Generating new ideas by writing in public

Today is the last day of my thirty-day public writing experiment. Curiously, I haven’t written anything in my Zettelkästen system in this time. If I look back over the things I’ve written here, there are plenty of new ideas that I’d like to capture in my Zettelkästen. And my plan is to go over what I’ve written here at some point in the next few days and capture those those ideas.

It’s perhaps as if I have a writing budget that I’ve used up on writing here. Or maybe it’s a time budget, given that I’ve spent around 15 - 60 minutes each day doing this writing. For whatever reason, I don’t feel inclined, once I’ve done this, to spend time with my Zettelkästen.

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that writing in public has forced me to generate ideas that I wouldn’t have come up with just writing in my Zettelkästen. I think when I’m writing for an audience – even a fairly abstract audience, since I don’t know who’s going to end up reading this – I feel more of an obligation to explain and justify myself than I do when I’m just writing privately. If I make an argument in the Zettelkästen, I just have to capture the argument to my satisfaction. Whereas if I’m writing in public I then feel the need to think through the alternative hypotheses.

That means, then, that writing in public is harder work than in private, but it does seem to have advantages in terms of the ideas generated.