Equipment for Living

Writing Things Down

‘The horror of that moment,’ the King went on, ‘I shall never, never forget!’

‘You will, though,’ the Queen said, ‘if you don’t make a memorandum of it.’

Alice looked on with great interest as the King took an enormous memorandum-book out of his pocket, and began writing.

– Lewis Carroll

In the spirit of keeping things simple, today I’m talking about one of the simplest things I do to keep my life in order. I write things down.

And like many people, I do this the old-fashioned way: I write things down on paper. I usually prefer this to using a digital medium. It feels more natural to me, more secure; and besides, the act of writing something down can often help me remember it even if I never refer to the notes again.

My house is full of notes. I write things down on pieces of paper or post-its when I’m reading a magazine, making a note of things to look up or to buy. I write down quotes from books I read. I make notes of things to do when I’m on the phone. I note down a reminder to leave somewhere where I’ll come across it to make sure things get done. I make shopping lists, plans for the future, packing lists. I record ideas and thoughts.

In a less haphazard way, I also use a planner to note things relevant to particular days. Recently, I’ve also started using a Bullet Journal, which is a subject for another post.

As well as helping me remember things, writing can help me organise my thoughts. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed with life, I sit down and just write. Writing is a linear process, which forces the brain to make links between thoughts and lay it all out. Seeing things structured on paper makes it a lot less scary, and easier to see your next steps.

And for those less linear moments, there is always brainstorming or mind mapping, drawing a map of your thoughts, which can in turn become doodles and illustrations. I love how flexible paper is, how much you can do with it, just paper and a pen.

It is of course an added bonus that stationery is such a beautiful and varied thing, enabling you to collect the many kinds of pens and pencils, notebooks and planners, paint and tape, immersing yourself in this visual, tactile, olfactory, auditory celebration…

But at the same time, all you really need is something made of paper and something that will leave a mark.

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