22-12-2022 - Aegis #1 Characters 25-12-2022 - Happy holidays & week review

Remember what you read

23-12-2022 - 1 year ago - 2m 56s
Alas, no big writing progress today. I've not made it through Dawn of Revolution in full yet. Hopefully by tomorrow I will.
I spent most of my time with reading, the good procrastination. Yesterday, I finished my reread of The Bands of Mourning - Book 6 in the Mistborn Saga from Brandon Sanderson and I instantly started rereading Secret History - Book 3.5 (and also 6.5) also Mistborn, hoping to finish this today. Whoops.
With the release of the last book last month, The Lost Metal, I had to get a refresh on the previous books. I read both these books in 2016 when they were originally released, but I find it astonishing how much I had forgotten about them. I'm not sure if this is only me, but I forget a lot about books I've read some time ago. It's kind of weird how you can forget something you invested 10, 20 or sometimes even 30 hours in, and only remember a few scenes or characters. While some movies taking 1.5-2 hours, stay way clearer in your mind.

Taking notes

This isn't the first time I had this with a book series, but I'm working on it being the last. Since my reread of Robert Jordan's - The Eye of the World - The Wheel of Time: book 1, I knew I had to do something different for a 14 book series, since I had already forgotten mostly everything from my first read in 2018. Like every normal person does, I googled methods to remember more of what you read, and run into this video from Ali Abdaal. In short, he talks about how you can take good notes on your books, and make summaries for yourself.
My first thought after the video was, "Damn, that's a lot of work". But what got me going was the fact I was already using Notion, which is free, for some RPG related notes. So I tried it. I made a page and started making small notes after each chapter I read, splitting it up by chapter, with this for a result. It cost about 2-5 minutes extra per chapter to write, and I try to focus on writing down the gist for me, what stuck.
Not to sound too cringy, but that video changed the way I read. About 1.5 years later, from when I read that book, I still remember more of it by the top of my head, just because of the notes I made alone. Rereading the notes is about half an hour tops, for a book of 300K words, which would normally take about 20 hours to read. And when I reread these notes today, I'm fully back in the game.
Over the past 1.5 years since that first experience, I've been trying to do it for more books, mostly those from a bigger series or non-fiction books, and it helps a lot to remember those.

"So why not just read a summary in general instead of doing it yourself? Why even read the book at all?" I tried this shortcut, multiple times, from sites like Blinkist, StoryShots, random google summaries,… Doesn't work. They can be a good refresher, but it also depends on the person writing them. You're reading what they took out of it, not what you noticed.
By writing these yourself, you note down what stuck for you. A piece of dialog, something funny, a relatable situation, a memory that triggered for you,.. You give it your own fingerprint.

With a bit of extra effort and organization, you can improve your reading experience a ton by creating notes.
First, to remember what you read longer. The memory sticks better because you spin it in your own words and thoughts, reinforcing what you just read, even if it's only fiction.
Second, to make it easier to refresh. By activating the same triggers that activated during the original read, you re-immerse yourself in the what you read and instantly receive the takeaways you had.
Where you make these notes, doesn't matter at all. They can be on paper, any note-taking app… You just have to be able to retrieve it somewhere. Notion works great for me because it works on all my devices.

Another brilliant method which uses and expands a lot on this is Tiago Forte's - Building a Second Brain… Which I noted down here. I actually built this method in my Notion workspace. Want to learn more about that? Let me know!

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