Writing to Learn

I’m someone who likes to learn a lot of things, passively. One of my favorite habits is to watch Youtube videos or read up on the skill-du-jour I’m learning. That’s currently gardening and cooking.

However, reading or watching something doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve fully integrated something meaningful. It’s easy to read an article and then forget about it. How do I know that it sticks? Will it be part of my long term memory, or just a digital snack to pass the time?

There’s many ways to integrate something I learned deeper into my brain:

Digest and turn over what I just learned. This involves highlighting passages in a book, or writing notes on a video, and then revisiting those highlights every so often. Synthesis and spaced repetition are keys to making ideas stick. This habit is something I do already and I’ve used it to great success.

One new thing I want to try: externalize my notes into publishable text. This is a refinement of the synthesis that happens when we summarize and expand on ideas during the note taking process. This makes sure that the insights aren’t just nebulous sentences in my note taking app, but a clear idea that is readable by many people. This is good even if no one else actually reads the text. Sometimes hastily scribbled notes are hard to understand, months down the line!

Hence this blog. There are other advantages to writing — clarifying my opinions, getting my ideas scrutinized, and taking a snapshot of my views at a point in time. So this blog won’t just be for tutorials, but also for ideas and opinions I may form occasionally.