By Katherine Epstein

Why keeping an aerial notebook is SO important!

I have never been good about starting something and finishing it, so that fact that I’ve stuck with aerial arts for more than a year and am working on my second performance is some kind of miracle. When I started aerial, I kept hearing from my trainers and fellow aerialists that I needed to keep a notebook to document what I was working on and track my progress. “For what?” I thought.

I started out scribbling notes on little pieces of paper. They would get thrown in my gym bag, never to be seen again. I day I finally broke down and got a notebook....and lost it five days later. and had to get another. And then I forgot where I put that one…

Ok, I clearly needed a new strategy— so I found a notebook that resonated with me. It has a drawing of an aerialist on the cover and just looking at it gives me motivation. I even started sleeping with it within reach because I now find myself waking up in the middle of the night, jotting down an idea, going back to sleep and not even remember doing so. It’s become a part of my life.

Not only is it better than checking my cell phone in the middle of the night, it has actually helped me see progress in my aerial practice. Here’s why (as always) my trainers were right and it’s SO important to write things down:

Piecing together ideas – visually

Watching videos of yourself or your instructor performing a sequence is imperative, but envisioning concepts on paper can also be helpful. Writing down the names of moves you’ve done or want to try will help produce a roadmap in your mind. Make your notes messy. Draw arrows. Or pictures. Whatever makes sense to you and reminds you of what you were trying to create. Do that. And do it again. 

Creating a progressive checklist – without even realizing it

If you are like me, you may find yourself focusing on one bad training day after 3 weeks of great ones. By keeping a notebook, I learned to use my to-do (or yeah right, I’d like to do that) notes as checklists. My goal is to check one thing off from a previous list at a practice and add something new that I accomplished in class. And hopefully add 3 more things to work on. My notebook documents little reminders that one bad training day doesn’t dismiss all of the other good ones.

Rejogging your memory – by working out your brain

Just like aerialists develop muscle memory, we also need method for creative memory. Writing down things you practiced in class, wish to accomplish or devised in your brain is a good way to revisit things. We often become so bogged down in working on a few moves or sequences that we forget about something that was once on our radar. It will keep your practice flow fresh and your creativity as rock solid as your aerial abs. 

All the other stuff – to keep moving forward.

I started using my notebook to write down things not only about what I’m working on, but all of the other creative things that go along with aerial arts like good songs, choreography blueprints and training schedules. On my aerial anniversary, I wrote myself a congratulations note. (You’ve been doing aerial for how long? Go you!) Little reminders to yourself never hurt. 

However you decide to track your progress, just remember that you are always moving forward. So go get a notebook and check that off your list as an aerial accomplishment.

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