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Zettelkasten Update: All in on Bear

At least for me, Ulysses is not the right home for prompts or ideas. Bear is.

December 08, 2018Filed under Blog#research#tools#writing#zettelkastenMarkdown source

Assumed Audience: people broadly interested in reading, writing, learning, and research systems.

I wrote earlier this week about adopting a Zettelkasten approach for research, and moving writing prompts and ideas from Bear into Ulysses as part of that. I’m already reversing course, though, and pushing ideas from Ulysses back over into Bear. (Don’t worry, this isn’t the typical “obsessing over tools instead of doing work” problem. It’s a change that flows out of doing the work.)

The reason is simple: Ulysses is fantastic for organizing writing projects. However, it has a pair of very important (for me) limitations for the ideation and research phase.

  • It does not support the kind of easy cross-linking between notes that Bear does. But I find that super handy for saying “these two might belong together in a post.”

  • While Ulysses does have keywords (which could in principle work as a kind of tagging system), there is no easy way to navigate around between them. This is even handier than cross-linking for noting that two ideas might go together.

What’s more, I realized this week that I actually find it quite useful to have my writing ideas in the same place as all my other notes, because it’s much easier to see the other things that might be useful for reference that way.

For the moment, then, my solution is: Ulysses for the actual content of writing projects (talks, essays, blog posts, etc.), but Bear for all the research (notes, quotes, links, etc.).

More on all of this as I work it out for myself!