait a minute. Did you really mean Visual Studio Code? Isn’t that actually an IDE for coding?

Actually, it is. It was developed by Microsoft as the go-to IDE for typescript. In time, it became one of the major IDEs in the javascript ecosystem and not only.

Ok… So what it has to do with tools like Microsoft Word or Google Docs?

Well… Visual Studio Code is offering an experience that no other tool managed to come close to. Machine learning helps you write twice as fast, reduce spelling mistakes and give you full control over every detail of this experience.

Pretty hard to believe, right? Take a look at this recording on how I wrote this exact article that you are reading, right now.

Visual Studio Code – Writing Experience

Does that look interesting? Do you want to know how you can achieve the same results?

Install Visual Studio Code from here. At the initial start, choose a dark theme or any that you prefer. For me, this is especially important as it helps to reduce eye strains during long working sessions.

After that, you need to add a couple of extra plugins to customize the default experience:

To get started, turn the “zen mode” on and the application will go into full-screen, hiding all unneeded UI elements and letting you focus on what is important: your writing.

And that’s it.

Start writing and enjoy!

Writing or Reading Morning Routine

Morning routines are key to a sustainable, healthy and productive lifestyle. I am always looking for small optimizations to my routines and I was faced with the question:

Should you read the first thing in the morning or should you write?

For quite a long time, my morning routine contained one hour of reading time. 

This week I decided to challenge my approach as I was feeling that the ratio of the content I consume over  content I create was getting out of balance. Therefore, I started writing first thing in the morning. I couldn’t be happier with the decision.

Here is my recommendation:

Take advantage of a fresh start in the day and start writing. Your mind is free of other people’s thoughts and filled with your own, born from your subconscious or your imagination.

Read throughout the day or in the evening. Let all ideas that you collected brew overnight, and turn them into nuggets of wisdom the first thing the next day.

Do this every morning and not only your writing will get better, but as will your thinking.