About taking notes with pen on paper

I’m probably one of the more technologically inclined people within my environment. I use an iPhone, work quite a lot with an iPad as one of my main tools, communicate on WhatsApp, use markdown as a language to write documents which I export to Microsoft Word for those who have yet to master the art of working with a real text editor.

And yet, my to do lists are written by hand, as are most of my notes I take during meetings. And I walk around with this fountain pen and this journal which I write in all the time. And there is a very, very good reason why I do this.

I recently came across this article, called aptly “In Praise of Slow Writing”. The author echoes something I have felt for a long time:

"In some ways writing has become a substitute for the spoken word and we are trying to “talk” as fast as we can to “get it done.””

Our digital tools rob us from the luxury and the need to slow down and take the time to think about what we are going to communicate. We tap, we send, we no longer consider. Be it texts, emails, or any significant writing, we do it as fast as possible to get it done.

But there is an almost forgotten savouring in writing something slowly. A need to slow down your thinking when you are writing longhand, a slowing down which almost automatically leads to deeper consideration and yes, to deeper thoughts. As the article states:

“Releasing the temptation of Task (with a capital “T”) fills us with guilt in the beginning because we aren’t “doing” anything. Ridding ourselves of the need to succeed today, now, this instant, may clear out our minds of dark clouds. It may be in that widening space that the words can begin to flow again."

I would invite you to read the article, to consider your own writing habits, and perhaps, if I can tempt you, to go out, buy a journal and a fountain pen and take the time to really think and write. Not as a chore, but as a very, very pleasurable exercise.