It’s becoming as timeless as the chicken and egg question. Our whole life practically centres around the keyboard, either on the computer or the phone. If you need to write something, use the doc file. And then save it as doc or txt or xyz. Honestly, it sucks the joy out of writing. And it fills me with dread. My mind goes blank. Instead of words, it’s cold sweat. With each day, I’m being introduced to new options (maybe it was all there earlier and it’s only now that I have discovered them).
The other day I learnt how to use the audio option to write. You know the option where you can dictate, and it types so you don’t have to physically type anymore? It was fun for some time, but it wore me down. The effort I had to put to speak clearly made me focus more on my speaking and not the sentences. And that’s when I got into a debate about what is a better medium when you’re writing – pen and paper or the keyboard. And I think it’s a no-brainer which is better. Let me now share the reasons why pen and paper are any time the best option when you are a writer.
Unleashes ink-inspired creativity.
Don’t you agree that when you pick up your pen to start writing, the blank pages captivate your imagination, compelling you to fill up the vast blankness of the sheets with your rapidly multiplying ideas? Your mind works in full throttle to create those magical chains of words, held together with the colours of inks. No blue or red lines distracting you, breaking your thoughts, or highlighting errors. It’s just you and your words streaming uninterrupted on the pages, caught in the warm embrace of the pen as it unfolds your limitless imagination to the world. The sensuous tango of the pen and paper can never be compared to the hard, cold, mechanical clickety-clack of the keyboard. The pen and paper have the exhilarating power of liberating freehand expression.
Helps to flex those memory muscles.
There’s enough data available (I’m not posting any links here to show that) that stresses the importance of writing to improve better retention. And it’s so true. When you’re studying, if you write down what you’ve learnt, you’ll remember it better. It’s because you focus on what you’re writing. You can’t daydream as you write, right? So, your brain has to multitask – focus on holding the pen correctly, processing the information and then producing it through the written word onto the paper. Isn’t that magic? And if you happen to be blessed with beautiful handwriting, well you’ll always be the neighbour’s envy.
It’s just you and your paper and pen.
There’s no place for anything else when writing using pen and paper. It’s just you and your notebook and of course your unrestricted creativity. Imagine doing the same on your computer. The regular sources of distractions are available just a click away. Feeling a little tired, watch some video or jump to some social media or play a game. Writing with pen and paper asks for your complete commitment and focus, so distractions are nearly non-existent. It doesn’t ask for the font or font size nor does it check your spelling or point out mistakes. It lets you pour your heart out. Corrections are for later. Great way to get more work done.
Unrestricted expressions of creativity.
When you use paper and pen, there’s no restriction on how you want to express yourself. You can decide how creative to get with the bullets or layouts. Add doodles to make it more unique or personalise it with cute little graphics. You can scrawl or scribble or doodle or draw, embellishing your word and crafting a page which reflects you. Those mischievous doodles sprinkled across the page add value to what you’re writing, making the experience more unique and special.
Pen and paper create forever memories.
How I miss the days of letter writing! Now all I or anyone else receives are those cold impersonal emails. Doesn’t matter if it’s from a friend or a client, it is still the same screen. If you instead receive a handwritten letter or card, it’s not the content so much as the effort that touches your heart. Somebody who has taken the time (so much in short supply now) to write a few lines for you makes you feel special.
And the message can be personalised with doodles and emojis and colours, the fonts can be changed as per the thoughts. It just stays with you forever. I have got a whole box of ‘I love you’ cards from my ex-students and the birthday cards from my girls which captures their progress over the years from spidery scrawls to stick figure images to experimenting with other art forms. The contents of that box are priceless.
Trails of inspiration on paper.
Open any old notebook or journal, and there waiting for you is a treasure trove of inspiration. Pages filled with sketches, ideas, quotes, and musings offer a multitude of possibilities, waiting for you to develop them into something more concrete. A visit to the personal archive of ideas and moments can ignite your creativity, infuse you with fresh enthusiasm, fill you up with the warm fuzz of memories and inspire you to create something. It works like your personal charger.
Scribbles of Serendipity
Embrace the unexpected joy of scribbles and accidental ink blots that make your writing beautifully imperfect. Remember how the ink ran out just as you were finishing that paragraph and you picked up the other pen with a different ink colour? Or that disfigured emoji as you attempted to draw, and it turned out not quite like what was expected? These charming quirks become serendipitous companions along your writing journey, infusing your work with a touch of whimsy and reminding you that perfection lies not in flawless precision, but in the imperfect charm of your unique creations.
Fully charged and ready.
It’s perfectly portable, with no cables or chargers needed. You can sit down to write wherever you feel inspired, at a coffee shop or garden or the park or in the bus or train or plane. The pen and paper allow you the freedom to capture your thoughts in real-time, as it transpires, without the constraints of the screen. And of course, no screen time is needed; you’re experiencing live action. No need to take a break to give your eyes some rest. Helps you to keep writing and creating without taking forced breaks.
What I mean is …
There’s no comparison to the winner here. Pen and paper afford even the most undeveloped writer a medium to express his thoughts. It provides him with a platform to experiment with the words and sync them with his thoughts. And for one who knows the power of the pen, there’s no stopping the creative potential of such a person. Not everyone has access to a computer or laptop, but books, papers, pens and pencils are available to everyone. What better way to encourage literacy and literature?
It may appear a tedious and lengthy process but I do most of my writing on paper. I enjoy using different colour pens and highlighters. Haven’t returned from a stationery store empty-handed to date (the same is the case with the bookstore). Somehow I feel the flow of thoughts and words gets interrupted when typing on the keyboard. Maybe it’s old-school but I’ll stick with it for now.
What about you? Do you feel the same way about the good old pen and paper or are you more for the modern-day keyboard? Share your thoughts in the comments below so I know I’m not the lone champion of the lost art of writing with the traditional instruments of writing.
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