I never quite realised how much I love writing on paper until last week. I found myself in a state of mind that was quite cluttered and in need of organization. Now normally, I would just have opened up the notes section on my phone and start jotting things down. But this time I did something a little different. I opened up my paper notebook and started writing.
I instantly felt a sense of relief and release, the movement of my hand across the page was truly liberating - almost as if it was my first time handwriting, ever.
When we're considering the choice of handwriting vs typing, handwriting will always have certain benefits that just can't ever be replaced. I believe that handwriting will perpetually have a place in our society, even as computer technology continues to dominate every task we carry out.
The way I see it, typing get things done. It makes it easy for people to actually be able to read your writing and it enables us to share the writing electronically. But handwriting goes a step further. It solves the problem psychologically, at least that's what I find.
Writing by hand can be quite therapeutic - and I think calmly observing your own handwritten words has a lot to do with it. It makes you feel at peace with the world.
Here's an example: writing down your goals on paper. When I write down my goals on paper, I feel fully in control. It's better than simply typing them up. The goals feel real and achievable when I've written them by hand and perhaps even sealed it at the end with my own signature. The words come alive as something tangible and close, not just words that I stare at on a screen. Words on a screen have a tendency to feel generic, as if they might apply to anyone.
I also tend to think a lot more about what I'm writing when I write by hand. The whole experience is relaxing and thought-provoking. To have technology-silence and to not be on your phone or laptop is quite a rare thing for us these days, and so you tend to savour every second. Every second alone with your thoughts, pen, and paper.
If you've not written with pen and paper (for yourself) in a while, you might feel quite awkward. It may even feel cheesy. But after a few sentences trickle out, you start to make that connection again, you start to taste the freedom, and it pulls you to explore further.
The other day I told myself that I was going to write a page. About anything I wanted. But very soon I was writing page(s). Within seconds of my pen touching the paper, I started to really get the hang of it. I began to have a great time.
There could be many metaphors for handwriting vs typing. Typing is like talking in a formal interview while handwriting is like a comfortable chat where you're confiding in your best friend...but it's yourself. Typing is like going to the gym and following a prescribed workout, whereas handwriting is like playing a game of beach volleyball, trailblazing through an obstacle course, playing a leisurely game of tennis...
Handwriting just seems to embody a certain type of freedom and creative flow that cannot be found elsewhere. When I write on paper, I'm not distracted by word count, font, font size or anything like that. The size and font is whatever naturally flows from my fingers. It's mine, and it's unique.
So am I ever gonna give up on paper? Will pen and paper stop being my pals in 2030?
I'm never going to let go of writing on paper. In those moments when I needed to be comforted by my own handwritten strokes, I'll turn to paper. In those moments when I want exclusivity and total privacy - to keep my thoughts as far as possible from the world but still written down, I'll do it on paper. Writing on paper is still beautiful, and it can remind of us those years when we were much younger and used to spend more time with
with pen and paper,
with our supple, eager minds...
Even now as I'm typing on the keyboard, I'm almost twitching to get offline and open to a fresh page in my notebook. To be able to sit, ponder and draw out a plan, or frankly, just ramble.
To be able to write away, in the full sense of the word.
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