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Books Tech

Knowing when to use digital versus paper

Digital technologies allow us to catch everything we hear in class. Whether through type or record, it’s easy to play stenographer in the iPhone era.

The problem is that apps aren’t the best thinking tools. Because using pen and paper to write is slower, it forces your brain to think about what’s keeping and what to exclude.

The power in long-form is the pause.

However, the benefits of technology far outweigh the costs. We can get things done so much quicker. Imagine having to handwrite and deliver all your tweets to the post-office. Speed is power.

The ongoing challenge, therefore, is leveraging both analog and digital when we think they can be best deployed. Writes tech author Clive Thompson:

One of the great challenges of today’s digital thinking tools is knowing when not to use them and when to rely on the powers of older and slower technologies, like paper and books.

Clive Thompson

In order to write the future, we should consider the past. Making the brain wait with analog tools permits the tortoise-y mind to go deeper into the experience.

Categories
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.

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Uncategorized

An industry alive and well, also known as not dead yet. Paper outliers. Read More
An industry alive and well, also known as not dead yet. Paper outliers. Read More

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

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Uncategorized

Moleskine X Paper FiftyThree 

If you're a WRITER or aspiring blogger, I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

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Uncategorized

New Moleskine Logo
New Moleskine Logo

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

WordPress.com
Categories
Productivity & Work Writing

Learning on multiple formats

Learning today is chaotic. There’s always a new app for note-taking, Smart pens, and the inspirational Moleskine.

To me, both digital and paper worlds are all one stream of productivity. I typically use pen and paper to brainstorm and mind map. I love the freedom of just quickly dumping thoughts on paper and then finding a web of connections between them.

Once I establish an understanding of the big picture I start to synthesize those ideas onto my computer where they get styled and formalized so that others can comprehend them.

I also love the feeling of feeling of crumpling up that piece of paper, assuming it’s loose leaf, and tossing it. Knowing that it’s permanently digitized is gratifying.


There are moments of course when time is running short and I’ll just snap a picture of my notes and import that image into Evernote. It always helps to see how visually I came to a solution anyway.

The best notebook is the one you have with you. As a rule of thumb, you should use whatever tool is closest: pen, paper, iPhone, PC.

As previously noted, I generally like to create a hands-on mess and then progress to clean it up in final digital format.

The 21st-century working process requires flexibility and skill in different formats which if you’re open to it make you more a versatile learner and doer.