Taking Note – Playing in the Field of Curiosity

blank pageFor any writer who wants to keep a journal, be alive to everything, not just to what you’re feeling, but also to your pets, to flowers, to what you’re reading. – May Sarton

Keeping a journal or notebook to record not only your inner landscape but you observations of the world around you can make your life much more vibrant and alive. There is a long list of famous people who kept journals or notebooks. Anthropologist Margaret Mead, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Winston Churchill, Franz Kafka and Virginia Wolfe are just a few. The great geniuses and innovators kept their child-like sense of wonder and curiosity alive. Keeping a journal can help.

It’s easy to start. Get a bound blank book, or you can start with a cheap spiral notebook. Date your entries. Begin by describing your surroundings, the current state of your life as well as your hopes, dreams, desires or questions. Put down anything you are curious about or whatever wants to spill out on to the page. If you are a writer, this is a good way to loosen up.

Leonardo Da Vinci actually carried a notebook attached to his belt and recorded anything he was curious about, any image he saw that drew him, any ideas that popped into his head or any questions that came to him. He insisted that passionate curiosity about all of life was one of the keys to his genius and remarkable accomplishments.

Short-term memory only retains information for three minutes. Unless committed to paper, an inspired idea forever can be lost forever. You can use your journal to record all the ideas and inspirations that flash into your mind. Plus paying close attention to the world and asking questions actually invites the subconscious mind into play increasing your creative and mental capacities.

So try what Leonardo did. Keep a notebook with you at all times. It could simply be a small spiral bound one that fits in your back pocket. Do it for a week and see if it doesn’t awaken your sense of amazement for the beauty and complexity of the world.

I’ve started doing this, making note of the reflection of trees on the surface of a pond, the hawks crying out as they circle overhead, the newborn baby asleep in a stroller rocking back and forth with the motion, and the power of horses racing across a field.

I’ve kept a journal for over 40 years. It’s added so much to my life and my writing. Carrying one with me everywhere has me opening to appreciating the world around me on a whole new level and making connections I would have missed otherwise.

If you enjoyed this article consider subscribing to my free monthly newsletter. Just click on the mail list subscribe in the column on the left. Thanks.

2 Responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing this Susan
    It’s a good idea !Reminds me of when I was young
    I wrote a lot Somehow stopped doing that For years i stopped because everything had to be perfect and it wasn’t in my eyes But Iam older and learned that keeping a journal doesn’t have to be perfect because life isn’t perfect and i don’t have to be perfect Does that make sense? Reading this gives me the last push that i needed to start again Thanks!


    suzanne Reply:

    Yes that makes “perfect” sense Susan. Thinking we have to do anything perfectly can stop us from doing anything. Life and creativity are messy. Keeping a journal can help us make meaning of the mess. Have fun with your journal.


Leave a Reply