Writing and Reflecting in Obsidian — From Evernote

In Search of a Better Journal

This is part 2 of a series about how I write and reflect using Obsidian, an extensible digital note-taking interface with some surprising and unexpectedly useful features. This post reviews my history with journaling and digital note-taking tools, accounting for how I arrived at Obsidian from my first digital database, Evernote. I’ve been using Obsidian since 2021-02-06, and it has completely revolutionized my writing process. New posts every Wednesday until the series is complete.

How to Record Everything?

I haven’t always been so interested in writing everything down, but I have always had an interest in writing something down. When I was in college, I needed a notebook primarily to keep up with assignments and follow classroom discussions. (It was an entirely discussion-based curriculum, and the rules of decorum meant that if you didn’t have a way to keep track of what was said and what you wanted to say, you may never end up participating at all.) This was back when I was an aspiring musician as well, so I soon found myself relying on a pocket-sized Moleskine notebook I carried with me wherever I went so I could parse out song lyrics, doodle when I was bored in school, and write down assignment deadlines.

When I got an iPod Touch, sometime in 2008 or 2009, I installed Evernote, sold on the idea that I would be able to store—and recall—well, everything. That was the promise of the Information Age, wasn’t it? To leverage the awesome storage and computing power of technology to record and interpret data about our world in ways never before thought possible?

Classic Evernote, c. 2008
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