Note Taking

I used to use Microsoft OneNote a ton to take notes and save clips of things, but since I now am using my new Pixelbook more and more (it’s what I’m typing on now) for everyday tasks, Google Keep is my go to for saving stuff I want to write about or think about later on.

It’s so strange. Google Keep is far too simple. It’s a web based clipper of URLS, images, and lists. It doesn’t have nearly the features of OneNote, but it’s so quick and easy to use I just keep clicking on it to save stuff. Plus on a chromebook you are imbedded in the web anyway, so I think that makes me perceive that things are going faster.

Also I just take notes now in Google Docs and it’s helping me remember stuff a lot better, and create a lot more. I think that I’ve reached a point where direct and simple are more important than a bunch of features that I might use someday. OneNote is still amazing, but for some reason I just don’t really go back to it and poke around. When I feel like I want to do some writing that’s not connected to a project that I’m already into, I just open keep and poke around.

Of course I have many notebooks - drawers and drawers of them - which is my preferred way to write when in transit. Now the pixelbook’s big advantage is that it fits perfectly and comfortably on the tray of an airplane seat. It’s quite literally the best airplane computer I’ve ever seen, even better than an iPad with a keyboard case. I’ve tried everything, and this one is super great. It doesn’t feel like you are going to break the tray either. It just works perfectly and feels comfortable.

But if you don’t want to have the tray out, the notebook does fine. I always have a Muji pen or a uniball pen as those are cheap, but they move fast, they seem to not mush up your thoughts or reactions as you go, like slower pens will do. The best way to test out what you’d like to write with or on is to subscribe to ScribeDelivery which is a blind-box for notebooks and pens. I’ve learned a lot about my analog writing desires and process from them. And here in New York, being on a bus or a subway always gets me thinking about writing, so I want to have something to jot things down on.


I don’t like tiny notebooks; I really don’t have a lot of hates, but I really do hate the smallest Moleskine notebooks. They are just so rigid and bulky and the pages never sit right when you try to use them on the go. This is my current notebook that I bought in Japan at a museum gift shop. It’s perfect, plus it has that great Japanese paper, not sure what it’s called, but it has a great feeling and the ink doesn’t bleed off of it. I got another one after I opened the one I bought and tried it out so I wouldn’t run out. It’s doing pretty well so far, mostly because Google Keep is slowly encroaching on my paper notebook habits.

Keep is great for taking pictures of books and book reviews so I know what to read next. I’ve found myself slipping into the habit of taking pictures of paragraphs - something I’ve seen students do on social media - instead of writing the quote out or typing it out. I wonder how this experience with note taking changes the relationship we’d have with the note. Is it better to write it out? I have notebooks full of paragraphs I wrote out in the library because I didn’t have a laptop, or my laptop’s battery was so bad that it would not be possible to sit there with it for hours pouring over books. But the pixelbook regularly will go 8 to 10 hours without the charger. I’m just typing after all, nothing very battery intensive. But these devices seem to have the technology to where we could type out quotes and notes fairly easily. I wonder why I take photos more often then? Keep is becoming my go-to place for keeping lists of books to buy is part of it too. Easier than the old notebooks.

Yet still this semester I stopped using Google Calendar so much and have a Moleskine planner, which I love filling up with tasks. Perhaps this is all a big, slowly moving circle or something where things trade off with one another based on what I’m thinking and feeling. Or maybe there’s a process underneath that determines it based on what I’m writing about or working on.