Notebooks Anonymous

Moleskine Notebook - index

Photo credit here.

“Some things should happen on soft paper, not cold metal.” –Harper Lee

Hi, my name is Jennie and I like notebooks.  A lot.  I mean if we want to get personal or just plain confessional, I have college notes bound by course on a shelf in a closet.  It’s a sickness. What provokes one to do such a thing you may ask?  I’m unsure, but I do know that the lure of perfectly bound books with the right cover and design, and lines that are smaller than normal 59 cent spiral books of your grocery variety, provoke my hand to unconsciously grab said notebooks and buy.  And don’t get me started on how the right pen is just as important.  Walking into the BYU Bookstore is a virtual high for paper and pen fans alike.  Can I get a hear hear?

Maybe the somewhat troubling part is I have stacks of great notebooks but in the last few years have not taken the time to write on “soft paper” as much as I have intended even if  I’m a believer of its power. I was required to write a journal in college for a religion class and this was our grade – so, I did it.  And my scripture study changed and breathed and became alive.  It was as good as extinct prior, which further confirmed by nerd-like- allegiance to note taking.  Only now it was even shown to deepen my soul not only help remember interesting information.  Line upon line over the years added affirmation of this practice, and yet I stopped.  Catherine and I attended the Mormon Woman Project event where this study idea was discussed and I knew I had to get back at it! As I sat through this seminar I was reminded that the process of writing things down opens up a well and a willingness that enriches promptings and the self. The tiring monotony of the days get in the way and without practice and priority – the writing will stop, and my notebooks and enlightenment are sadly deserted.

It’s interesting how information you need to hear or read seem to cross your path and awareness in multiple ways.  Take note of this! I have articles, novels, and information piled around tugging at me to read and study. While I was reading Stop the BS by Shane Mac I instantly knew I needed to start practicing his note taking method he mentioned he adopted from Tim Ferriss.

Here’s the run down as outlined (I’m using his own words and explanation) by Shane Mac in his book Stop the BS:

1-      Buy a notebook. Then take a minute and number every page 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

2-      Take notes when you read anything – a book, a blog post that is worth remembering, a speech, or any other document.

3-      Use the notebook to create your own posts, products, designs, business plans, anything…really, anything.

4-      When you finish a page, take a moment and write key points on that page in the bottom right hand corner of the page (or somewhere that is easy to find).

5-      Go to the front cover and write what is on that page and place the page number next to it. Don’t worry about rewriting another line if you use more than one page for the same book or project as you can just add more page numbers next to that topic.

You are on your way to creating a notebook that will last forever and will have you remembering and creating in no time. If you index an entire book with all of the key points then you can do an entire book review a year from now in under 10 minutes. Before you continue this book, go buy a notebook…and index it.:)

I hope we can all become more aware of the information we have around us and use it for good.  And heck,  I guess that means we should go buy a new notebook! Happy studying.

 

About Jennie L

(Prose Board) is from Salt Lake. Teaching high school English has taught her many things, including how to sing the parts of speech, and break up hall fights, but perhaps most important, spending her days with words and writing continually reinforces their power. Give her a beach, some dark chocolate, friends and family and she'll be one happy girl.

15 thoughts on “Notebooks Anonymous

  1. My husband makes fun of me because anytime we are in Utah I have to go to the BYU bookstore and stock up on my favorite pens and highlighters that I haven’t been able to consistently find anywhere else.

  2. BYU bookstore has the best pen selection anywhere I have ever been.
    The rest of your post is wise too, but all I can think about is buying some pens.

  3. I looooove going shopping when all the back-to-school products are first set out. I want to own all the new notebooks, journals, pens, pencils, crayons, day planners…Luckily, even though my children are now buying for their children, I can still stock up for my students! There is just something about a brand new notebook that gives me a thrill.

  4. I love notebooks. Big ones, small ones, just as long as they’re cute. I do wish that the process of writing things down in my notebooks helped them stick in my brain better…

  5. Jennie, I absolutely adore this post. Thanks for the great tips and especially this line– “And my scripture study changed and breathed and became alive.”

    I sent Catherine’s articles to my son last month and he said exactly the same thing– taking notes transformed his scripture study. I KNOW I need to do this– thank you for the reminder.

    p.s. and I’m also a great fan of starting sentences with ‘and.’ :)

  6. I have a paper/notebook obcession that is generational!
    This is the very 1st suggestions on Notebooking that i have ever EVER found useful and started to do right away! – -thank you!

  7. Wonderful post! I love notebooks too. Have never been to BYU bookstore, but I’ve been enjoying shopping on the net for Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks (the latter comes pre-numbered), and enjoying the bliss that comes from a notebook with great paper under an ever increasing variety of great pens. I’d love to buy local, but it seems that some of the best range is found overseas – thinking of the Uniball Signo .38 range of retractable gel pens, which I can only get from Japan at the moment, for example.
    If you love carrying a few pens around with your latest notebook, be sure to check out the Quiver leather pen holder website. I have a couple of those, and love them.

  8. I just wanted to add my voice that I too am a college-ruled paper girl. And I too love the BYU Bookstore pen selection. I enjoyed the lovely notebook selection at Target this very night.

  9. Thank you for this post, really like those ideas about keeping notes of everything. I’m torn about paper and pen though- I type so much faster than I write, and cut and paste is a huge time saver. Add carpal tunnel to those factors and I’m not much of a pen to paper gal. I do have a notebook in my purse for emergency situations when I can’t type my thoughts. All together this means my thoughts are strewn across blog posts, through comment sections, tweets, Facebook messages, email… You know how it goes. If I’m ever important enough for someone to research me in the future I wish them good luck. Any ideas on bringing it all together digitally?

  10. I have a confession to make. I very nearly did not even read this post. I’m so glad I did. I think it may have changed my life. (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but still.) I really liked the ideas for note taking but decided it probably wouldn’t work for me–I keep a full sized journal every few days and I have one of those 5 yr books (an idea I picked up on Segullah, by the way) that I write in every day, as well as my digital trail (sent emails that I cull and compile every month or two) so I didn’t think adding another source of record keeping would work for me. Until I had a great thought on the way to church. Then a few more during the sacrament (which I jotted down on a scrap of paper.) Then I noticed the really cute hair cut of a gal in my ward and asked who cut it and then came home and looked at Jendoop’s latest blog post (here AND on her personal blog) and all of a sudden I realized just how valuable a small, purse sized little bound notebook like this could be for me. I would LOVE to have a record of these little “stream of consciousness” moments. THANK YOU! for posting about this great idea!

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