EMAIL NUMBER 32
Actually, Let's Hold Off For Now…
Scott P. Scheper
Downtown San Diego, CA
Thursday 1:27 p.m.
This past Friday and Saturday I conducted a top-secret 1-on-1 "Writing Machine Bootcamp" in my offices here in downtown San Diego.
This was a one-off thing. This isn't something I'll be doing regularly. I crammed a lot of material into this person's mind in two days.
I decided to hold this bootcamp for several reasons.
First, the person who I held it with is a fellow Antinetter who lives in San Diego. He's a political science student at the University of Chicago and is home for the summer. Therefore, logistically it would be easy for him to have an in-person bootcamp at my office.
Second, I knew that my process would help this individual tremendously. His goal centers on writing papers about political theory and power structures in hopes of being published in academic journals.
Third, I wanted to see if I could teach the end-to-end process of becoming a writing machine using an Antinet in two days.
The agenda of the bootcamp centered on building a knowledge machine, learning the knowledge development process, and producing a piece of deep, well-referenced work. In brief, to become a writing machine in two days.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: With Personal Knowledge Management and Zettelkasten, the goal isn't to make you a professional notetaker. The goal is to transform you into a writing machine (and in doing so, you'll become a better learning machine).
In two days, starting at 10:00am and ending at 6:00pm each day, I took him through the process of what it takes to become a writing machine.
The easy part was building his Antinet. That part took less than an hour. I already teach how to build an Antinet free on YouTube. That's not where the magic is in this process.
The magic centers around the analog knowledge development process.
There are four critical phases involved in this process. You know a bit about this if you read the sample chapter I linked to in my last email (Chapter 12: Knowledge Development).
However, the most critical phase in the process of developing knowledge centers around the transition between bibcard to maincard.
The most important type of note in the Antinet is something called a "reflection note." These types of notes form the material for your creative output.
From around 3:00pm to 6:00pm on Friday, and from 10:00am to 3:30pm on Saturday, I conducted three knowledge dev sessions with this Antinetter. We would read for one hour, and then spend the next hour developing his observation notes (recorded on bibcards). I sat next to him and guided him through the process of writing every single maincard we created.
This process involves extracting the idea out of the author's context and into your own context.
This process is (by far) the most critical yet least-understood process in developing knowledge.
It's a process I simply cannot teach by way of YouTube videos. It's a process that I describe in my book, and it's something I detail as best I can. However, it's something that really is best taught 1-on-1. In fact, I think it can really only be taught 1-on-1. Being able to ask questions and get instant feedback from someone is critical.
During these two days, I taught this individual how to do this. In essence, I taught him how to think. It is essentially retraining your mind. It's pretty exciting stuff!
Anyway, over the course of just two days, I witnessed this individual transform. Starting around 4:00pm on Saturday, we had enough material to embark upon the final phase in becoming a writing machine: transforming maincard notes into a written draft.
In brief, we were in the writing phase of the journey. It may come as a surprise, but writing is perhaps the easiest part of knowledge development! In roughly an hour we had the very first draft of the paper done. It was several pages, packed with great ideas, and backed by footnotes referencing the source of these ideas.
When using an Antinet, writing after only a day of research is not recommended. It's best to have two or three months' worth of material (at least) before you start the writing process. The reason why centers on the evolution of your ideas. Your ideas evolve and transform over time (thanks in large part due to the Antinet's tree structure). Still, I was impressed with what this individual was able to churn out in such a small window of time.
Around 5:00pm on Saturday, during the final hour of the bootcamp, we had the first draft pretty much done. I turned to this individual and said, "Alright, we should write an introductory paragraph here."
He turned to me, and I could tell what he was going to say before he even said it. He said, "Actually, let's hold off for now, I need a break. My mind needs a rest!"
I couldn't blame him. I was tired, too! We had just finished two days of intense knowledge development. His mind was on fire because not only is this process challenging, he was learning it for the first time! He was being taught how to read differently and think differently.
Again, this process is something that is hard to teach by way of YouTube. Even teaching this in my book will be difficult.
This is why I love the idea of doing 1-on-1 coaching. In a mere two days I saw the lightbulb go on in this person's mind. I thought to myself, imagine if I were to have more time with this individual!
Anyway, what I'm getting at is that my Writing Machine bootcamp was a smash-hit success! And, I also learned something for the future. That is, I think extending the timeline is something that will prove helpful. With a longer timeline, I'll be able to help individuals really transform and experience the full magic of the Antinet. Plus, it would give me more time to teach the process involved in retraining one's mind and how to read. Plus more time means they'll they won't hit a point where their brain feels burnt out!
Note: I'm not talking about creating a longer bootcamp, but something else entirely.
I've developed something I think will serve as the ultimate way to help people transform their reading, their learning, and their writing process. Yet it goes way beyond this as well.
It's something top-secret and I'll only be sharing it with a handful of people for now, sorry!
In the meantime, I'd like to provide a few more updates.
First off, I'm moving tomorrow! That's right, I'm moving into a beautiful four-bedroom house about twenty minutes east of downtown San Diego. I'll be moving in with my lovely (and tolerant) fiancé, and my two-year-old daughter. The house is located in one of the few places left in San Diego where real estate isn't a complete rip-off. And, as the neo-intellectual exemplar that I am, I'll have you know that one of the rooms will be transformed into my own personal library and reading room. Heck. Yes.
Second, I edited another chapter of my book this week. It revolves around selection (that is, how to read selectively). I'll admit, I've been taking my foot off the gas with my book lately. I've been busy developing my top-secret project. Even still, the book is coming along nicely. It will be released before Elon Musk colonizes Mars (assuming he doesn't get thrown in jail).
Last, I've been tired as hell today. I didn't sleep too well last night for some reason. Maybe it was because I was thinking about the move, or maybe it's because I drank too much Chardonnay (yes, my drink of choice is that of a a real housewife). One thing I'd like to share with you is a practice I do when I'm tired: that practice is… knowledge development! That's right, knowledge development. I spend about an hour reading, and then the next hour developing knowledge. At the end of this exercise, my mind feels rejuvenated. I've essentially given my mind 'a workout'. Here's the result of my knowledge dev session this morning. I posted it on Twitter: Link.
This is something I'd love to do collaboratively (i.e., a 2-hour group workshop where we collectively do knowledge dev work). It could be done via video livestream (and muted) for the first half, and then after we can chat about what we developed. That way we'd learn from one another, and the process wouldn't feel so lonely. Perhaps this is just a small piece of what I've devised for my top-secret project!
Anyway, that's all for now.
Peace and love, and I'll talk to you next week.
And stay crispy, my friend.
Scott P. Scheper
"A Man Who Actually Admits to Drinking Chardonnay"
P.S. There's no P.S.
Thursday 3:19 p.m.