How do you keep notes when you’re on the run? Part 1 0 Comments

How do you keep notes when you’re on the run? Part 1

Every writer knows the pain of forgetting to write down a brilliant idea when it occurs, convinced it’s such a good idea you couldn’t possibly forget it, and the terrible sinking feeling of realising later that you have absolutely no recollection of what that brilliant idea was…and so we take notes. Mid-conversation scribbles in a notepad, writing on your hand, running out of space and writing on your face, speaking into a dictaphone a la Twin Peaks for your secretary (or yourself) to transcribe later, emailing yourself your ideas or tapping away on your phone so people think you’re either really rude or popular or both…whatever your method, note-taking is an essential part of the writing process.


I asked every member of the Voiceworks EdComm how they take notes, so here is instalment 1, with everyone’s own personal style and twist.




I carry a gold A5 moleskine-type notebook with me everywhere. Because it’s gold (and therefore also a cool accessory) I always want to take it with me, even if that means carrying a slightly bigger bag, and have no qualms pulling it out and scribbling. If for some reason I haven’t taken it with me, I keep notes in my iPhone grouped by theme (quotes/poetry/short stories etc) or in roughly 2-week blocks of ‘journal’ entries.



I guess for me expensive notebooks (and notebooks in general) have been a source of intimidation – what could be worse than a blank AND expensive page?? I’m more of a scrap paper/bus ticket kinda girl. Arms and legs have also proven trusted tabula rasae. But the preference is for scraps, and for good reason I think because a lot of the poetry I produce is collage derived. So the material is ready-made to fit the form. I also like the idea that my notes are loseable, a kind of natural sorting process. Stops things getting too precious.


Rafael SW

My note-practice is a combination of meticulous divinity. Any time I’m inspired I immediately record it into my phone, along with the topic that I will then file it under later (there’s 49 categories, from poetry and story ideas, to secrets and songlines). People look at me strangely sometimes, but that’s not new. Once they’re filled I can I return to them whenever I’m seeking to create that particular type of work – eg some days I feel like writing poetry and just need a title. I’ve found that actively seeking and recording inspiration generates more inspiration itself.



Once my mate Jojo—who in turn read this somewhere more organised than us— said that the point of making to-do lists is so you only have think of something once. Then it’s in front of you, and you can ACTION stuff in an orderly fashion. Ha! Yeah… In a more perfect world, this would be the case. But my note-taking skills have never managed to develop beyond scrawling on a scrap of paper that has a fifty per cent chance of getting lost within the day. I also have a collection of now-redundant pages of scribble in my bag, along with bottle caps and tobacco dregs. Neither of these are approaches I would recommend.

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