TOP 4 : Notes and journaling methods for the writer

Being creative often means taking notes on flying papers, sticky notes, notebooks and getting lost in the volume. I was tired of the many papers crowding my desk and often losing track of what I wrote. So I searched the internet and found found tips to help me manage my notes, make the most of them in order to enrich my novel project.

These tips are meant to help you organize your notes. By no mean note taking should get in the way of your creative process, it should make it easier, always.

 All these techniques can be adapted to your need and practice, as long as it works for you, there’s no golden rule. I personally don’t do washi tape enhancement nor add inspirational quote but if it’s what you want or feel you need to do, go ahead !


Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_5Notes method :
This one is very simple and works following 3 steps.

1/ Write
What your hear, what interest you, details found while researching. This is the easy, free creative part

2/Revise,
You go back to your notes and assess them. What’s useful, what’s not, what can be improved. That’s were your circle, underline, cross off.

3/Highlight.
The notes remaining are your golden mine. They might very well end up in your writing project, hence they need to be singled out and highlighted.

In order to be able to do it, I only write on the right page of my notebook when I take notes. I’ll use the left one to highlight the details I am most interested in and maybe illustrate them with a small scene or a sketch.

Some might add copy your notes in a different notebook but I think this tends to come in the way of my creative process, so I don’t do it.

sketchnotesSketch notes : Sometimes, ideas need to be transcribed in a more visual form but doodling, pointing, charting and highlighting can become very unsettling when gives a try at sketch notes. I picked up 2 little videos that sum up all the tricks very well and show example of how to organize your notes as you take them.

I like sketch notes because they require a different mindset than the written ones which means they allow me to tackle a scene from different angle and chose which one I like the most after.

More details here and here.

High Five notebook : I use this method for my creative and inspiration notes.I allows me to jot them down as ideas come and still have an organisation system that’ll show me where the different topics are in my journal. It’s fast to learn and flexible. Perfect for novel brainstorming and free writing.

It’s ideal if you want your note taking organization to remain light and adaptable.

More details here.

bulletjournalBullet journal : This is helpful when it comes to organize the things you have to do . I use this system to manage the blog’s publication’s plan and spread the posts all over the week. I do enjoy the collection  page option that allows me to insert creative ideas, especially when it comes to brainstorm for TOP 4 ideas.

More details here and here.

Now, I’d like to hear about your note taking process.
Do you go to your favorite notebooks or jolt ideas straight on your computer ?  Do you have any note taking method at all ? Please feel free to join the conversation in the comments section.

11 réflexions sur “ TOP 4 : Notes and journaling methods for the writer ”

  1. I use the bullet method. I’m generally quite methodical in my thinking, so this is in keeping with how my mind works. For the most part, I finish what I start quickly because I have a deep loathing of feeling like some unfinished task is calling out to me. If i’m working on a more academic project, I do a relatively formal outline. I take all of my notes online so that I can easily move them around as my piece takes form.

  2. I just started bullet journaling in place of a traditional planner. I LOVE it.

    For creative pieces, I don’t usually plan beforehand. I figure it out on the way. However I do have a binder with notes, a notebook with notes, several others with scenes written in them, and an index card reference system for characters and places. Once even used a wiki program for that. I haven’t found a system I stick with since my real joy is writing scenes.

  3. I find this article even more interesting given that I absolutely never take notes for research (or do a outline ; I’m really on the gardener side of the writing scale).
    I am amazed at all the tricks and good idea people can find to help structure their ideas. 🙂

    1. Really ? This is so interesting? Do you even have an idea of the end of a story when you are writing ? I’m fascinated by gardener writers. Have you written an article about your creative process ? I’d love to read about it.

      1. Yeah, I tend to know the end of the story, but not always. That’s actually a very good idea for an article! I will definitely write it ; then, I will tell you. 😉

  4. I bought myself a fancy notebook and stationery so that all my notes are in one place! I also got myself a planner and write in it to plan my blog posts and weekly features! It has been helping me so far! 🙂
    I took notes on how to take good notes from this very informative read! Thank you for sharing!

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