Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Pen and paper? Or all digital?

My writing buddy and I have been talking stationery. (My writing buddy is Stuart Lennon. You can follow his news here: http://stuartlennon.com/ Pop over there (the link opens in a new window; you won't lose me), have a browse of his great blog, sign up so you don't miss his news and then come back. It's fine. I'm not going anywhere).

Stuart and I were talking stationery after we'd both just bought a pile of notebooks. I'm an inveterate 'plan on paper' person. I need to write things by hand before I go near a computer. Stuart wasn't so sure, initially, but then, it's always been my intention to take over the world and convert it to using beautiful stationery and Stuart was 'convinced' by my arguments! Consequently, we now have some great chats about notebooks, fountain pens and ink!

writing in a notebook
[image by unsplash on pixabay]

When I once said I used notebooks to plan a book, a friend was amazed. "I'm surprised that you don't write it all on the computer. Is there a reason for that?"

Well, yes. There are several!

My brain cannot launch straight into writing a whole book into a blank document without any planning (a lot of planning. See here for my post on it). Okay, so why don't I do the planning on the computer too? For at least three reasons - one is that I seem to think better and feel more creative when I'm writing by hand. The words flow and ideas pop far more than if I sit and type the same things. Secondly writing is such a wonderful, tactile experience, one that tapping away at keys doesn't even come close to! The flow of a solid fountain pen across a silky-smooth page in a gorgeous notebook... what could be nicer? Thirdly, I need to be able to see these notes when I do start typing and I can't be doing with clicking between windows on the computer to look at things. I want the notebook on my desk so that I can flip through the pages. I guess a fourth one would be that the batteries never die on a notebook, and a fifth one that I can take a notebook out and about in my bike saddlebag without fear of damage. Not sure I would risk my laptop that way!


My desk is just like this! Apart from the laptop being older, the desk messier,
the phone less 'smart', a pot of tea not coffee and a LOT more notebooks!
[image by kpgolfpro on pixabay]

I have at least one A4 notebook for each book I'm writing. Plus my general carry-around notebook, plus a whole heap more that each have specific roles. (Plus even more, that I bought because they were beautiful but I haven't quite got around to using yet.) I can't imagine not planning my books, shopping, day, life on paper, but I realise I may be a dying breed.

The daughter of a good friend often looks at me as if I've grown an extra head when I say I write things by hand. I suspect it's a generational thing. I don't think she ever does any writing by hand unless her job demands it. If she needs to remind herself to do something, she tells her phone. In fact, she tells her phone a lot of things. My phone would look at me as if I'd gone mad if I told it to remind me that I needed to buy milk or that I had to make a dental appointment. It would look pointedly at my (paper) diary and say, "Write it in there! I'm a phone, not your PA!" Of course, many phones are PAs these days, though mine isn't!

I'm interested in knowing if it really is a generational thing, or if it's a creativity thing. Do digital-natives reach for a pen and paper if they want to write creatively? Do non-digital-natives reach for the phone or tablet/laptop for non-creative things? Or am I just a dinosaur and almost no one reaches for a pen and paper for anything any more??

Which camp do you fall into? Pen and paper? Mostly digital? A 50:50 blend? Let me know in the comments?

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