Building a Zettelkasten for Creative Expression: Cohort 3

Everything you need to build, maintain, and create with your zettelkasten


︎Tuesdays: 2/28, 3/7, 3/14. 3/21 
︎11am–1pm EST (NYC)
︎Recordings available for one month after course close

︎Thursdays: 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23
︎11am–12pm EST (NYC)

︎Not recorded

︎ $600

Create a flourishing and dynamic, linked-thought system that will continue to grow for years to come and provide you with an endless stream of written material.

Building a Zettelkasten for Writing is a 4-week course on how to build out, implement, and use a zettelkasten for writing. There will be two sessions per week: one 1.5–2 hour didactic session (lecture with Q&A) and one 1-hour “Q&A” session where students can ask questions, get feedback, and prolem-solve.

What You Will Learn

Students will come away from this course with:

  • The skills to create their own zettelkasten
  • Knowledge on how to turn their zettelkasten into a “writing machine”
  • A comprehensive understanding of everything associated with zettelkasten: note types, terminology, theory, and practices
  • A workflow to continuously generate new content
  • Familiarity with the major written sources on zettelkasten

Who will most benefit from this course?

  • Students who have a familiarity with either Obsidian, Roam, Notion, or any other comparable digital or physical platform / system
  • Students who have at least a general sense of what they write about or would like to write about
  • Students who are comfortable asking questions and getting feedback

This course will not be:

  • An in-depth look at how to use specific digital platforms. (Students must come with either a digital or analog platform they’re familiar with and would like to use)
  • An editorial session
  • A writing workshop

Bonuses for Cohort 3

More focus on writing
Writers have specific use cases for notes and particular bottlenecks. Cohort 3 will be oriented entirely toward writing and writers. 

More detailed demos
Seeing the zettelkasten in action is one of the most significant “a-ha” moments students can have. I’ll be showing how I do the things I teach.

Updated resources list
There’s a lot (like, really, a lot) of confusing, misleading, and inaccurate information online. This course comes with a pared down list of the clearest, most useful, insightful, and consistent zettelkasten content online.

New personal insights
I am constantly writing about zettelkasten, talking with note makers about zettelkasten, and researching the everything that’s out there on zettelkasten. Whatever I come across that’s new and exciting will find its way into the course. 

Invitation to join the "Zettel Sunrise" Discord server
After the course you’ll have an opportunity to join an intimate community of active zettelkasten note makers. Get feedback on your notes, share what projects you’re working on, talk shop on all things PKM, and meet and hang and discuss your interests. We’re actively creating a thoughtful and welcoming zettelkasten community online. No matter the platform you use, whether digital or analog. You are welcome. Psyched you’ll be a part of it!

Course Outline

Capturing Fleeting and Reference Notes

In Week 1, students will be brought up to speed on the major tenets of the zettelkasten method to writing, including both the history and the terminology associated with the practice.

You will learn:

  • The recent history of the modern zettelkasten
  • How Niklas Luhmann set up his zettelkasten
  • The main components of the zettelkasten (“a container comprised of multiple compartments”)
  • How to capture content
  • How to set up and layout reference (literature) notes
  • How to determine what content might be relevant to you
  • Where to store your different notes
  • When to circumvent the zettelkasten and just get writing!

⭐️ Week 1 Open Q&A Topic: Answering any questions you have on fleeting and literature/reference notes

Creating Main Notes

During Week 2, we will do a deep dive into the most common and frequently misunderstood notes in the zettelkasten: The Permanent Note.

You will learn:

  • How the main notes in your zettelkasten are the seeds for longer works
  • How to turn fleeting and reference notes into main zettels
  • How to break down and repurpose your longer work into zettels
  • What goes into making useful, "sticky," highly linkable zettels
  • How to design and layout zettels that will be a joy to engage with
  • How and why we create atomic notes
  • How to turn a long note into two or more atomic notes
  • The power of titles
  • How pre-distilled, atomic notes lead to endless writing projects (AKA never have writer’s block again)

⭐️ Week 2 Open Q&A Topic: All things “main notes,” as well as any remaining question from week 1

Linking Your Ideas

The zettelkasten is a note-making and note-linking system, the primary function of which is to help people link ideas and enhance their creative output. This week will be all about those links!

