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Thread: Commonplace Book

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    Default Commonplace Book

    Yes, it's another topic by me. Gosh, am I always so full of questions!

    Anyhoo, as the thread title notes: The Commonplace Book.

    Has anyone here kept one for a while now? And how has it changed since you started?

    Also, is anyone here - other than me of course - thinking about starting one anytime soon?


    It appears that the Commonplace Book used to be relatively popular, and perhaps these days people do something similar with e-versions such as Evernote. Even so, I have to assume the methodology is the same. So, if you have some advice to give on starting such a project, or just a story to tell, please indulge me!

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    Senior Member Sailor Kenshin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    Ever since I heard of these, I've been fascinated by the concept. But then I looked them up online, spent hours gazing at stunningly beautiful examples, and became confused and intimidated (same thing occurred with Bullet Journals).

    I don't know what to call what I actually do. It's got banners I color in, weather notes, and random information, and light bulb moments. Could that be considered a Commonplace Book?

    (Lately in Kokuyo Campus notebooks, in case anyone's interested).

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    Senior Member Paddler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    I carry a notebook and pen in my shirt pocket. When the notebook fills up, I make a new one and sew the pages into a leather cover I made. The old pages are then read through and the information I want to keep and maintain access to I copy into my Commonplace Book. This is a leather Stanley Desk Journal sold by Levenger. I keep a "Locke Index" in the first few pages so I can find entries again.
    Written on a real computer and real keyboard with capital letters, punctuation, and everything.

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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    The closest thing I do is to keep a large file on my computer(s) with quotes I like. A small program selects a quote at random every 20 minutes or so to append to my emails.

    Currently I have 5,201 quotes in the file. Most are pretty short, since they are meant for emails. Some are things I agree with, some are there because I find them funny, some are included because they are so blindingly dumb (from my POV, of course).

    There is little system to the process, though I do, every once in while, clean up the file by removing stuff that has gone stale.

    Right now the selected quote is:

    If you’re right 90% of the time, why quibble about the remaining 3%?

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    I first heard about this from _A Series of Unfortunate Events_.

    I have collected bits of knowledge in notebooks at various points—vaguely similar, I guess. Seems like it would be rather fun to do. And helpful.

    I take notes on various topics, but not quite the same. I have some data and measurements in another notebook. I have a book of ideas and projects. I compiled a book of riddles at one point. I have started a notebook on mods for my 4x4. I have bullet journals for work and I like the index concept.

    I could benefit from compiling a commonplace book on fishing in hopes of learning and getting better at it.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    I love the idea and actually keep a kind of commonplace book in the notebook I normally have with me but I consciously sabotage the idea by having a loose-leaf notebook and enjoying throwing away stuff I no longer need.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    I started keeping one a couple years ago. I don't obsess over the organizational aspects of the book, just a basic index in the front and pages of info after. I started this when I felt I noticed I was having a harder time remembering small bits of information. This has helped.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member Voiren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    Since I had to google it, here are some descriptions!

    "A book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use."
    "A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits."
    "A collection of learned things."
    "A place to record thoughts and ideas you don't quite comprehend."
    "A commonplace book is a writer's personal collection of quotations, observations, and topic ideas."
    "A commonplace book contains a collection of significant or well-known passages that have been copied and organized in some way, often under topical or thematic headings, in order to serve as a memory aid or reference for the compiler."

    I don't think any of my current notebooks quite come under this. A very few of the 'quotes you come across' end up in my one big journal (which contains ink tests, FP meet pens and inks, pen and restoration checklists, what books I finished reading and shows I saw, and acts as a travel journal when I am away, but isn't otherwise a journal).

    I did collect lyrics and short quotes for a while when in highschool - not at present.

    Work information is a bit different, because it exists alongside the actual work being done, where I am working out what I need to do and how to do it, and is in a large tear-off Things To Do notepad, but I use it for more working out than I do for pure to-do lists. (And the other things are in plain text files so I can search for them easily).

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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor Kenshin View Post
    Ever since I heard of these, I've been fascinated by the concept. But then I looked them up online, spent hours gazing at stunningly beautiful examples, and became confused and intimidated (same thing occurred with Bullet Journals).

    I don't know what to call what I actually do. It's got banners I color in, weather notes, and random information, and light bulb moments. Could that be considered a Commonplace Book?

    (Lately in Kokuyo Campus notebooks, in case anyone's interested).
    That's exactly what happens with me too! All those wonderfully creative notebooks on Instagram etc.

    Perhaps that creative urge and skill eludes me (or has never been present) <-- this is my most common thought on the situation.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That's exactly what happens with me too! All those wonderfully creative notebooks on Instagram etc.

    Perhaps that creative urge and skill eludes me (or has never been present) <-- this is my most common thought on the situation.
    I bet that is what happens with most people - it certainly is for me (gazing at other's estimable visual artistic abilities). The point is, not writing something down in a book in a very plain fashion is entirely your own choice. The fact that other people look glorious on the page hasn't stopped me from doing the basic point of a Common Book: write down things I want to keep track of. It has been remarkably useful and I'll be damned if I'll let my insecurities or their talents stand in my way of helping myself.

    As they say: Just. Do. It.
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; August 10th, 2019 at 09:41 PM.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    azkid (August 10th, 2019)

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    Senior Member Lady Onogaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Commonplace Book

    I keep one, but I don't index it. At this point it's rather small and filled with things that inspire me or make me feel better about the world. I have a picture of Frieda Kahlo when she was a girl, some copies of poems I like, quotations, a postcard or three that someone sent, clippings frm magazines, etc. I like to flip through it now and then, and I carry it with me occasionally. It's just one of the inserts for a Traveler's Notebook. I'm getting ready to start a new one.
    Lady Onogaro

    "Be yourself--everybody else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

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    Jon Szanto (August 10th, 2019)

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