N … is for notes

N[1] is for notes, notebooks, note taking, and note making. Some of us might prize our imagination, but how good is our … what is that thing … oh yes, our memory.

In my opinion, if you’re a writer it doesn’t matter how good your memory is; you should be taking and making notes.

Is there a difference between taking notes and making notes?

Yes, and I’ll clarify it as best I can before moving on. I know how it might be a distraction when reading this post, and you won’t want to be distracted from reading such an important article. LOL

Taking notes is the way we describe the activity of recording information at a lesson, or seminar; as I did when attending the ‘Self-Publishing Conference’ recently. I have several pages of notes, with headings, sub-headings and bullet points from all four seminars I attended.

Making notes is how I would refer to my everyday activities with my notebook and pen at work, or when out and about with my trusty Moleskine 

If making notes and referring to a publication of any description it is imperative to use quotation marks when extracting a specific phrase.

It doesn’t matter what the book or magazine might be, it’s always advisable to use the simple addition of quotation marks if you have any intention of using it at a later date. If you later use the quote, give credit to the original author and avoid accusations of plagiarism.

There are several trains of thought on this topic, so rather than explore all of them here, I will once again write about what I know; my own methods.

Since stepping down from my management role over a year ago, I still carry a notebook when in my retail assistant role. It’s not a requirement, but I’ve carried one for years. The difference now is, that instead of being for work, it is mainly for when an idea comes to mind.

I only work three days a week in retail, so whenever I’m out and about on the other days, I carry a pocket-sized Moleskine notebook. I might find myself making a note of a person’s description, a phrase I’ve overheard, or the description of a location I’m in.

My favourite notes are those made when I’m enjoying a tea or coffee while out. It doesn’t matter if I’m taking a break from a shopping trip, or I’m on holiday; my notebook is used often. Sometimes I might write down title ideas for a short story I’m working on, or possible character names. A favourite habit is to write a passage for my current project.

Somehow, sitting in a restaurant, or small café lends itself to writing a scene, or a few lines of dialogue. In the last two years the habit has served me well. When other couples or individuals sit with their coffee in front of them, they pull out their phone to check emails, or social networks. I pull out my Moleskine and write for a while.

I might be with my wife on a day out, or even on my own, but I’m comfortable with the idea in either case. My wife isn’t bothered, because she is one of the smartphone brigade. As soon as the coffee cups are on the table; she’s surfing for the Wi-Fi signal. My notebook and pen come out; and for a while we get on with our own thing.

I’ve never got into the habit of the notebook on the bedside table, probably because I wouldn’t stop at a few words.

How do you deal with the idea of notes?

Please feel free to share in your comment. You know you want to …

I’ve got a blog patrol to be getting on with, and then I’ll be working on my ‘O’ post for tomorrow.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing your views.


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