Note taking with pen and paper helps me remember interviews better than typing them. Journals filled with notes from reading and thinking occupy a spot on my bookcase by my desk. My typing speed is very fast forcing increased thinking speed. But that is not necessarily a good thing. By writing outlines and thoughts, my mind slows causing more reflection and deeper thinking.
When I was editor of a magazine, I would take a pad of paper and a pen and place it on the counter beside my coffee and breakfast oatmeal. I’d put a question or problem at the top of the page—say theme of an issue or title of an article—and then I’d write by hand a series of thoughts about the topic. The goal was 20 items. Usually by 10, my thinking was becoming more creative, less rote.
My notebooks are sometimes a Moleskin purchased at an independent bookstore. For the past couple of years, I’ve written for free on notebooks secured from conferences I’ve attended. I find the 5” x 8” size to be best. Smaller is only good for your pocket on walks. Larger I find awkward to carry around. I use a Uniball Signo Micro 207 pen. I used to be a fountain pen fanatic, but the quality of what I was buying just wasn’t up to the task. These Uniball pens are inexpensive, but the writing is consistent and even enjoyable.
I’ve written about this before. A company noticed and sent me a link to an infographic. Check it out.