Following the paper trail

There has never been anything quite so personal as writing in a journal, diary or notebook, especially in today’s look-at-me blogosphere. Writing in longhand is a private communion, and a personal bulwark against all things digital. Handwriting is the perennial... Read More

17/08/2007

Inkmusings from Chicago

I met up with Moleskinerie friend Gary Varner on his recent visit to Chicago for lunch and to catch up on the latest news. A man of many talents, he  doesn’t only write and play the guitar but takes very... Read More

16/08/2007

Advice on Novel Writing

"Different writers face different advantages and drawbacks in forming good writing habits. The circumstances of your personal life may make it easy or hard to find writing time, but time itself is not the real issue–it’s habit.  Writing must be... Read More

16/08/2007

DIY Soft Cover Moleskine Journal

I’m a writer and editor working in NYC. While I love my pocket Moleskine journal, I often wish that I had a soft cover version. The hard cover is just a little to inflexible for me, and I find it... Read More

15/08/2007

6 daily applications where paper beats software

Recently, I’ve been noticing a backlash against the trend to do everything on electronic platforms, and it mirrors some of the decisions I’ve been making as well. Last year, for instance, I put away my IPAQ in favour of paper... Read More

3. Meeting notes. For a while, I used Microsoft OneNote but despite the wonderful flexibility of the
application, the truth is it still isn’t anywhere near as flexible as writing my
own notes in a book or on paper. When I use paper, I can draw pictures, and
highlight relationships between ideas without even thinking about it. Yes,
OneNote can do that too, but while I’m thinking about the key and mouse actions
to make that happen, I’m not concentrating on what’s happening in the meeting.

4. Mind maps. There are lots of PC mind mapping
applications. I quite like MindManager. But after you’ve created a few mind maps on a
computer, you start to notice they all look the same. They’re nice and shiny and
professional looking, of course, but they aren’t memorable in the way a
hand-drawn one is. When you draw a bad picture of a factory on your paper mind
map, it’s more memorable that the perfect clipart one on screen. When your map
ends up asymmetrical because you overestimated how far a topic would take you,
it’s more memorable. The imperfections of the paper design create memory hooks
that the perfect computer versions just don’t.

5. Your journal. I’ve written about the value I get from
keeping a daily record of my life before, and I just can’t imagine doing
this in any way other than in a book with a fountain pen. I write more slowly
than I can type, and this allows me to record rather more fully-formed ideas
that those my keyboard produces. The journal can accompany me anywhere and I can
access it quickly in situations in which I’d hesitate to open a laptop. It’s
lighter, too.

6. Personal letters and greeting cards. Compare the
experience of receiving a hand-written note or card in the mail with that of
receiving an e-mail or an e-card. Someone took the trouble not just to click a
few keys, but to write you a personal message, put it in an envelope which they
then addressed, stamped and posted. Is that not a more valuable affirmation of
your relationship than a few on-screen dancing bunnies?

Ray Blake
Visit his blog, "Working on Me".

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