I am one of those people who takes notes about everything. I carry my Moleskin and, by God, I use it. I write random bits of conversation, observations, character sketches, sudden thoughts – the works. I wish it were easier to carry and use when I’m out walking my dog. I’ve occasionally pulled it out at movies or in the middle of a conversation (after calling a brief time-out).
But when it comes to research, my absolute favorite note-taking buddy is the Almighty Sticky Pad.
When I finish a particularly informative and/or exciting research book, it looks like it’s in the process of puking up yellow or pink scraps of paper. I usually jot my thought down and just smack the note in the margin so I can easily find it again – that way I don’t have to stop reading to take down a real note with reference, etc.
Sometimes I have used fun sticky notes: such as the ones flashing Bart Simpson’s face and several of his more famous sound bites.
(The problem, of course, comes when I get to the end and I have a huge book filled with notes that have to be transcribed before I can return the book to the library because it’s out of print and costs $450 everywhere I find it to buy.) (I wish I were better able to type notes right up into the laptop!)
I’d love to hear other suggestions!