May 18th, 2007


photo credit: lorretine

How do you keep track of your notes, ideas, thoughts, and the like?

I’ve experimented with various methods of notetaking and thought tracking. I used to use a Palm Pilot. That didn’t last long, as I found the games to be a distraction. Then I switched to using my laptop. That didn’t last long, as I hated getting it out and turning it on just to write a four word reminder to myself. Then I tried my cell phone, but my phone sucks and won’t let me save notes or use texts to send to myself or save for later.

My current method is to find whatever scrap piece of paper is around to write on. This usually ends up being old receipts, business cards, or napkins. When I’m in church I always scribble all over the ward bulletin, taking notes as I listen and ponder throughout the day, think of things for later scripture study, and record personal inspiration and random thoughts.

I’m sick of having all my ideas, thoughts, and reminders be so scattered and temporary. So in pondering a solution to my situation, I decided to purchase a Moleskine notebook.

The story goes as follows:

Moleskine is the legendary notebook used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries, from Van Gogh tot Picasso, from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.

Originally produced by small French bookbinders who supplied the Parisian stationary shops frequented by the international anvant-garde, by the end of the twentieth century the Moleskine notebook was no longer available. In 1986, the last manufacturer of Moleskine, a family operation in Tours, closed its shutters forever.

In 1998, a small Milanese publisher brought Moleskine back again. As the self-effacing keeper of an extraordinary tradition, Moleskine once again began to travel the globe. To capture reality on the move, pin down details, impress upon paper unique aspects of experience: Moleskine is a reservoir of ideas and feelings, a battery that stores discoveries and perceptions, and whose energy can be tapped over time.

The legendary black notebook is once again being passed from one pocket to the next; with its various different page styles it accompanies the creative professions and the imagination of our time. The adventure of Moleskine continues, and its still-blank pages will tell the rest.

I bought the pocket-sized ruled notebook, which is a little larger than the pocket-size LDS hymnal. I already love it, and hope it does for me what other notetaking methods have not been able to do.

What do you use?

13 Responses to “Notetaking”

  1. The Silent Observer
    May 18, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    I like the weekly Franklin planner. Between each week are pages where notes can be taken –making sure they are always in one spot. I bought a $1.50 spiral binder to hold the pages/refills in, rather than spend $100 on a leather one. Works great.

  2. Yam
    May 19, 2007 at 12:36 am #

    I’ve been using the pocket-sized ruled Moleskines for about six years now… they work very well for me.

    For taking notes for writing projects, I prefer to use note cards, one per concept, because they can be rearranged easily into an outline. Moleskine also makes a pocket-sized memo card notebook; mine’s filled with 3×5 note cards, and both come to sacrament meeting each week.

  3. Naiah
    May 19, 2007 at 12:43 am #

    Being a girl, I have the luxury of carrying a purse–well it’s a totebag really, and I keep it pretty well stocked for notetaking, planning, etc. I have a journal that lives there–which is both my recount-my-day journal and random-note recording book. (I find sometimes that the notes are more indicative of my life than the narrative…)

    Then, I also have a folder for randomly-accumulated papers, and three pencil cases: one with my highlighters, one with pencils and pens, and one with scripture pencils. There are a couple of other subbags in there (one for hearing-aid stuff and headphones, and another for girlie stuff).

    Yes, I carry this bag everywhere. Surprisingly, it’s not heavy at all. Oh, and it’s wicked cute. (This is its little sister. Oh, and yes the folder, and the variuos cases are all in the same pattern. Love it!)

    Do please forgive my complete geekout here. Anyone attempts to snark this comment, (which they might because they seem to be oddly infatuated with Connor’s blog…) and I *will* vlog it. I make no attempt to deny my complete and utterly fetishistic regard for office supplies, tote bags, and organization schtuffe in general.

  4. Rickety
    May 19, 2007 at 6:08 am #

    I buy 3″ x 5″ Memo book ruled 60 sheets / pads from Walmart for just over a $1 for a 4 pack. A very small pen fits in my wallet. I use a pad for any thoughts that come to me, events announced in priesthood, items I have to remember while at work but I am away from my computer, goals for the day, etc. Later I transfer information to Google calendar, Google docs, my journals, or cross it out as I achieve a goal. The pad gets beat up fairly quickly so I process what is left in it, throw it away, and start on a new one.

  5. Travis
    May 19, 2007 at 6:21 am #

    I am not much of a note take. I usually find it to be a distraction from my other activities. However, I find that my palm based hand held usually works for me. My big problem is that I forget to back it up, and then something happens and I lose important stuff.

  6. mother
    May 21, 2007 at 12:56 pm #

    Naiah – that’s not a purse–it’s a SUITCASE.
    I was taught a great method by my dad — i write on my hand.
    It’s the original PALM!!
    But my hand will probably fall off soon . . . and it seems to gross out people when i write a simple reminder . . .

  7. Ben Crowder
    May 22, 2007 at 8:00 am #

    Moleskines are a notetaker’s heaven. I converted eight or nine months ago and I don’t think I could ever go back. 🙂

    That said, here’s my current setup. I have an el cheapo 89-cent pocket notebook for writing down references to thoughts or ideas I want to flesh out later, along with notes for journal entries. I also carry around an index card for important to-do items each day. (A post-it note would work equally well, I think.) Completing the front-pocket set is a Moleskine cahier, which is 64 pages and softcover, so it’s about the size of a passport (well, a little thicker) and works very nicely for writing.

    In addition to those, I usually have an unlined Moleskine for sketching/design, and my pocket-sized Moleskine planner, which I absolutely love. And I have a larger (can’t remember the size) lined Moleskine for my journal.

    I’ll admit that the Moleskines are so nice that I’ve found it hard to put non-permanent stuff in them — things I consider ephemeral and not really important — and so I’ve clung onto my note cards and cheap notebook, and so far it’s working pretty well. I also use a wiki for on-the-go storage.

  8. Richard K Miller
    May 29, 2007 at 7:53 pm #

    I also use a Moleskine, a gift I recently received. I also use my cell phone, which can access a WML app I wrote for taking notes. It’s just a simple form, but when I hit submit the note gets emailed to me and saved to a database. I have 4 years of notes saved this way. But I work and go to church in basements so I have to have the Moleskine for when I don’t have cell phone coverage. I’d love to have a private installation of Quoty (and I know someone else who would to.) My old partner at is currently working on a Mac note taking app that would work like Quoty on our Mac. Paul Allen says his personal Folio database of notes is one of his most valuable possessions. I’d like somethings similar, but with tags instead of categories. I would save everything in there.

  9. Missy Caress
    May 30, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    Connor! we need a Notey!

  10. Connor
    May 30, 2007 at 2:40 pm #

    we need a Notey!

    Ha! Part of me wonders if Quoty would have been developed had I been dating somebody at the time. There were a couple of all nighters there at the beginning…

    Notey. I like the sound of that. ::: rubs hands together :::

  11. Missy Caress
    May 30, 2007 at 4:27 pm #

    You need help? No problem! Richard would love to help.

  12. Richard K Miller
    May 30, 2007 at 8:45 pm #

    Will work for pork tacos.


  1. Top of the Mountains » Blog Archive » It is good - May 22, 2007

    […] of journal writing, Connor’s blogged about his new Moleskine notebook. You can see my Moleskine-lovin’ posts by searching for “moleskine” at the top of […]

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