When someone says take a note, what image comes to mind? For me, it’s of either a physical or digital means of writing down words. Artists make notes too, but not always with words. At times they’ll make visual notes. They’ll draw a sketch, make a study, or do a quick painting in preparation for another.
Musicians make notes, but not always lyrically. It may be an audio note of a melody, or the chords and notes used for the melody. Some songwriters and musicians will record audibly the entire song before every writing down a word.
Sculptors and architects both may make a physical model of a larger piece. This is true of almost every field of study. How do you make notes? Do you make them? If not, may I ask why? I said to someone recently, if you are going to pursue a life of writing, as opposed to writing one book, don’t discard any idea.
I would suggest this, not only for writers, but for everyone. Obviously you can’t take notes on everything, but I suspect you can make note of more than you might think. Perhaps you make notes and don’t even realize it.
Some can make mental notes, and remember them. While I do this when I don’t have another option, I prefer to make some tangible note that I can return to later. Even if it’s only a handful of words, I prefer to have something to trigger my memory.
A builder will tell you, blocks are never scattered. They are stored together in some type of order. Ordered blocks allow builders to access quickly, and build efficiently. If ideas are building blocks, I believe notes are the storage area for them . If you are a given a thousand blocks, and lose them, you’ve built nothing.
If you have time to create anything, and have to spend part of that time organizing your thoughts, you have less time. It’s not that organizing your thoughts isn’t time well spent, but if you keep your thoughts in some order, then it’s time earned. I make the time to take notes to save my time.
This is true whether textually, visually, or audibly. As long as there is some order to it, a system of notes is beneficial. My system may not work for you, but if we both have a system that works, this is all that matters.
I do believe there are methods we can take to improve our systems, but it’s easier to improve what is already in place. I will be the first to admit that I’m sure my system could be improved upon. As an example, for all the notes and books that I’ve written, I have never been a successful journal taker.
I have friends who were able to do this, and who have been able to write because of their journaling system. It’s an area I need work in, but that’s only the more reason for me to have a notes system. So whether you journal, jot, or hit record I would suggest you take notes, you’ll be glad you did.