Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for Notebooks

I've been reading "How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day," by Michael J. Gelb. It is a wonderfully inspirational book for all creative people, and those that want to become more creative. The book isn't limited to visual artists or writers because Leonardo da Vinci did so many different things, it embraces many different disciplines and ways of thinking.

One of the interesting bits of information I came across last night was about Leonardo's notebooks. He carried a notebook with him at all times. 7,000 pages are in existence, but it is believed there were many more. As a man who cultivated curiosita, (an insatiable curiosity about life, and unrelenting quest for continuous learning) notebooks were a constant source of inspiration and motivation for his creativity.

Some of the ways he used the notebooks, which you might try, particularly if you are suffering through a creative block, is to ask yourself a hundred questions in the notebook and then answer them, as thoroughly as possible, in your own time. Another way, is to observe everything about your day: the people you meet, how they look, act, what they say, how they interact with others, your changing environment, as you travel from one place to another, and do it all in great detail. This can help you develop characters for your novel and is also a good way to develop characters for your narrative paintings and drawings. Recording the environment helps with the environmental setting of novels and it helps with painting what is around you, or commenting on it. Use your notebooks and/or sketchbooks to release your childlike wonder about the world. Notebooks are a wonderful source for your work, and you can go back to them repeatedly, learning, building and enriching upon your original observations and thoughts.





I write out my entire novel and nonfiction books, by hand in notebooks. I take copious notes at lectures and when attending workshops, so I can recall every detail, and everything that was said later. Note-taking helps me focus and concentrate completely on such events. When I'm feeling dried up for ideas, I will go back to a notebook or sketchbook, sometimes one from many years ago. Often, I've forgotten what they contain. My notebooks and sketchbooks are treasures, from which I mine information, inspiration and ideas.







Now, we have more choices than in Leonardo's time. We can use electronic notebooks and save sketches digitally too, in files. Whichever way you like to work, give notebooks a serious thought if you're having a creative block, and if you want to avoid them in the future.


22 comments:

  1. this sounds like a book to keep handy! Thanks for sharing. I'm a writer and there are days . . . .
    @SorchiaDubois
    Sorchia’s Universe

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    1. I agree Sorchia! I keep it right next to my bed.

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    1. Thanks Sandra! I'm so glad you found the post inspirational.

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  3. Great post - thanks for sharing the ways to use notebooks and especially the link to Gelb's book.

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    1. You're welcome Beverley. I hope you can check out the book!

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  4. Hello from A to Z, Stephanie. While I've kept physical notes of my ideas before, sometimes my notebook is in my head.

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  5. Think note book is a great idea to beat the block and let refreshing ideas flow in:)
    Great take.

    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks Bheeroo! I always love hearing from you!

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  6. J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
    How has the challenge been going for you so far? Are you meeting your goals of posting and hopping to other blogs? M marked the halfway point!
    My blog's giveaway is still going! I'm encouraging everyone to visit more stops. There's a post about how to better use the image alt code -- featured on the main A to Z blog as well as my own.
    http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com
    Wonderful images to go with this. It sounds like a very inspirational book.

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    1. Thanks for stopping in J. I'm exceeding my goals of stopping in other blogs and commenting. Thanks for checking in. I appreciate your comment and time.

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  7. This does sound like a good idea. I've begun to write more longhand instead of typing. I've somehow translated my writing skills more to the keyboard. My big problem is getting an idea and by the time I think of writing it, it is just gone. Good article.

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    1. Maybe if you write it right away that will help Ann. I have those quickly disappearing ideas too.

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  8. Interesting idea. But when I think about handwriting pages and pages... Ouch! My hand cramps just thinking about it.

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

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    1. Liz, well to each his own. Whatever works.

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  9. I'm starting to take notes, but they're a bit all over the place because I can only carry a very small notebook. I've been looked at the indexing in Bullet Journals and think that may work for me.

    If you go to Italy, there is a museum in Vinci (the town of his birthplace, re-named for him) which is well worth a visit.

    Debs Carey
    www.bunnyandthebloke.com
    @debscaringcoach
    www.caringcoaching.co.uk

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    1. Oh, I really hope to visit Vinci some day!

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  10. I find it delightful you write your works by hand in notebooks, and that you keep research and inspiration in notebooks as well. A kindred spirit indeed! I'm sure they are quite the treasure books.

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    1. That's so nice, especially coming from you. You make such lovely journals!

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  11. I write by hand all of the time, though rarely in notebooks (I'm the queen of recycled paper ;-) ). It helps me concentrate in a way that I'll never achieve by typing.
    I've heard many people say they haven't hold a pen in years. How that's possible it's beyond me.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

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    1. I agree with you! That's awesome Sarah!

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