commonplace booknounnoun: commonplace book; plural noun: commonplace books
- a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
I was first introduced to the commonplace book format a few years ago, back when I first got into bullet journals, and was looking up other forms of journaling. At the time, I decided to start my own commonplace journal, which was in a sketchbook style of journal, but I ended up not using correctly and ended up just doing regular ‘dear diary’ style writing in it, and ended up quickly scrapping it shortly after.
Skip forward to a few weeks ago, I came across a video on YouTube by Jordan Clark called ‘You should start a commonplace book’. It was from this video I decided to revisit the concept of the commonplace book, and I decided to start my own. Please check out the video if you would like to see another perspective/more visually pleasing description.
I had just been to my local TK Maxx, and picked up a small A6/pocket sized notebook, and was really looking for a use for it, and then I came across this video, and decided that the notebook would be perfect for this little project.
My first entry in my commonplace book was a passage I found while looking a little more into commonplace books, from Jonathan Swift’s ‘A letter of advice to a young poet’:
A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories’ and, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there.
Since then I’ve been slowly adding a few little bits, including a quote I really liked about accountability, a photo from Instagram I found really inspiring and a few passages from one of my favourite books ‘A Note to Self’ by Connor Franta. No doubt I’ll surely go on to add more, but like Jordan talks about in her video, there is no pressure with a commonplace book. It is simply something that is there, something for you to add to whenever you feel like you might like to look back on that at some point in the future, or if you come across a photo of something truly beautiful that you know you just have to capture it somewhere.
That is my/the commonplace book, and hopefully this was enough to inspire or encourage you to start your own.
See you in my next post