GIRLS AS STORYTELLERS
THE COMMONPLACE BOOK
What is a commonplace book? According to author Ryan Holliday, "a commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organize these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do."
Here's how I think of it: basically, it’s like a journal, but one that you’re consciously thinking of as a complete piece of art. Anything can go into a commonplace book—poetry, journal entries, art, ticket stubs, photos, collage, lists, stories, or anything else that you can stick to paper with a gluestick. It’s almost like a Wreck This Journal, but with no prompts! (Although if you’re overwhelmed at the thought of starting one from scratch, buying a Wreck This Journal or something similar is another great way to document your life while expressing your creativity.)
I personally kept one commonplace book for each year of my life from my sophomore year of high school to my sophomore year of college. I titled the first one “Hollow” and actively sought to curate content that engaged with that theme in some way, but after that I let each book guide its own creation. For me, they work as a time capsule, a way for me to look back on different phases of my life and remember how I felt and how they shaped me. Below are some of the pages of my work.
Here are more examples of commonplace book pages!
You may notice that these pages are all VERY different from each other. That’s because there are no real rules defining what a commonplace book is or should be. As long as you’re working with your hands to document your life and create something new, then you’re on the right track!