Skip to content

🌲 Using Obsidian For Writing Fiction & Notes

A roundup of resources for using the markdown-based notetaking app Obsidian.md to write fiction and manage worldbuilding-related notes.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

I teach (& research) about historical civilizations, then write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history... which involves a fair amount of notetaking ;)

2 min read.

I use Obsidian for writing and managing hobbyist research, but it’s popular with academics (it has integrations with reference managers and spaced repetition tools) and people interested in personal knowledge management. I do my best to answer questions from different people about how they can use Obsidian, but my area of expertise is using Obsidian for writing.

💚
If you want personalized help with something related to optimizing Obsidian workflows, book a consultation!

This article attempts to collect some of the resources I've created to help people to do that.

First, here’s a twitter thread I wrote about how obsidian really is the only tool that has ever worked for me as an author, and is the reason I now publish my fiction for a paying audience (there are free samples, of course).

I covered my project management workflow with a ton of examples and links as an Obsidian Community Talk:

I’ve also written about my process, involving increasingly atomic folders, on the obsidian forums. Awhile back, I was interviewed about how I use obsidian for writing fiction, and some of the insights should still be useful, although the plugin landscape has changed a lot since then.

The plugin I mention here, that I use to get short fiction writing prompts, is Obsidian Shuffle.

Nick Milo of Linking Your Thinking has an interview with a longtime authors with many published works  who use Obsidian, which might be useful if you enjoyed that video:

Nick also interviewed me about the non-fiction side of my workflow, namely how I process nonfiction books and articles and integrate what I learn into my notes so that I can use the information to create articles and round out my worldbuilding. You can view it here:

(If you enjoyed this live notetaking session, you might also enjoy Andy Matuschak’s version. He does things a little differently than I do structurally, but there’s a lot of value in comparison, I think!

A later interview covers how I integrate the academic research tools  into my system in order to process source material and get all my notes into one place:

As a follow-up to this, based on a couple of emails I got asking me to elaborate on a couple of details that got mentioned in passing during the video, I thought it might be useful to link to my template for daily notes and the CSS Snippets I use for Obsidian. For a long time, the theme that best supporte my workflow was Sanctum, but after getting an iPad I switched to Minimal.  My snippets for the dataview plugin are also available on the Obsidian forums and github.

I also publicly shared my vault with most of my notes, and you get access to a .zip download of most of my plugins and stories & such as bonus materials if you buy my stories. There are more details over on my launch announcement. I also did a Q&A to showcase how I create the stories and articles that appear on my other newsletter, the Iceberg.

Sometime later, I showcased how I handle quick capture and notes where I'm focused on a research question rather than a source:

Note: There are a couple of affiliate links & codes scattered around, but these always come from links I was already recommending and usually I share them because they benefit you too (i.e. getting you extra time on trials).