I love research. This is no secret. Research gives me an excuse to read obscure, barely-relevant books and allows me to spend hours functioning under the delusion that I’m being productive without actually writing anything. I love it, and I would even make the claim that I’m good at it.
But I am very, very bad at taking notes. Which is not to say that I never do it. It is to say that I do it on the back of grocery receipts and sometimes the palm of my hand.
When I take notes, I make cryptic references to Middle Eastern foods and add exclamation points that are guaranteed to be baffling later. I draw diagrams that resemble the EKG for cardiac arrest and are unrecognizable as objects. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, struck by a revelation that will completely transform your story? Have you ever written that revelation down, only to find that in the morning, your brilliant solution makes no sense whatsoever? It’s like that. Only, when I’m awake.
So, after years of good-faith efforts, I’ve finally concluded that note-taking is not for me. Even in school, I never wrote things down. At the beginning of every semester, I’d try. For two days out of every school-year, I’d attempt to be responsible and organized, but writing down the lecture only distracted me from the lecture. I love research, I love articles and statistics and reference books, but taking notes just confuses me.