1 min read

Rediscovering Writing on Paper

While I was traveling in Europe, I wanted to avoid technology as much as possible. So for the first time in years, I kept my daily journal in a little green Moleskine.

It was frustrating and painful at first. I couldn't remember the last time I'd penned more than a few words at a time. But I was surprised with how much I came to love it,  I've continued journaling in my Moleskine ever since.

Basically, ASCII stewards our ideas through cyberspace much better than ink, so most of us don't write on paper anymore. But if you're someone who uses writing for private reflection, I think you should give paper a try. Here's why:

  1. Paper writing is meditation. When I sit down to write, my thoughts are usually an absolute deluge of schizo flotsam. I can keep up with my brain on the keyboard, but not with my WPM-resistant chicken scratch pen! So I have no choice but to commit to a single thought at a time. My brain jumps somewhere mid-letter? I have to pull it back, over and over again. It's just like a breathing meditation, where I repeatedly return focus to my breath. By the time I reach the second or third page, my brain always calms down, and I feel closer to peace.
  2. Paper writing is inflexible, and this makes me a better writer. It's hard to change what I write after it's written, so I more carefully consider my words before I commit them to the page. On my laptop, the flexibility of the cursor allows me to jump from place to place, so I'm less careful with how I say things, and the editing can be tedious.
  3. Paper writing integrates my experiences more deeply. I just remember my journal entries better than my typed ones. I'm guessing it's a combination of everything above, plus the physicality of my handwriting.

In this day and age, it's not feasible to use paper for all forms of writing, but I've found that it's superior for personal reflection. If this convinces you to give it a try, let me know what you think.