You will learn:

  • How linking directly contributes to writing longer works
  • The importance of contextual linking
  • How to create strong, inspiring, unforeseen, and, most importantly, useful links between ideas
  • The relationship between atomicity and linking
  • How to create structure notes to help you organize your ideas
  • How to follow links to create both long- and short-form written works
  • How to establish links so your future self will never be lost
  • How both folgezettel and structure notes help locate our ideas

⭐️ Week 3 Open Q&A Topic: How strong are your links? Plus, questions from weeks 1 and 2

Creating Content

Niklas Luhmann developed his zettelkasten for the expressed purpose of helping him make connections and write more. In Week 4, we will look at how this dynamic, linked system of ideas becomes a “writing machine.”

You will learn:

  • How to outline short works based on your zettels
  • How to structure longer projects using your zettelkasten
  • How to repurpose published (shipped) content for new content
  • How to recognize bad practices in your zettelkasten workflow
  • How the entire zettelkasten method leads to producing content

⭐️ Week 4 Open Q&A Topic: Final questions and giving you as much of my personal writing knowledge as I can!

  • LIVE LECTURES: Tuesdays: 2/28, 3/7, 3/14. 3/21 from 11am–1pm EST
  • LIVE OPEN STUDIO: Thursdays: 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23 from 11am–12pm EST

  • WHERE: Via Zoom.
  • FEE: $600
  • REGISTRATION: Within 48 hours of registering, you will receive a welcome email with more instructions and how to prepare. A week before the class begins, you will recieve the Zoom link.

PLEASE NOTE: This course will be limited to 30 people. Tuesday lecture sessions will be recorded. Recordings will be available for review up to one month after the last session, at which point recordings will be removed. Thursday “Open Studio” sessions *will not be recorded.*

[[CLICK]] to save your spot!

A note on refunds:
Refunds are available up to end of day of the first session (2/28, 11:59pm ET). After that, there are no refunds. The recorded sessions will be available for everyone for up to one month after the last session.


For over twenty years Bob Doto has been teaching and mentoring people on how to live an intentional, inspired life. Starting in 2001 as a writing tutor at Naropa University, Bob has since taught in settings as diverse as punk warehouses, high schools, living rooms, online Zoom rooms, at the college level, and most recently as a mentor for Tiago Forte’s international online course, “Building a Second Brain.” 

Bob first became aware of workflows and flexible systems for life management after reading Getting Things Done in 2013 when he decided to regrout his bathroom. Since completing that labor-intensive task, he has been exploring ways to utilize the techniques of productivity and PKM to enhance both his writing and spiritual practice.

Bob is also a prolific, published author, publishing his first spiritual punk rock zine at the age of sixteen. He regularly publishes pieces on the ins and outs of zettelkasten, and is a prominent figure in the online zettelkasten community. He is the author of the book Sitting with Spirits: Exploring the Unseen Margins of the Christianity and writes the weekly newsletter, “The High Pony: ‘Really Good’ Insights on Living an Inspired Life.” In general, Bob spends upwards of fifty hours a week writing. 

Between 2005–2010 Bob was the Managing Editor of internationally acclaimed journal of esoteric studies, Parabola magazine. He was a founding member of renegade yoga blog, The Babarazzi, and between 2011–2015 wrote on the margins of spirituality in NYC on his blog Not New York. Throughout that time, Bob has published dozens of zines, tracts, and booklets under many given and assumed names. 😉  

Bob is the owner and director of the Ditmas Park Yoga Society in Brooklyn, where he teaches and practices Ashtanga yoga and Tui Na bodywork, and is a faculty member at the Pacific College of Health and Science in Manhattan. His books Press Here: Acupressure for Beginners and The Power of Stretching are available from Quarto Press. His most recent writing can be found at Everything else can be found here.