Showing posts with label Commonplace books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commonplace books. Show all posts

Monday, June 7, 2021

Commonplace Books: History & Follow up Tips

 



Writers use journals, notebooks, project file folders or binders to capture brainstorming ideas and plans. In the 1600s, commonplace books came about due to information overload; much like the pace of information flying about us in these days. In addition, it was thought (& later confirmed) that writing things by hand helped fix the teachings more deeply and expand observation skills.

Literary students found commonplace books essential for recording quotes, ideas, and snippets of essays or books they were studying.

Steven Johnson wrote, “Scholars, amateur scientists, aspiring men of letters—just about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book. ‘Commonplacing,’ as it was called, involved transcribing interesting or inspirational passages from one’s reading, assembling a personalized encyclopedia of quotations.”

Many throughout history have used commonplace books. Writers read widely and write; we collect our thoughts in journals and notebooks daily. History continues with us!

Here are a few historical figures we can learn from to expand our routine:

Erasmus (1466–1536) is known as the father of modern commonplacing, popularizing the concept in his book De Copia in 1512. He subdivided his book into categories.

John Locke (1632–1704) wrote an entire book about the practice: A New Method of Making Common-Place-Books. Locke was a physician and philosopher who began keeping his first commonplace book during his first year at Oxford, 1652.

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) kept two separate commonplace books: one for legal notes and another for literary ones.

E.M. Forster (1879–1970) used his commonplace book to record quotes, comments on what he was reading at the time, interesting tidbits he overheard, and ideas for future novels.

Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) used a notecard system to record stories and jokes to use in speeches.

There is no rulebook for keeping a commonplace book. Your commonplace book is uniquely yours, a central storehouse of notes, words of wisdom, sayings that have impressed you, and practical how-to’s.

Capture ideas by notes, scribbles, doodles, diagrams, sketches, or pictures. Record quotes to remember and reflect upon later. Let your book become your treasure store resource. In the process, you might discover something of utmost importance to you. Write it your way; outline, diagonal snippets, and vertical standout points, whatever.

Historically, commonplace books were not chronological with a table of contents, etc.
I plan to organize mine by topical sections or categories.

Start with a variety of small or large bound books, binders or folders with loose sheets, or 3x5 cards. Whatever suits you and your style. Experiment and find what you like best, find the most convenient and useful method. It’s your commonplace, your everyday details and notes book: your personal resource of creativity and planning.

The History of Commonplace Books—links of interest:
•    https://writingcooperative.com/the-lost-art-of-commonplacing-e6049489c6f7

•    https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?entryid=3744  John Locke’s method of indexing

•    Jenny Rallens, a classical schoolteacher, developed a method for teaching commonplace books. Find the Jenny Rallens Method here: https://commonplacecorner.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/structuring-a-commonplace-book-jenny-rallens-method/  

•    https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2013/08/how-and-why-to-keep-a-commonplace-book/




John Locke 1685 to 1706 

Image Source: https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:13925922$5i
Follow this link for a wonderful record of John Locke’s book via images.     
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/



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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tips for Getting Known

Tips for Getting Known: Platform – Brand - Content

Your Platform is a useful necessity for all authors whether you write essays, articles, blogs or books, fiction or nonfiction. Brand is who you are. You are your brand, built by words, images and delivering as promised. Success depends upon visibility. We communicate with clarity and offer valuable information through our websites because Content is King.
 
Getting Known is all about providing content of interest.
Your Platform includes all the ways you are visible to readers:
•    Communicates your expertise quickly with clarity
•    Where to find you online, books, magazines, etc
•    Optimized metadata, SEO and keywords
•    Consistent delivery of valuable content
•    Balanced creativity and business

The Essential Commonplace book:
Useful and informative content makes for great visibility, thus using a commonplace book is essential.

Have you ever lost an idea because you couldn’t jot it down? Writers have been carrying notebooks for centuries, so I thought I’d mention commonplace books. Renaissance humanists of classical scholarship began using commonplace books as a form of study and note taking.  

There’s just too much to recall and consider further later. A commonplace book is uniquely yours, a central storehouse of knowledge. It is a helpful resource to gather your notes of wisdom, impressive sayings, and practical applications. As you read, collect what pops out; capture an idea by making notes, scribbles and comments.

Let your commonplace book become your treasure store of ideas and wisdom. It will help you realize what is most important to you. Organize it as you wish, in traditional format, diagonal snippets, and vertical standout points. It’s your book and best handwritten with your doodles and diagrams. Like Melissa Donovan says, “There’s something about the tactile experience of writing in a notebook that seems to boost creativity.”

During corporate meetings, I’ve used ringed notebooks to capture significant points of the meeting, schedule and plans. I wrote every which way, no one could make sense of it but me. However, with these notes I recalled where I was, what the meeting was about and my next steps. I’m sure you have a method also.

As a source of creativity, use your commonplace book, your everyday book, as a resource for writing your next article, essay or blog post.

Helpful Links:
Melissa Donovan, Author, Coach, Teacher, Editor of Writing Forward
https://www.writingforward.com/  
 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
Available on Amazon --- Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love 


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Growing Your Authorship ID

  by Deborah Lyn Stanley In the world of writing and authorship, success depends upon visibility. Website Platform contains all the ways our...