I keep notes on scraps of paper, or full legal pad pages, or in random pages in a notebook. They are not organized in any manner except the order in which they were created and put away. I have tried doing the same on the computer (I love Evernote for this) but what I enjoy most about my paper notes is how they bring back the memories of the days and nights during their creation.One page, faded yellow and with faint blue lines and a soda can stain triggered all of the senses into taking my ming back to a January day in a warehouse full of books where I worked in 1985. That context is going to be difficult to replicate with computer based notes. I think it is valuable to get the full context behind the note because sometimes the words in the note are not complete enough to bring back the full intention of the idea behind it. For example, I wrote the line, “This, she keeps” as the title and idea for a short story. Because I remembered very concretely the day I wrote it and what was happening in my life at the time triggered by the type of paper and the pen I used, even where the paper was in relation to other notes around it, I was able to conjure the full idea much easier than if I had simply dated the note.
I’ll take this as a warning for my computer notes. To be valuable they will have to include more information about the context in which I’m writing them.