Note-taking is really important and convenient, especially when you read books and want to recall your thoughts or scenes that occurred. I wholeheartedly support note-taking. I’m a fairly good note-taker when I’m in class because I don’t want to miss anything the professor says (it may be important, which is always the case).
You are sadly mistaken.
Didn’t you see the description for this seminar?
Bad Note-taking 101
An introduction to the history of Cee’s note-taking abilities (or lack of) for books. This course examines the benefits of note-taking with a journal or on a laptop, and the reasons why Cee note-takes and why she gets distracted a few sentences in. Particular focus will be given to the factors that prevent her from making proper notes like specific distractions as well as to how those distractions prolong her lack of productivity. This course will, hopefully, dissuade you from unhealthy note-taking habits. Students are required to take this course and are expected to engage in this discussion. (Note: This course is in no way trying to teach you how to be a good note-taker, per say.)
However, if you just do the opposite of the things I do (which is to avoid distractions), you should be fine. Maybe.
Importance of Note-Taking for Books
Main point: To not forget important things you want to talk about! (It may be scenes that had you – on the edge of your seat in excitement or anxiousness, rolling on the floor from laugher, angry beyond belief, screaming like a fucking banshee, bored to tears, pondering about the themes and the symbolism.)
Hand vs. Fingers
(or properly known as – Journals vs. TextEdit: Which Do I Prefer When Note-Taking?)
PROS: Handwriting!, DOODLES, it’s extremely personalized, easy to take with you
CONS: Hand will cramp up after awhile (because I don’t write by hand as much anymore + I don’t hold my pen the proper way), having too many journals = clutter, can’t erase/delete whatever I wrote because I don’t like how it’s phrased (I’m a perfectionist!)
PROS: Fast typing, “delete” is my best friend (it’s easier to erase sentences I don’t like so I can rewrite it), my hand never tires, I can sort of multi-task, less clutter in real life (since I don’t have to store the notes on my desk or bookshelf)
CONS: Bright screen + Internet = super distracting
So, have you figured out which I prefer?
- I have a book that I have to read – for school, for my blog, for whatever. It’s necessary that I finish the book (or attempt to) because if I don’t, I will eventually get behind schedule (ie. be screwed).
- I grab my notebook or my laptop to take notes on whatever I’m reading. (I am extremely forgetful. I can’t recall shit even if my life depended on it. Hence, the usefulness of taking notes.)
- I jot down a couple of notes about what I find interesting, what I think is important, or what I think the characters/images/themes symbolizes. (Bullet points are my friend.)
- These notes tend to be proper sentences and the length of paragraphs, which actually distracts me from the text I’m reading. I like making my thoughts articulate. Also, if I take notes about my thoughts for a book review, I usually like to type out sentences I’ll use for that review. It kind of defeats the purpose of note-taking for later use. Whoops?
- Sometimes, when I look back at the notes that aren’t full sentences, I get confused because I don’t understand what I wrote down. It’s like I wrote in a foreign language. And I’m extremely unorganized when it comes to note-taking.
- It may be easier to highlight or underline things or write things in the margins of the book, but I don’t like desecrating the pages. It’s too precious to me (even if doing those things “adds character” to the book).
- I’m a thorough person (when I try to note-take); I don’t want to miss anything, so I want to make sure I get everything down, which takes foooorrrreeevverrrr and then I give up.
- I get distracted. Surprise, surprise. (Sarcasm, ya’ll.) I will only have a few sentences on the page. I feel like my mind does things the way a hummingbird moves (or jerks around), moving from one thing to another quickly even without finishing whatever I was doing before.
- I stop note-taking and start doing something entirely different because my brain demands it.
- Lack of productivity. Procrastination. FAILING.
- The end results: Coming to class unprepared (’cause I can’t remember what happened in the book even though I read it the other night); having to reread the book again as I try to type up a review (this happens frequently, ie. The Beginning of Everything); having lots of text documents or notebooks that are left in a pile in the corner of my room, unfilled (which I really hate. Who wants a free composition books with two pages (or less) of notes written in it?). It’s not good.
What Distracts Me (or What Goes Wrong)
- A LOT OF THINGS. EVERYTHING.
- My thoughts
- The Internet – Twitter, Tumblr, blogs
- BAD HABITS
- Emails (I’m always checking it every 15 minutes.)
- A need for my writing to be perfect
- Bright screen
- My sitting position
- I have a bad habit of reading in bed, so when I take notes, I am essentially juggling a book and a notebook (usually a laptop) on my lap. However, if I’m not reading on my bed, I sit down at the table, but the chair/seat is usually uncomfortable because I have no leg room to cross my legs or move them around. (Leg room is absolutely necessary when I work on a table.)
- Books staring at me (they mock me!)
- Knocked doors (I’m expecting books from the mailman.)
- Text messages
- Basically, if you snapped your fingers, I will begin to do something that sends me on a cycle of “doing things I shouldn’t be doing.”
But seriously, note-keeping tips?
You’re asking the wrong person for advice.
I can only say: “note-taking is cool.” You can quote me.
Do you take notes when you read? Or do you majorly fail at it like I do? (High fives for us, right? ;D) What does everyone do? How do you note-take? What’s your process like?
(I feel like this post somehow became about my distractions instead of note-taking. I did talk about note-taking, right? I would apologize, but I’m too tired to be sorry. )