Try This! - Collect Around Your Passion

From Katie Wood Ray:

Here is a notebook page spread from when I first began writing down beautiful craft as I was reading. This was years before I wrote WONDROUS WORDS, when I was first learning to pay attention to how things are written. I have pages and pages of these. 

Click to Enlarge these Notebook Pages

When I look back on it, I think it was really important at that time for me to copy these sentences into my notebook. If I had just highlighted them in a text, I don’t think I would have paid the same close attention to them. I think I was deepening my understanding of craft with every snippet of beautiful language I captured. 

There was even something about capturing them in such small handwriting that was important to me. I think it was that there was so much beauty compressed into such a small space in my notebook. If you could read it all, you could teach yourself so much about the craft of good writing just by studying this single page spread in my notebook. I liked the sheer heft of it. 

A notebook is the perfect place to collect. I was collecting wondrous words because that was my passion, but you might collect baseball statistics, weird animal facts, song lyrics, design sketches, recipes, names of exotic places, interview responses. Truly, the possibilities are endless. 

And with all the tools available these days for digital curating (Evernote is my favorite), you might also consider collecting news clippings, images, odd Twitter postings, animal videos—a digital collection around your interests or passions. The thing is, most writers are gatherers, and notebooks are great gathering tools.


Katie Wood Ray is the author or co-author of nine books on the teaching of writing, including WONDROUS WORDS and WHAT YOU KNOW BY HEART.  

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