Finding a place for pen & paper

One of my personal struggles in this digital age is to find a place for pen and paper. There is a time and a place for the digital tools, but there is also a place for the analoge.

There is nothing I love more than to write on good paper with a good (fountain) pen.

The struggle for me is to find the proper balance. I’m obviously not going to code on paper, and I don’t keep my long term notes on paper. The frist, because that would be dumb. And the second, because I need search and update them all the time.

But there are many things that most people use digital tools for, that I prefer using pen and paper to do.

Some of them are tasks and calendaring. My main reason there is efficiency and simplicity.

Long from writing is another area where my impression is that most people do it digital only. I think there are some big advantages to do it on paper first, even though you are going to use it digitally later.

Almost everything I write starts out on a sheet of paper or a page in a notebook. For software development it is about figuring out what to do, and potential parts, before I get started. And then about writing down everything I need to remember as I go. A notebook is the perfect tool because then I don’t need to leave what I am doing to add it to some application.

Regular writing is a little bit different. A large portion of what I write is either published online or sent as e-mails. But I do write a huge amount of stuff that never go anywhere. Either because that was the intent, or because it is crap.

To write it on paper before you bring it over to something else, and in the process, rewriting it takes more time. I think it is a very good idea to do so.

We are all reading, editing, and revising everything we write. Right?

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It is just too easy to say: “Fuck it…”. And just publish it before you gave it the proper grooming; or send the e-mail before you gave it the time. I never start to write where it is going to end up.

For example: this blog post is first written in a notebook, before I transacribe(and edit it during the process) into Ulysses on my Mac. Then I make sure all the grammar en spelling is correct. I try to always give it another few rounds of reading and editing before I publish it.

This is more or less the same process I use for everything I write. It might sound like a long and unnecessary process. But it isn’t.

You are right, it takes longer time. But that is fair compromise if it makes sure the end result is better.

Use your pens and paper anywhere you want. Figure out where it works for you, and don’t work for you. The most important thing is to find the place where it improves your work.