Have you ever had that feeling when someone labels or gives you a name for a weird thing you think only you do? Normalizes it and maybe even makes it sound inspirational?

This is exactly what happened to me yesterday morning when I was walking our dog Riley while listening to Tiago Forte’s “Building A Second Brain”. I just stopped dead in my tracks as he was describing this concept— “The Archipelago of Ideas”. HOLY SH*T THIS IS HOW I WORK. HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS???

So what is the archipelago of Ideas? Forte learned this technique from author Steven Johnson: rather than staring at a blank page, just fill it with quotes, links to papers, your own notes— lots of inspiring islands of disparate thoughts. Now instead of having to conjure up words from the ether, you can just build bridges between these ideas until you converge on the ones you want to write about.

In school, I hated having to turn in outlines or rough drafts. I was terrified of group projects where I had to share in-progress writing or group coding assignments because my work was a jumbled mess. Instead of linearly writing the intro, thesis, evidence, and conclusion, I’d just paste a bunch of interesting quotes, write a sentence here, a sentence there. The first sentence I wrote might end up being the 4th sentence for the concluding paragraph.

The same went for coding— I’d see people perfectly decompose functions, write this function signature, write this helper function, then that one in an order that made sense. I’d write a random regex here or a piece of logic not in a function there just hanging out on its own with squiggly lines.

Eventually as an adult, I just accepted that my brain worked in weird ways, and that that was okay. But it’s more than okay—I was freaking building an archipelago in the order that made sense in my head, and then building the bridges to connect them later. I’m not a random scribbler or copy/paster and scatterbrain.

I’m a motherf*cking ARCHIPELAGO ARCHITECT. So that’s the concept: an archipelago of ideas. However you work, it’s not weird, I promise. There’s a million ways to work— come get inspired or maybe find the words to describe how you already work, in Flow Club.