Unlocking Creativity: Embracing the Unknown and Using Notes Effectively


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 29, 2023

3 min read


Unlocking Creativity: Embracing the Unknown and Using Notes Effectively


In the world of creativity and expression, there is a common thread that connects artists, writers, and creators - the ability to embrace the unknown. As the Japanese philosopher Motohiro Mori once said, "To be an artist means to hold onto something that is unknown, even if you don't understand it." This enigmatic quality is what sets creators apart, allowing them to tap into the depths of their imagination and produce works that resonate with others.

Building Knowledge vs. Utilizing Knowledge:

However, simply possessing this abstract quality is not enough. It must be nurtured and transformed into something tangible. This is where the concept of note-taking comes into play. Many believe that taking notes is the key to building knowledge, but it is important to recognize that knowledge alone holds little value unless it is actively utilized. In the words of one writer, "The actual work happens when you start playing and tinkering with your notes."

Finding the Balance:

To truly harness the power of note-taking, it is essential to strike a balance between building knowledge and gaining experience through practice and play. Merely transcribing information without taking the time to understand and connect it to what we already know is a missed opportunity. Instead, we should actively engage with our notes, allowing them to spark new curiosities and questions. This process of actively thinking and playing with our notes not only strengthens our understanding but also reveals gaps in our knowledge that can be filled.

Creating a Space for Thought and Exploration:

To facilitate this process, it is crucial to have a designated space where we can think and muddle through our notes without judgment. This is where note-taking tools like Obsidian come into play. By utilizing features such as vague-notes and thinking-notes, we can explore ideas freely and make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. Vague-notes provide a platform for random thoughts and associations, while thinking-notes allow for focused thinking and shaping of ideas.

The Bottom-Up Approach:

One effective approach to note-taking is the bottom-up method. This involves starting with individual notes and gradually connecting them until clusters of related information emerge. By continuously taking notes and linking them, we can create a web of knowledge that allows for fluid exploration and organization. Additionally, the value of backlinks in note-taking apps like Obsidian, Roam, and Logseq should not be overlooked. While they may not be essential for organizing information, they can serve as a valuable source of inspiration.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the unknown: Cultivate a sense of curiosity and embrace abstract concepts that may not have clear explanations. This will fuel your creativity and allow for the exploration of uncharted territories.
  • 2. Actively engage with your notes: Instead of passively transcribing information, take the time to think, play, and connect ideas. This will deepen your understanding and uncover new insights.
  • 3. Find a note-taking system that works for you: Experiment with different tools and techniques, such as vague-notes and thinking-notes, to create a space for free thinking and exploration. Strive for a balance between building knowledge and gaining experience through practice.


In the realm of creativity, the ability to embrace the unknown and effectively utilize notes is essential. By combining the wisdom of embracing the unknown from Morihiro Mori and the insights on note-taking from various sources, we can unlock our creative potential. Remember to actively engage with your notes, find a balance between knowledge and experience, and create a space for thought and exploration. With these actionable pieces of advice, you can embark on a journey of self-expression and unlock the true power of your creativity.

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