From Camille Paglia, in response to the question: How did you learn to write? And there's more on her writing style and process in an interview here.
"Like a medieval monk, I laboriously copied out passages that I admired from books and articles — I filled notebooks like that in college. And I made word lists to study later. Old-style bound dictionaries contained intricate etymologies that proved crucial to my mastery of English, one of the world’s richest languages."
I never thought to describe it that way, but that's been my process too. And I've always put pen to page in actual notebooks or in the margins of books, which is why half of my storage unit in New York is full of paper! I'm growing a collection here, too. . . eventually I'm going to need a monastery.