ANNA PENG

Luhmann’s Slip Box

Nikolas Luhmann was a German sociologist and thinker who created a system for himself so that he would never have to face a blank page ever again.

Never face a blank page ever again. What Luhmann did was systematically organize any thoughts and bits of insightful research onto cards, and then stored away in categories.

He wrote over 70 books and 400 academic articles from keeping tens of thousand bits of organized cards of thought and citations.

For us as creatives, most of us keep a sketchbook of notes and drawings and have trouble referring back to specific pieces we jotted down from the past. This is different from keeping a sketchbook, as keeping a sketchbook documents a linear process. 

When we are faced with a blank page, it’s easy to say that inspiration will strike and we will have a finished project in no time. Often times that’s not the case.

The slip box method offers one way to keep a massive, complex, organized sketchbook of your ideas, especially when they’re valuable but not useful to you right now.

This is all say that we never started from scratch. No matter where you are, you’ve certainly come across valid points and experiences that you can use towards your work.

Don’t let that blank page fool you into fear, retreat, or anxiety.

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