You Can’t Write a Book if You Don’t Take Notes

I discovered I was a notetaking addict in the middle of a college poker game.

“Ken, are you in?” someone asked.

I was in. In deep thought, writing about an incident that had occurred earlier in the day that I didn’t want to forget. I wrote in my journal, which I always had by my side for taking notes.

How do you take notes?

Notetaking Equipment Today

Today we have so many more options for note taking. You can take notes or speak them, at all times of day under all social circumstances. “I don’t have time” loses its meaning.

Here are a few options:


Easier for note taking than laptops because they turn on with the press of a thumb, don’t need to warm up, and are less intrusive in a crowded restaurant or lecture hall. They’re also better for browsing the web, checking emails, and playing games, Today, tablets are the most common form of personal electronic equipment besides the cell phone. Students quarantined in their homes use them for their homework.


Voice-to-text technology has been around for a long time. In the old days, it was called dictation. Today, Android and iOS devices have their versions that enable you to use voice-to-text with your notetaking apps. Memo is a popular one on Android. Evernote is another. They record text pretty accurately but not perfectly so you need to clean up your messages. On both Android and iOS devices, you have to speak the punctuation.

Pen and Notebook

And a pen and notebook. I don’t care how good technology gets. Don’t ever lose the feel of pen to paper or the different perspective you get when you edit off a printout.

  • Pens

Pens are ubiquitous. Businesses pass them out as promotions. Conference sponsors give them away to attendees as gifts along with notepads. Political campaigns tell you who to vote for on them. Keep a few in your pocket or purse at all times.

Apple pencil, important piece of notetaking equipment

Or, would you rather write notes on your tablet or cell phone? If you are part of the Apple ecosystem, you can use an Apple pencil on your iPad or iPad Pro as if you were using pen on paper. With Samsung devices you can use an S pen.

  • Notebooks

I hold a 10 ½″ x 8″, 70-page spiral notebook under my arm wherever I go.

I carry a 3″ x 5″ or 4″ x 6″ spiral notebook in my back pocket.

Which Method Is Right?

Don’t struggle with the concept. No method is always right or wrong. Use more than one.

That flash of brilliance will disappear in a minute if you don’t capture it now.

My immense thanks to Steven Sharp, 5G home account manager for Verizon, for helping me keep current with today’s notetaking equipment.

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Ken Wachsberger is an internationally acclaimed book coach and editor whose latest book is You’ve Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You. For book coaching and editing help, email Ken at [email protected]. Subscribe to Ken’s blog here.

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