Slow writing: more beautiful words

Reading The Cramped

Lately, there’s been a movement towards more tactile writing experiences, especially those writing experiences involving pen and paper. Excellent sites like The Cramped show people who are perhaps not aware of the beauty and the advantages of writing with a (fountain) pen on paper just what it’s all about. I can only recommend the site, not only because of its content, but because it has some wonderful writers as well.

Fundamentally different writing experiences

In my personal experience, there is a marked difference between writing on a computer and using your hand – better even, your whole body – to form the words with some kind of writing instrument instead of tapping with just your fingers. Even your choice of writing instrument will influence the speed and care with which you write, altering the entire writing experience. Take a pencil, for example. Then a gel pen. Then a fountain pen. You’ll see.

Speed of writing

The slower and more careful your instrument obliges you to write, the more aware you become of writing and of your writing, and the more considerate your writing will be. Your words are being formed more beautifully on paper, and that extra moment of consideration makes the words used more beautiful, more relevant as well.

Let me illustrate: I most often take meeting notes with a gel pen. It’s a quick writing instrument, ideal for capturing words which are not my own. That writing is not beautiful writing. It is entirely functional, aimed at providing capture of and some quick reflection on what was said during the meeting.

On the other hand, I think with a fountain pen. A fountain pen requires a more considerate, slower approach. Legibility, such as the avoidance of smearing ink all over the place, is entirely down to my presence when writing. If I do not take the time to form the words, thinking about them as I write them down, I end up with a lot of colored smudges on paper, bearly legible and disjounted, and not much else.


These fundamental differences make writing on paper with a fountain pen one of the most deliberate and present, aware experiences I know. It is one of the most mindful experiences I know.

I do invite you to try it. You’ll see.