# Write about what you read
Understanding requires elaboration, therefore if you want to understand what you read, you'll have to elaborate. Writing is one good way to elaborate what you read. Writing about what you read may sound like a lot of work, but if you don't deliberately elaborate, the time that you have dedicated for reading is also going to be wasted. You have to think about writing about what you read as a process to close the loop of your learning. If that's not enough, double the benefit of your writing by organising them well so that your note-writing is not going to be wasted (for example by adopting a method like Zettelkasten).
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 86).
We have to choose between feeling smarter or becoming smarter. And while writing down an idea feels like a detour, extra time spent, not writing it down is the real waste of time, as it renders most of what we read as ineffectual.
- Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes
- Zettels should capture an atomic concept
- The core intention of practicing Zettelkasten is so that you can connect and build on top of other concepts, generating insights. To make this happen, naturally, every notes that you write should be oriented around a concept. Capturing notes by concept will also force you to elaborate what you have read (Write about what you read).
- The number of zettels written per day is a better lead measure for learning
- When you Write about what you read, you'll force yourself to get a better understanding about what you're learning. Writing your zettels therefore is a better lead measure for your learning. Once you do this, you'll soon realise that you can only write so much in a day because the process of elaboration requires effort. You should also put a brake to what you consume, knowing that the process of elaboration is the only way to close your learning loop.