I’m confronted daily with a barrage of thoughts, hopes, dreams, ideas, interesting quotes, inspirational messages, and other meaningful content that makes an impression on me. And there isn’t necessarily a rhyme or reason to when it happens: it can be at the store, while making breakfast, reading a cereal box, paying bills, or the rare lovely moments of sitting down to read a good book. And I always forget to write things down. Or lose the sticky note I jotted something down on to remember later. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ll hear something amazing on a podcast, and WISH I had written it down at the time so I could stew on it later. Or how many times I read something so beautiful and timely in a book and can’t find the passage again.
I came across the idea of a Commonplace Book recently, and I LOVE it! It’s a journal at its essence, but a journal with a special job to do. It’s meant to be a personal thought catalog, a way to organize and tangibly tether the amazing ideas we encounter, and a way to propel our thought lives forward as we read and just go about our everyday lives. I’m using one now, and have them for the kids too. I use it to write down anything that speaks to me, whatever that may be. It may be a hope/dream that pops into my head in the middle of doing grocery shopping. It may be a great idea I hear during a podcast. It may be a great quote I come across. When I’m reading, I have my Commonplace Book handy to copy passages that really speak to me or any thoughts that pop up while I’m reading. Basically, it captures my thought life and growth over time, as well as the books I’m reading and what I got out of them. It’s really fun to be able to go back and see the progression of ideas, inspiration that has been sparked, etc.
For the kids, it’s obviously a lot more simple. When we read books in the morning, I’ll often have them draw a picture of their favorite part/picture in their Commonplace Book, or I’ll have them dictate to me what they liked about the book and I’ll copy it for them. As they grow, they’ll be able to write whatever they want in it about what we’re reading, or their thoughts, favorite quotes, and other meaningful content. I think it will be fun to have these to go back through later!
These are a couple of great articles about Commonplace Books: