Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
There is nothing like the feeling of having a fresh unblemished notebook that is almost eager to begin its journey of documenting an epic adventure with you. That experience of touching a pencil to the page for the first time and watching the magic of a new world being created is exhilarating.
I just don’t get that vibe staring at a blank screen and a flashing cursor.
So you might be asking. Outside of the aesthetic benefits of writing your story in a notebook, what other value does it offer? I’m sure I’m not alone in saying technology in and of itself does not encourage my creativity. Sitting in front of a monitor pecking away at keys is a perfunctory activity, that lacks the stimulus required to make my writing interesting and sparkle. It drains me too, staring at that white word document does nothing for my originality. Fortunately for me, I have already written my first draft in longhand and the ingredients that will make it shine are already contained within. That’s when the more logical aspect of writing begins – transferring my notes to a Word file.
Neuroscientists have always known that handwriting is important for brain development and therefore it improves creativity. There is a whole field called Haptics which studies the interactions of touch, hand movements, and brain function. I can ascribe to its benefits in my work. The ideas I was able to come up with using a pen and paper, I sincerely doubt I would have been able to conceive on a keyboard.
I have a theory about the benefits of writing in notebooks that is to do with how the brain handles and assesses ideas and concepts. My notes are messy. misspellings, scribbles in margins, unfinished ideas, doodles, alphabetized and numbered lists, strike through words and sentences, arrows shooting from all corners of the page connecting ideas that work better together, and my favorite, the comments scattered about the pages sometimes coming from me but most times funny outbursts from the characters themselves. Then there is the process of inputting data to paper – writing or drawing. It’s a complex mental process that forces you to think in a non-linear and organic way. The stuff that breakthroughs are made of. I personally don’t think typing on a keyboard to organize your thoughts allows for this.
There’s something connective about writing on paper, something intimate. It brings you back to a time when writing was more organic, where you didn’t have instant access to research, where all that mattered was your brain and what you could do with it. You can write a great book in any way you are comfortable with but knowing some of the greatest creative minds in history have used this technique is humbling and pretty cool.