The value of taking notes

I was reading some of my book recently and was reminded of things that I noted years ago that I like to go back to. In a way the book and this blog are formatted, edited notes to myself. I get an idea, or a new understanding of an old idea, and I write it down. Then I put it in a content management system (in this case, WordPress software), which allows for easy retrieval, as well as presentation as a website to share. This is something anyone can do by opening a free account on By adding tags and categories to your posts, you can make very useful webs for yourself of anything you are studying, from recipes to singing to poetry to auto repair. Your wordpress site can be just for you (invisible to the general internet) or it can eventually become something you might want to share.

Capturing your own thoughts and words to describe something you have learned about, is a very helpful way to make the learning deeper. Compiling lists to link out to is also useful, but for really learning material in a way that increases your functional knowledge, you need to dance with it up close and personal for a while, until “learning about” becomes “knowing”, inside of you.

Use a variety of modes of note taking, including longhand in notebooks, drawing on paper large and small, recording spoken notes, video, and whatever way tickles your fancy. Who knows? Your notes may even become outlines for long forms like books, films, blogs or magazine series. Putting your understandings, challenges, and breakthroughs into your own words and then going back to them later, can speed up and enliven your learning on just about any subject. I have often re-read my old notes on singing and realized that I should have spent more time with them at the time of writing, because I forgot half of the good things I wrote. Other times I will see how new information has made my old notes obsolete. All good to know!


taking notes

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