The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

In Praise of Paper

I’ve got a backlog of things I’ve read that related to paper, notebooks, journaling and the like. This week felt like the right time to share a few with you.

How to Save the Day, Repeatedly, with a Notebook

Michael A. LaPlante makes the case for writing things down in order for them to be of use to you later. Well, he lists two benefits, the other being to capture your creative ideas. In a sense, this is journaling as many people see it. And I’d certainly recommend it as a valuable use of time for anyone.

I’ve shared a similar habit for myself when it comes to my job. A part of my journaling habit is to write one entry per day that summarizes what I’ve done. That has been very helpful to review why some decisions were made, or to recall what I did on a specific day.

A new (to me) concept for keeping a notebook

In a related theme, Shaunta Grimes shares how the concept of a commonplace book made using notebooks click for her. It was basically how she has used a notebook for so long, but without her being aware of such a thing. In her case, this usage fits well for paper notebooks.

In her post, she’s very clear on what this is not:

I’m not talking about a journal. I’ve never been great at journaling. This isn’t a reflective thing. Just a notebook for writing down my ideas or other people’s thoughts or what other people have to teach me.

Instead it’s a notebook:

…that I carry around with me and write lists, bits of eavesdropped conversation, notes from a meeting, recipes, reminders, quotes, ideas for projects.

Over time, you get a lot of joy building up this resource you can draw from again and again. If you’d prefer a digital tool for creating this type of resource, may I suggest using Day One? Here’s my setup (a 3 part series).

Collected Goodness

On the topic of commonplace books, Drew Coffman has been kicking some butt on this topic. He decided to take this idea and make it available to anyone. He recently created Collected Goodness, a site where he shares books, podcasts, movies, and web articles. Oh, and poetry and Scripture as well. That’s impressive on its own.

But he also takes the time to share choice excerpts from each, as well as his own thoughts. Just writing extensive notes like this is impressive, let alone setting up something where he can share it with the world.

That’s envy I’m expressing there, Drew.

How To Improve Yourself With Journaling

Last, Darius Foroux shares how journaling can make you a better person. There’s no shortage of articles on this subject. But he makes the case that we’re bad at this habit because no one ever shows us how to do it. He then proceeds to share some tips on how to become a successful journal keeper.

First, get clear on your why. For me, there’s only one reason to keep a journal: To manage myself.

Again, there’s no shortage of this type of article in 2018. What I liked about this one is the brevity, the solid advice in 3 short tips, and the absence of nonsensical blathering.


If you frequent Medium or places like The Cramped, you'll note that this current focus on pen, paper, and other analog tools is not new. However, it does seem to be a trend that is on the rise.

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