How I take notes

See the picture above? No, that isn’t the analog version of the “Digital Rain” effect from The Matrix. This is a sample of the shorthand I have been developing over the past couple years for taking notes at school. My handwriting is naturally bad, and making it legible takes time that I don’t have when I’m trying to write down something the teacher just said.

At this point, the character set directly corresponds to the letters in the Latin alphabet as it applies to the English language. I have started creating some rudimentary symbols for the more common words, such as “and,” “at,” and “with.” Over the course of this semester, my goal is to do more of this, along with replacing some of the diphthongs and consonant blends with a single character in order to make the writing even faster.

A lot of my characters are highly similar to the numeric characters, which can make things very confusing in a page full of cryptic letters. Therefore, all numbers are circled.

Sentences start on a new line, and the beginning of each one is marked by an exclamation mark in the left margin. If I am doing bullet points, I use a hyphen for a single bullet point. If the points are nested a lá outline notes, then I replace the parent’s hyphen with a plus sign.

My goal is to make every single member of this character set consist of only one pen stroke. This makes for faster writing times, which is essential when taking notes. The original inspiration for this idea actually came from the Graffiti “handwriting” recognition software used on Palm, Inc.’s old handheld devices.

For those interested, what I have posted below is a lexicon of the current characters I have developed. If anyone is considering using this, I can continue to update it as I introduce more characters into the collection.


4 Comments on “How I take notes”

  1. Holly says:

    I think you are evolving? How does that feel?

    • “Evolving” is the term I’ve been internally using for the development of this shorthand. It started out as English, now it’s in a transitional form. Eventually it’ll be unrecognizable compared to the original English. 🙂

  2. sara says:

    I just hopped over from your mom’s blog.

    When I began reading this post I thought your system was going to be very complicated and difficult to remember, but I see that it is just a simplified and natural evolution of the alphabet. Very nice.

    • It’s that way at this point. Who knows where it’ll go? This is the first year I’ve actually used it for anything, so I may end up majorly modifying it as the semester progresses. 🙂


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