In defense of paper

NPR recently did a story about how pen and paper are surviving in this digital age. journals

Several “digital natives” were interviewed for the story, explaining why digital matters for some things and why paper still works for other arenas. As one interviewee said,

“It’s this thing that is so intuitive. It’s between you and paper and a pen. It’s kind of meditative,” she says. “When I’m on the phone, it’s never meditative. It’s always task-y.”

Paper, Trinidad says, makes the abstract tangible, in a way that digital devices don’t.

I’m nearing the end of my current journal and eagerly anticipating the start of the new one. Under my bed, I have a whole plastic bin full of my old filled journals.

The paper — the act of writing it down — does make the abstract more tangible. For INTJs like Stacie and me, journaling helps makes feelings real. It also makes things concrete. This happened. I felt these things about that happening. These questions are in my head right now.

As another person said in the story, “The stuff that really matters goes on to paper.”

I always keep my to-do lists on paper. Tasks are real when I write them down.

When I need to learn something, I take copious notes by hand. I had 50-some pages of handwritten notes from the AFP conference this year, even though slides were available online. I take notes on Sunday sermons every week in my journal too. There is such a brain-hand connection for me for learning (the article talked about that too.)

Digital is great. I would be lost without my Outlook calendar and adrift without the connections afforded by email and social media.

But when it matters, paper.



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