Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“Writing things down enforces slowness, and by extension, thoughtfulness.” 

Elizabeth Spiers

I was wondering about this quote and its links to books; and then I realised that Ms Spiers was writing about her thoughts on keeping a notebook in the digital age, and I figured that a notebook was a book, and yes it would fit the bill.

Notebooks offer us two things - a place to write, then a place to read.

I travel everywhere with a notebook and really enjoy having a pencil or a pen alongside me and being able to jot down thoughts and ideas; words and phrases.  Words often spark my ideas for a new book or a new print.

I think there is more research emerging that suggests that she is utterly correct - that writing things down is different to taking notes on a laptop.  Writing does slow us down; its graphic nature lets us make connections; a notebook allows us to place things near each other if they are linked concepts; we can circle things and draw arrows and even doodle! Slowing down by writing forces you to analyse and assess what it is most important to keep - you do some of thinking work when you are not simply transcribing something verbatim.

I also find that by writing things down they are embedded more fully - there is perhaps something about the physical action of forming letters and words that makes neural pathways connect in a different way to simply typing.

I must admit, I simply agree with Ms Spiers on this one.


Handwritten notes for last year's series of family violence works - using different colours also helps me keep thoughts and ideas together. Actually writing things down certainly makes me remember them better.

6 comments:

  1. what goes on in my head is more like a stream of consciousness... sometimes if I 'm quick I catch the fleeting fish of a dream with a line scribbled down or a quick sketch

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    1. Thanks Mo - but what comes out of your head is so fresh and spirited! Mine often times feel much more laboured...love the notion of a a fleeting fish of a dream - the perfect descriptor of those moments. You catch them out of the corner of your eye almost...go well.

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  2. It's interesting that I was thinking about something along the same lines as I read my online newspaper today ... as much as I like saving the environment from newsprint, something is lost when the eye cannot roam over the whole page. The view online is too linear, too tunnel vision.

    In any case, if I haven't already, I'd like to share a link to Austin Kleon (author of Show your work) on handwriting versus typing. It in turn has a link to a video, which I confess I have not watched (I prefer to read transcripts ... ha!)

    http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/110647355141

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    1. ooh lots of fascination there Liz, and put far more sensibly than my ponderings! I too love scanning a full newspaper page and choosing what to read next, without having to decide based on a headline. I guess we adjust tho.

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  3. fiona, the haptics of reading and the connection of writing to thinking interest me, too. and some of my best writing occurs on tiny pieces of paper that then get transcribed into my sketchbook. this whole practice started because i would jot down ideas on a postit pad in my car, commutes on country roads promote much good thinking.

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    1. So true Velma - it seems to me the best ones are just the simplest scribbled notes that mean something to you; but not much to anybody else. But the writing down of it makes it real...I think I could spend a lifetime researching haptic and writing things down...!!

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I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.