📹How Does a Content Creator Take Reading Notes

This article is an interview with Chun Xiaoxi, a Malaysian Chinese content creator on YouTube. In this interview, she poured out all of her note-taking skills on flomo and her reading method. If you are going to be a content creator and a bookworm, you are gonna love this. Enjoy~

Q: Could you share with us your background?

I am Chun Xiaoxi, a Malaysian Chinese, and a content creator. I have been running my YouTube channel all by myself for three years. Now I could support myself with the income, and I really enjoy my work and life. I mainly publish my videos on YouTube, and you can find me by searching the keywords “Xiaoxi’s Channel”.

While shooting videos, I will write scripts in advance. Most of my scripts for videos are similar to articles. And I am a book worm. Reading is my hobby and of course, my way to understand life.

Q: So what are you reading lately?

I have a wide range of choices. As for fiction, I love science fiction, mysteries, and classic literature; while for non-fiction, I love politics, social science, and popular science. Recently, I am reading Range, Chaos, Why Buddhism is True, Seeing in the Dark, and Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track, and I am re-reading The Ocean: Another Unknown Universe.

Part of the readings is for shooting videos. The subjects of my videos are mainly life and reading. Sometimes I talk about politics and news. Meanwhile, reading is also for entertaining myself and generating thoughts.

Q: How do you use flomo while reading?

I mentioned it in some of my videos.

My habit is to take notes while reading. When I write enough words for a card, I’ll start a new one. So technically, you can split a book into tons of cards. As for those books without much information, maybe two or three cards will be enough.

Normally, the first-level tag is “Book”, and then the name of the book, and that of the chapter. If necessary, I will add the page.

I will write some comments. If my comment is short, I will use brackets and write my comment in it. Otherwise, I will change a line and label it as a comment.

The advantage of comments is that you can distinguish the information and your understanding.

While reading, there is a difference between “next to a laptop” and not. And also, reading books is different from reading e-books.

It is convenient when you are reading next to a laptop. Say, while reading an e-book, you can split the screen on your laptop, and one screen for the book, another for flomo. So you can easily highlight notes, write down your thoughts, or link your notes on flomo.

If I am reading a paperback next to a laptop, there is not much difference. I still open flomo and take notes, which brings me into the zone. I won’t take excerpts of long paragraphs. But if they are short, I will directly type them on flomo.

When I don’t have a laptop at hand, it means I read in the room before I go to sleep. I have a loose-leaf notebook in the room, so I will write down those important notes in it. Later on, I transfer these notes to flomo.

Q: Can you share with us a few of your reading notes?

The following card is one of my reading notes. The sentences in the brackets are my comments.

(Note: considering the original notes are Chinese, we edit them into English)

I will summarize all of the notes I take into one card, which is easy to generate some insights.

It is similar to this index card of A Hundred Ways of Reading. Well, this book doesn’t have a category. Since there are a hundred ways, I think perhaps I could categorize them by myself. So I put all the similar ways of reading together. After finishing that, I wonder how they can connect with each other. So I summarize all cards of reading methods together into one card. And here it is.

Well, most of the time, such connections are cross-books. So I will use the tag #Books/0/Connections to mark the notes, or I will use #Permanent/Connections.

Q: So when will you make such an index card? Or say, what goal do you want to achieve by making such a card?

Xiaoxi: For sparks, you know. Just try to put them together and see what’s gonna happen. Maybe something fun! I personally think it is a good way to generate insights, so you can try it as well.

Q: What do you do after taking these reading notes?

  1. Sometimes when I take notes, I already have a topic or area in mind. So I will tag the notes with specific areas. If the card only has the name of the book, which means it is uncategorized, I will leave it for later review.

But I won’t categorize the card unless I have a clear thought of putting it in which area.

If reviewing notes is for testing my storage and retrieval of information, I will write down all my memory about this book on another card. And then I will check my previous notes to see if I got all of them.

Actually, if you are clear about which area this card should be put into, then just set tags directly. You don’t have to put the card under #Books or #Documents, which are meaningless categories. Because where notes are from is not as important as where to use notes. If you only tag your notes with their origins, perhaps you are just “collecting” notes.

But here is a problem. The reason why I take notes can hardly be clear while I am taking them. It takes time to reveal the meaning of notes. So it is not a good idea to categorize notes immediately.

In such a circumstance, #Books and #Documents are equal to a thought cache that contain uncategorized notes.

  1. After finishing a book, I may read some relevant materials such as interpretations. For example, when I finished Metamorphosis, I went to find a few interpretations and add more notes.

  2. Notes could be the materials for writing articles or say, a library for creators. It can generate a large number of ideas and insights.

  3. Taking notes allows you to be in the zone. You can’t remember what you don’t understand at all, so taking notes can help you to absorb the information.

Q: What experiences can you share with us?

  1. Sometimes I will put serial numbers in my reading notes. One reason is that it is easier to read. Another reason is that when I annotate and link the MEMOs, I will know which number of notes I annotate.

  2. I didn’t take very long reading notes, but after much practice, now I can write several hundred words on a card. And as for those complicated and unfamiliar concepts, I can even write down more than a thousand words.

I will put my paraphrases, original materials, my comments, understandings, and thoughts all into one card, just like the following one.

While reviewing notes, I will organize the cards by deleting a few unnecessary sentences and adding something new.

  1. I have been used to opening flomo in several tabs. One is for writing a diary, one is for taking reading notes, another for taking permanent notes, etc. So when I am taking notes, I will link these notes or add some new thoughts.

Q: Does flomo bring any change to your work or life?

Of course! It is assuring you to save all the things you need to remember in one place. Taking permanent notes make me get used to “capturing thoughts and categorizing them”. I used to write in my diary but I didn’t categorize notes, which was not sustainable.

Besides, I find that after using flomo, I am better at citation.

In one of my videos, I cited about 20 books for reference. I was astonished. Perhaps this is the compound interest of knowledge. Since I am interested in various topics, flomo allows me to take several or tons of cards all by my wish. Now I am reading with the freedom of wandering among books like a bee gathering honey in the book garden.

I am also learning to organize better documents, achieved on flomo. I feel great using it.

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