Take Note

Note taking. Something I am pretty useless at. Something that, even when I do actually do it, when I re-read at a later time, I forget what it was I was doing or thinking.



Writers are always encouraged to keep a notebook, and not only that, but use it.

I am going to go to grass roots. I want to take note. I want to note 3 things a day for a week.

I did an exercise in a Teach Yourself book recently. The exercise asked me to describe a classroom from my childhood, the best that I could. I dutifully did so, describing the classroom that I was in when my mother pulled me out after my dad went missing. My description was based on things I saw. There were no sounds, no smells, no touch. I didn't describe the teacher, or the carpet. I described where the table was in relation to the blackboard, the teachers desk and the reading corner. I described how the desk that I occupied was right next to the door and there was a window behind me. I described the colour of the bookcase, and if I really thought, I could count the number of desks in the room. Now, I wouldn't be able to tell you how big the room was, because as we all know, everything is so much bigger when you are young. But it wasn't a cramped room.

What this taught me is that I am visual. This doesn't surprise me, and it highlighted where things are going wrong in my writing. The book explained that each of us prefer to perceive the world in one way above all others. For you, you might describe the sounds of the classroom, or how you felt. Feel free, describe a classroom from your childhood, see what it says about you!

Anyway, this means I need to work on the other senses. I need to hear more, smell more, taste more. What does the sun on my face really feel like? How do I really feel when I smell soup (Sick! Long story for another time)? And what do I really hear when standing in the middle of the tracks?

My goal is to write down 3 things I notice each and every day. And to push myself further, I want to add to the experience in the notebook. I want to capture it in such a way that when I read through my notes, I am transported back to the moment that I noticed it.

It might be a tall order for me. But I want to enrich my writing, and my life. To take note of things around me, I have to slow down. I have to literally stop, and maybe smell the roses. I have to take a moment to feel how I am moved inside, what emotion is bubbling away. And when I can create that, I can catalogue enough to draw upon when my stories are feeling flat.

Do you take note? Have I highlighted an issue you want to rectify? Or are you great at note-taking, and have some wisdom to pass on? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Comments

  1. Hi Ingrid, Yes, I do take note.
    I'm an emotional person, so I can tell you how everyone is feeling but couldn't tell you what they were sitting on, or what colour the walls were.
    I like you '3 things' idea, I like nothing more than looking back through old notebooks, and find inspiration within their pages.

    If I go to an art gallery I will taker copious notes for my blog, but usually only end up using a quarter of what I write, however I like doing it and it reinforces what I am learning/doing at the time.

    I have done a very similar exercise to the one you mention, but it was set in a cafe.

    Have a good week.

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