Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. They have been kept from antiquity, and were kept particularly during the Renaissance and in the nineteenth century. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts. Each one is unique to its creator’s particular interests but they almost always include passages found in other texts, sometimes accompanied by the compiler’s responses. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
As soon as I heard about the idea of a commonplace I was immediately interested and wanted to start keeping one myself. But then I soon realised — my website is kind of on the way to becoming what I would call my own commonplace. I tend to write about a bunch of things that interest me, and had even begun saving quotes from the few books I read.
Not only will this give me a new angle at which to come at mt personal site from, I think it will even aid in ridding me of the occasional writer’s block, whatever that is. If I start writing little and often — some personal notes and some posts — it can only do good things for my writing habits. 🙂