In many ways I think my attachment for my smartphone is born out of my same attachment for notebooks and pens. The later preceded the former when my father gifted me a translucent purple covered a6 pocket notebook at high school. The point was to write my tasks and assignments so I wouldn’t have to rely on my very fallible memory and instead stay organized and on top of things.
The reason it stuck was because I also had a set of bright neon pens that I used to reimagine the cover and pages inside.
Nethertheless, the notebook did it’s job and lead to a transformative moment in my life. I can divide my life into the disorganized forgetful mess I was before I had my first notebook, and the increasingly organizing and effective person I am still becoming since then.
When I went looking to get my first smartphone, the one feature I wanted was a good calendar so I could replace my paper one. I didn’t care about any games or the camera, they were of far lesser importance than the calendar and notes. To this day, my calendar, task manager and notes app are in my top five most used apps (the camera and podcast app are also present).
But despite the usefulness of these applications, there’s still something delightful about paper and pen. The blank page is a creative curse, but it can also be an inspiring invitation.
A blank page can become a picture, a task list, a quick doodle for no reason, a profound quote to be remembered, or a brain dump of ideas and concerns regarding a project.
As great as my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are, they aren’t the same as a good pen and notebook.