I’m coming up on the second anniversary of keeping my commonplace diary, and all year I’ve been putting one quote beneath another quote, letting them talk to each other:
Sometimes I am intentional with the juxtaposition, saving a quote for the right day, but the really fun juxtapositions are the random ones when the meaning reveals itself only after the ink is dry.
Heading into my third year, it’ll be interesting to see if this still works with three, then four, then five…
In the comments of my newsletter on interviewing and wanting to be a better listener, a reader told me about an acronym people in the coaching world use frequently: WAIT, which stands for “Why Am I Talking?”
There’s something about this acronym that is more helpful and hits much harder than my usual “Shut up and listen” mantra.
I’ve taken to giving myself temporary tattoos on my arm:
I just spent the week doing promotion for the Steal Like an Artist 10th anniversary, and WAIT took on a different meaning: Why am I talking here? What am I trying to do with my words? It sort of kept me “on point.”
We are just about to break ground on my new studio. Construction always takes about twice as long as you think it will, so the WAIT on my wrist tells me to relax, stay calm, the days will accumulate.
Related reading: Hit pause
I cut out good quotes and paste the author’s name below. Then I stick them in a little envelope in the back of my commonplace diary:
Sometimes two scraps talk to each other, like this African proverb and fortune cookie. Occasionally, when I don’t have a good line for the day, I dump out the scraps from the envelope and see what I’ve got:
Sometimes if you push these scraps around they talk to each other, too.
Afterwards, the cut-up book review makes these weird little picture and caption combos, which are almost more interesting than the things I cut out…
* Brands of x-acto and glue sticks are in my gift guide.
I’ve been using mine not as an actual diary, but as a kind of commonplace book, writing a favorite quote I read or line I hear in it every day, like so:
I like flipping back through my entries and seeing if there are any threads or themes that run through the week:
I’m curious to see whether the quotes in the following years will speak to others on the same page, and what kind of juxtapositions will pop up. I could easily see this becoming my most treasured notebook. (You can get one here.)
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