During my later high school and earlier college days, I became an obsessive note taker. At times, I found these notes helped me to write essay assignments. Note taking also helped me do better at remembering material for tests. But, nearly a decade out of school, I finally thought to myself that I don’t take nearly enough notes anymore.
As a writer, taking notes creates valuable raw material you can work from to start a variety of projects. But, should you just take note of everything? When is it just too much or no longer valuable to take notes? Let’s discuss the finer points of note taking methods and strategies.
Is it Possible to Take Too Many Notes?
This is sort of a tough question. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. What you take note of now may seem trivial later, but the opposite can be true, too. My general thinking with taking notes is to write down what seems noteworthy. This is going to be different for everyone.
If you’re truly interested in a topic, though, you can’t really take too many notes, can you? I’ve found I haven’t taken enough notes at times. But, as I find that my notes become extremely disorganized, I’ve found that I really needed to create a system for taking notes.
Should I Have a Notebook for Every Topic?
So, what’s a good method for organizing notes? Having dedicated notebooks for each topic seems like a good note taking strategy. Of course, there is such a thing as too many notebooks… or is there?
Then again, digital notetaking has made organization a lot easier. You can have a nearly infinite amount of digital notebooks without wasting lots of paper. But, for things that you write about all the time, you may want to have a little hard copy notebook. Whatever your fields of interest might be, you’ll want something physical that you can carry around with you.
Obviously, you can only carry around so much. But, having two or three small notebooks with you at all times allows you to take notes on your favorite topics at any time. If there’s a purpose to each notebook, you’ll find your notes becoming more organized. Also, because you’re training your mind to write more things down, you’ll have more organized thoughts, too. For that reason, it’s a solid note taking method.
What About Random Thoughts That Don’t Fit My Usual Topics?
This is when a smartphone comes in handy. You can use note taking apps like Evernote, Google Keep, or even just Google Docs to take down notes that don’t fit in your usual notebooks. You can even email yourself or put notes in texts to yourself.
Whatever you find a quick and easy way to save something, use that, and be consistent. Then, every so often, weed through and pick out what’s useful and save them in a more easy-to-find way.
I’ve actually found that most thoughts I discount at random aren’t as random as they first seem. Your mind is always making connections, even if you aren’t aware of it. Don’t discount them. The more you acknowledge your thoughts, the more that you’ll come to better understand the inner workings of your own mind.
Whether you’re a professional writer or just someone who likes to scribble for amusement, note taking is a great way to get not only your writing organized, but your brain, too!
~ Amelia <3