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Arts Culture Tech Writing

On keeping notebooks

Gif of person handwriting on paper with a pen

It’s no surprise that in a screen-obsessed world, the slower traditional version of handwritten notetaking is becoming increasingly popular.

There’s something about long-form writing that emphasizes the importance of each word. Typing on the keyboard moves faster than we can think. Writing by hand provides just enough disfluency or pause to sync the mind with the prose. The result of usually something more profound and insightful rather than repetitive and shallow.

Writes Josephine Wolff in the Washington Post:

One reason I’m so transfixed by notebook experts is that their systems bring together free-form, individualized artistic expression and the structured formatting and rigid rules of computer science. This may be key to the appeal of notebooking: In an increasingly algorithmic world, these systems let us crack open the black boxes of our lives, allowing us to develop systems of our own and helping us figure out what matters to us along the way.

Whether that notebook is a bullet journal, a legal pad or looseleaf paper, when you spill your thoughts in long-form you tend to remember it more. Paper just works. What sticks gets compartmentalized and oten resurfaces to importance later.