In it Weinberg talks about Fieldstoning- gathering bits of information/inspiration/ideas/text/etc, logging it in an organised way and perhaps using it in the future for pulling a piece (or pieces) of writing work together.
As I was reading it I realised I was already doing many of the things mentioned, especially more recently since I started using Evernote. I’ve always previously struggled with note taking as I could never get into the habit of remembering to bring paper and pens with me, let along keep them organised.
I just didn’t have the discipline to remember and make it a habit.
However, I’ve found that I never go anywhere without my iPhone, well within reason 🙂 And as long as I have my iPhone I can log stuff. But to take it further it’s not difficult to log information into one central source from wherever you are digitally. The key is adopting the habits or perhaps creating processes around the way you work.
How I Take Notes Digitally
IFTTT.comis awesome. It stands for ‘If This, Then That’. In a nutshell it can automate many mundane tasks, I use it to:
- Archive specific Tweets to Evernote (e.g. my own)
- Send Tweets with specific Hashtags to Evernote (e.g #testingclub)
- Send Tweets I have favourited to Evernote
- Send starred Google Reader RSS items to Evernote
- Send labelled emails from my gmail account to Evernote
- I take photos and add them to specific notes or folders in Evernote
- I also have G+ Automatic Upload process all my photos from my iPhone automatically
- Photos tend to come from my iPhone or iPad, I find it much harder to get into a habit of getting photos from a camera onto Evernote, it’s not technically difficult, it’s just not a habit.
When I’m interested in a specific topic I maintain a MindMap, I make a conscious effort to continoulsly add to the MindMap. I especially like doing this for books, adding snippets as I read. With books I find that this helps me maintain my focus as I easily switch off or fall asleep. If I’m not taking any notes within a chapter I’m either not paying attention properly or the book isn’t worth reading!
I use SimpleMind+ for MindMapping on my iPhone and iPad. It all syncs over DropBox and it’s pretty easy to add a MindMap image to Evernote, but I find that just keeping them all in a DropBox folder works well enough, at least for now.
As all this information keeps pouring into, it becomes essential to maintain some order. I find it gets a bit messy at times and I need to spend some time creating new notebooks and just simply removing stuff that isn’t necessary. But overall, it works well for me and it’s really helping me write that bit more.
The key is to find what works for you, if this is the mission you choose 🙂