Tuesday Topic: Note-taking

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!

12 thoughts on “Tuesday Topic: Note-taking

  1. I have a tablet PC. I hate mine, and wouldn’t recommend a Toshiba laptop ever, but it comes with sticky note software and I can write on it with a remarkably pen-like stylus.

    Not perfect, and it takes awhile to recognise your writing, but otherwise it’s pretty great. (minus the Toshiba bit)

  2. Your mac has handwriting recognition built in (Ink app.)but you need a Wacom tablet to work it. The base models are not that expensive, but you should borrow one and test drive it first… They are good for some and not for others. There are digital pens too but I don’t think they have a mac version.

  3. I’ve longed for many years for a decent electronic pen. I’d love to be able to write on my hand and have it translated into my computer. Or something like that.

  4. Good to know! That sounds better than switching back and forth from keyboard to book. But what I really want is a pen that I can use to write on anything and have it translate to my computer, even if my mac a few miles away. like magic!

  5. FWIW, my problem with the tablet has nothing to do with the software and everything to do with the hardware vendor.

    Wacom’s products are pretty good, and I think you can get a decent writing pad to plug into your computer for less than a hundred USD now, especially if you don’t need a hypersensitive one for art.

    But it does take awhile to ‘learn’ your handwriting, and for you to adapt to writing on it.

  6. Actually, there is one. I can’t remember what it’s called any more, but it can act as a mini scanner as well and let you ‘highlight’ text from a book and then you can transfer the data into your computer.

  7. I think it’s called Quick Pen, but I could be wrong.

    I thought about it, and then decided that if I was going to learn, just highlighting everything wasn’t going to help.

  8. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    I generally avoid novel research like the plague because it generally involves the tedious bits about history that cannot be simplified into numbers.

  9. Heh. I, like Brenna, adore “working” on my novel by spending five hours studying ancient techniques for harvesting iron out of marshes for a single line of text. 😀

  10. It’s not so much that I don’t like research.

    It’s just much of the stuff I need for my books are nitty-gritty details about stuff that is incidental to the book. Doesn’t mean that I don’t have to get it right, but sure makes getting it right boring.

    Most non-fiction I like to read is current affairs or related to numbers somehow.

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