Online Commonplace Books: the disadvantages

There are certainly drawbacks to embracing the virtual realm: the loss of tactile stimulation and the limitations in visually organising one’s thoughts are the most glaring. In its primordial incarnation, the engagement of all senses with an idea can aid its development immensely, and their loss is worth considering before I commence my attempt in earnest.

A couple of online commonplace books which I think overcome such obstacles particularly well:

  • Austin Kleon, a writer/artist interested in the creative process, keeps an online scrapbook of quotes, links, videos, screenshots, photographs and scanned book pages, which has a pleasingly diverse appearance and a wealth of inspirational material.
  • The Ann Friedman Weekly, an online newsletter, sends out Friedman’s ‘What I’m Reading’ list of links in a block paragraph – the titles run together creating a chaotic explosion of ideas, and allowing new perspectives to emerge.
  • Thomas Morris, by using twitter as his space for storing inspiration, creates an effective immediacy in his clippings, a revelation of how and when he is influenced on an ongoing basis.


Thus, in keeping this blog I will attempt to diversify my presentation where possible, and to update frequently, as the inspiration strikes me.  Hopefully this shall defend against the sparse, stagnant white screen which is no aid to creativity.


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