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03 Aug 2017
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#ScrapNotes: The Complete Guide to Book Summaries

With my last blog post “#ScrapNotes: How to Begin Your Journey Down the Rabbit Hole”, I hoped to pique your interest and provide information. With this post, it is my intent to share my process. You may have had a sip of the #scrapnotes potion and now your ideas are so big that you can’t seem to fit them through the door… or into your notebook. I may be a bit mad… but the process that I share should help you keep the journal jabberwocky at bay or at the very least… tame him or her. 😉

But before I do that, I would like to share a disclaimer. Please know that I am not one for fads. I am, however, one that shares ideas, tools, and processes that work for me… in hopes that they may fill a need for you too. I also think that the pendulum between analog and digital is always swinging. I went all digital with notes several years ago and for some things… it totally makes sense. But for others… it doesn’t. I began navigating this analog terrain again at the end of 2015. Since then, I have filled up 4 notebooks and started 3 more and I have to say I haven’t felt this organized and happy in years.

MY HOW

With that being said… I would like to snap (wait for the pun… or the Snapguide… in the case) my fingers and share with you my process. For this I felt like returning to the tried and true tool, Snapguide. There are many different things you can do with a notebook and we will cover a multitude of them in the next few blog posts. For this post… I wanted to narrow in solely on the process of reading or book summaries. I enjoy reading (both personally and professionally) and I am one of those people that loves to highlight in my book. What I was discovering is that I had a bookshelf of books with highlights and post-its but no easy way to commit that info to memory or practice… or to easy access…. until now. So here is my process:

  1. Read and Highlight: Read a book and highlight as I read.
  2. Tuck Away: Set book down for a few weeks. I find that by putting the book down for a bit, I tend to make better decisions about what highlights were really important a few weeks later and only transcribe and #scrapnote those.
  3. Title Page: Create a page that includes the title of the book and the author and the date I am transcribing the notes. I like to mimic the font and color of the book just for fun.
  4. Review Notes: Review the book’s highlights and begin adding info to your notes.
  5. Create a Color Hierarchy: Use only 2-3 colored pens. I try to match the color of the book or the theme. I tend to use one color for headers and one color for subheaders so it provides a nice visual hierarchy.
  6. Visualize with Icons: Icons tend to encompass a multitude of ideas and are easily recognizable. While I can’t conjure and draw these visuals from memory, I am able to look at icon sites and recreate similar visuals.
  7. Embellish Away: Embellish notes with washi tape, stickers, labels, and mementos. Washi tape and labels also serve as a great way to create sections on a page or a visual hierarchy and/or divide.

I think it helps to see visuals for each so I crafted a Snapguide (linked here) to do the trick.

Check out How to Create #ScrapNotes Book Summaries by Lisa Johnson on Snapguide.

MY PROCESS

I would like to get a wee bit more granular with this as multiple people have asked me about the organization of this process. While I am transcribing notes, I typically keep a page for:

  1. Research: I am always collecting research and I don’t always want to return to the book to recall a percentage or study. This page is typically a bulleted list. If the book is super research-heavy, then I include 2-3 pages devoted just to this.
  2. Lexicon Library: I am an author and I have always loved words and phrases. Anything that strikes my fancy gets added here. As this is not the main point of the book, sometimes I will paste a card to a page so I can add this info in there so it doesn’t detract from the rest of the content I am summarizing.
  3. Quotes and Insight: I have always had a hankering for quotes. Anything I find especially pertinent gets added here. I do try to use shorthand and abbreviations as much as possible. I also include page numbers. This is also where I start adding icons, illustrations, and visual equations.

The best advice I can give you… is just start. My process has evolved and been fine tuned over the past two years. If I had waited for it to be perfect, I would never have discovered which way to go. After all… sometimes when you wonder… you find your path.

#scrapnotes are BORN!

If I am using my Moleskine or Luechtturm1917 (which I do for my book summaries), then the pages tend to be a little thinner. This is when I take notecards, postcards, scraps of art, or really anything that adds to the content (both in idea or visually). I add these items in with permanent double-sided tape. Then, I get fanciful with my embellishments and add washi tape and stickers. The items also provide a nice visual hierarchy. Honestly, you could totally leave the fanciful embellishments out, but I have to tell you… this is one of my favorite parts and what makes me so happy each time I open a page to review my notes. Another thing I have noticed is that these visuals tend to heighten my memory for the book and the process. I can often remember where I was when I took the notes and what I was doing at the time.

Please don’t forget to check out NoteChef4u instagram for 80+ #scrapnotes examples and Pinterest for 180+ examples and resources to create the “Organized Brain” or at the very least… an organized notebook.

#scrapnotes… the NEXT CHAPTER…

Stay tuned for the next blog posts in the series (or catch up on previous ones):

 

WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?

If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email techchef4u@gmail.com.

And… Check out her latest creation… the book “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.”


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