Posted by: nancyisanders | September 17, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Notebook TOC


As I explained in an earlier post about creating writer’s journals, one of the first things I do is make a 4-page TOC or Table of Contents. I’m posting images of all 4 pages so you can zoom up close to see (if you want to know something I don’t really mention here in these posts).

First it’s just blank numbers from 1-75 or 90 or so (depending on how many blank pages I leave in the front).

Then I go ahead and number all the pages in my blank notebook in the bottom right corners.

As you can see by this first page in my TOC, I’m pretty much following the chronology of Jane’s life.

First I created page 3 about Jane herself.
Then page 4 was about her father.
Page 5 was her mother’s background.
Page 6 was about her mother.
Page 7 was her parent’s wedding, etc.
Page 8 was about when her parents moved to the home she was born in.

Then on Page 9, I took a side trail and created a page about George III and the Prince Regent because they were the rulers when Jane was born/growing up.


On the second page of my TOC I just simply continued to add research notes in a chronological order of Jane’s life, adding pages of research notes about the times she lived in such as the politics and fashions and recipes of the day.

Page 39 was about her last days of writing.
Page 40 was research notes on her death and what happened after she died.


My third page of TOC included notes on various biographies about Jane.

Then I included sections to add research notes about what was happening all over the world during her day. She lived during an amazing time!

I continued these types of notes onto the last page of my TOC.


Once again, I just want to emphasize that this was all a work-in-progress. I didn’t add entries to the TOC until after I created a page for those notes inside my journal. Then I’d come back here to the TOC and mark where that page was.


  1. Love this. When you are taking notes from various sources, how do you keep track chronologically? Thanks!

    • Thanks, Annette! And how do I keep track? Ah! That info will be in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!!!!!

  2. Perfect!

  3. Thank you for sharing Nancy! You are always so organized and thorough. That’s what makes your writing come alive.

  4. Thanks for sharing this valuable method for research note-taking/referencing!

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