Commonplace books is where I jot down passages, paragraphs, sentences from books, articles, movies, documentaries, and speeches that resonates with me.
Sometimes, it hasn’t even resonated with me yet but the way the author stated it is beautiful and I just write it down.
I got the idea of writing down sentences that I want to remember from Ryan Holiday. He shared in his book that he kept index cards wherein quotes are written in there and the ideas stated in his books are all from his index cards.
And while I was reading that more than a year ago, I thought that its cool and I wanted to try that too. And so I did.
For everything that I read or heard that I found beautiful, I write. And not until a few days ago did I learn that what I previously call ‘quotes notebooks’ are actually called commonplace books and it has been practiced by a lot of people!
Here is what journalist Dwight Garner wrote about his own commonplace book: “I use it as an aide-mémoire, a kind of external hard drive. It helps me ward off what Christopher Hitchens, quoting a friend, called CRAFT (Can’t Remember a F— Thing) syndrome.”
One of the reasons why I continue to jot down in my commonplace books is because I want to remember.
I considered going for my phone to jot down but most of the time, I just want to sit down and read my quotes notebook without a lot of distractions and getting tempted to open other applications.
Also, one thing that I’m fascinated in is how I have read them dozens of times and yet, somehow, I still get new connections from them. That this paragraph from an author is actually connected to the one this person stated. Or I have read something new and a quote from my commonplace book is actually related to that but they are not even the same person!
And commonplace books are where I get blog post ideas and that is why my blog posts are full of what other people has stated and I am not complaining. They are amazing, amazing people. They expressed what I want to be said better than I can and they shared something that I do not know and hence, I’m so grateful to have an avenue where I can share what I learn, that hopefully as much as it resonated with me, it can resonate with others too.
I thought about reading other people’s commonplace books must be so exciting of an activity because it shows what you prioritize, what you value, and what you focus on. Like for example, Ryan Holiday’s index cards are mostly about stoicism.
Mine’s all over the place but most of my quotes are somewhere along psychology and design. And it shows how you grow over time. Mine started with a lot of stoicism passages, then moved on to sentences about creativity, then went on about being an artist and showing your work, and now, its more of being grateful and living life.
Consider starting one and watch yourself grow through the pages!