I read a very interesting article recently, Why Digital Note-taking will Never Replace the Physical Journal. It caused me to reexamine my own note-taking practice. Until I was a student at The University of Victoria, I was always a long-hand note taker. While at university, some instructors were giving so much information very quickly that I started taking notes on my laptop in class. I can type much faster than I can write with pen and paper, which is true for a lot of people in the computer age.

My audio-typing ability came when I was doing temporary secretarial work living in London, UK. I had one memorable job where I was the correspondence secretary for the Bishop of London. He would dictate his responses to written correspondence. I would come in in the morning to a small microcassette tape. I would plug in the tape and type as he spoke. That 3-month temp job in 2000 served me well in University 9 years later. But I digress.

Since university, I have resorted back to long-hand note taking. I have one, sometimes two, wire/coil bound notebooks per writing project. It helps me keep everything all in one place. I have two for my current novel project. When researching, my notebooks are the collecting points for observations during field trips, interviews, character development notes and plot ideas. From my notebooks, the information gets transferred to an outline, then to my actual writing project software.

My notebooks are haphazard scribblings, sometimes in my own version of shorthand, including taped or glued in articles and hand-drawn pictures from locations/images. I also take photographs as part of my research, but these usually stay on my computer or phone and don’t make it into my note-books. Frankly, I can’t be bothered printing them out unless they go onto my inspiration board.

I have used different sizes of notebooks and find two different sizes work the best for me. For interviews, I like the 22.8 x 15.2 cm and for general note taking from book research and writing down ideas and thoughts the larger 20.3 x 26.7 cm works best for me.

What this boils down to is this, I am still a long hand note taker ninety percent of the time.

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