I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. Here in the Bay Area we’ve had a bout of wildfires with a number of areas being evacuated. Thankfully, the fires are far away from where I am, but the sky is filled with smoke. It’s pretty gloomy out there.
I’m keeping those affected in my thoughts, as well as the firefighters who are doing incredible work keeping the fires at bay. Here’s an aerial view of a ‘Super Scooper’ plane scooping water and dousing fires. Truly incredible.
🌱 Digital Garden: notes.salman.io
A while ago I launched notes.salman.io to host notes, ideas and resources as part of a digital garden experiment. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, check out my note on digital gardens. Since launching it, I’ve struggled to find the energy to add new notes to the garden. Writing essays, newsletters and being prolific on Twitter is already quite a handful in terms of output. That said, I realized there are a couple of compelling use cases where a digital garden can help me leverage my existing work even more:
Newsletter Notes: I often share ideas as short sections in this newsletter. I want to reference them later (e.g. in a tweet), but I can’t link to specific sections in the newsletter. The best I can do is link to the newsletter itself, which is less than ideal. It’s also rare for folks to pro-actively navigate through Substack newsletter archives. As such, most of the content in my newsletters effectively becomes invisible. There’s an opportunity to better leverage these ideas over the long term. That’s where the digital garden can be helpful. I can publish a quick note for an idea that really resonates, and then easily reference it with a direct link.
Sharing Process: Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my writing process. So far I’ve been posting bits and pieces on Twitter, but I think my digital garden could be a great place to share in a more structured manner. As a first step, I went through my notes to find all the writing workflows and tips I’ve shared thus far. Honestly I think there might be enough there for a short eBook! Not sure if that’s what I’ll end up doing with them, but for now I’ll start with a few notes. I suspect there’ll be other workflows and guides on my process that I can share this way.
On that note (ha!), here are some notes I just published:
Writing Guide: This is a top-level note in which I’m going to iteratively add more writing guides and workflows. I mostly put stuff there in response to questions from readers, so let me know what you’re most curious about and I might add a note for it!
Flip the Script: I shared some ideas in my last newsletter about rethinking the definition of success, and taking control of how we measure our work rather than leaving it up to the platforms. Since then, I held a group call to discuss the idea more, and spent some time turning my thoughts into a more comprehensive note. The high-level takeaway is that I am going to start journaling to track the key ‘events’ that matter to me most. As I started to see patterns among them, I can become more structured with the format.
Peeling the Onion: This note was inspired by a thought I shared in the past: “I’ve come to believe that a big part of why we publish is to make room for what comes next. The more I think about this, the more I wonder if what I’m writing now is just the ‘surface level’. If every essay I write removes another layer of the onion, then what lies beneath?” A reader had shared it with me this week, noting it helped unblock them. I was really glad my words resonated, and it also gave me a chance to review and publish them as a stand-alone note.
I did some more animating this week! Had a lot of fun with this one 😁 Growing up playing Super Mario World, one of my favorite moments in the game was when Big Boo would come chasing Mario with a menacing look. The second Mario turned around to face him, he’d get all embarrassed and cover his eyes. Too cute! I really love Boo — he was my character of choice when playing Mario Tennis with my brother. My signature curving serve with Boo was unreturnable! My brother has publicly confirmed this fact.
🦜 Voices of Birds
I loved this soundscape from Emergence magazine diving into the world of birds. It’s a pleasant journey filled with beautiful birdsong and fascinating insights from David Haskell on the language hidden within birdsong.
As I listened to it, I was immediately reminded of the Koyal’s birdsong. It holds a very special place in my heart — whenever I hear it I’m immediately taken back to my days hanging out in my parents’ backyard in Hyderabad, India.
It always amazes me how a sound or smell can instantly transport you back to a very specific time and place. These ‘sensation memories’ feel like time travel machines that lie dormant in our minds. We never know when we’ll step on a button that activates them, immersing us into a memory we forgot we had.
How many moments from our past are hiding in our future?
Loved this stunning capture of a whale by Christopher Michel:
I’ll leave you with this quote from Nick Sousanis:
Until next time,