A couple years ago, my cousin stopped by and gave me a black Moleskine notebook. He was a graphic designer, and liked to use his notebooks for prototype sketches. “You can use this for your ideas,” he said. It was slightly larger than my hands. The book had a hard, durable cover, 200 ruled pages, a braided bookmark, and an elastic closure.
At first, I kept track of homework assignments with it. I jotted down assignment to-do lists along with deadlines. As months passed, I started making more uses out of the notebook.
It became a place for website designs, hackathon project plans, and scrap paper for work. I used it for notes in conferences and in self-teaching. I kept track of what my upcoming weeks were going to look like with it. I even doodled geometric drawings. I brought the notebook with me everywhere. Whenever I thought of an idea for a project, I’d write it down right away.
It was a place to keep my ideas.
The pages were completely chaotic. I filled up the blank spaces as much as possible. If you looked at it, you’d see pages overflowing with schedules, travel plans, calculations, designs, and doodles.
I also wrote my personal thoughts, goals, and stories and learned how useful it was. I learned that writing isn’t a way to record ideas. Rather, it’s a way to grow them. It’s like talking to a friend—bouncing ideas back and forth in a conversation.
Ben Kuhn illustrates how writing clarifies thoughts in his blog. It’s a graph: ideas in our heads are part of a massive graph of different thoughts that we accumulate. They’re nodes—or vertices—with myriads of edges between them. By condensing our thought clusters into a linear essay, we’re forced to understand our ideas more. Writing helps us concentrate and communicate more.
Writing is thinking.
And that’s why this blog’s name is the NOTEBOOK. It’s an online place of my writing—an online version of my physical notebook. It’s a personal challenge as well as a way to improve my writing. I also plan to share things I’ve written before from my physical notebook.
If you’re interested in this website’s design and implementation, I’ll write it all in a couple weeks! Currently, I’m using four tools to write my posts:
- a custom Markdown editor built by Joseph Ernest
- the iA Writer mobile app is useful for writing on the go.
- the Hemingway editor helps me proofread my work
- Nimran’s Read-O-Meter estimates the reading time of my posts