Why Creatives Should Work with Pen and Paper

February 15, 2018

When was the last time you sat down with a pen and paper to brainstorm? Most people have their laptop or an app to keep notes, but, did you know that using a notebook to lay out your ideas can boost your creativity?

Plus, there is something so nice about sitting down with a well-made notebook and a cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing), and jotting down your ideas. See? You’re already feeling more creative!

Here are three reasons you should work with pen and paper more often.

1. It Lights Up Your Brain

The simple action of taking notes by hand can increase comprehension and mindfulness. Headspace wrote,

“Recent neuroscientific research has uncovered a distinct neural pathway that is only activated when we physically draw out our letters. And this pathway, etched deep with practice, is linked to our overall success in learning and memory.”

When it comes to taking notes and retaining information, studies show that writing by hand produces more thoughtful and effective note-taking. According to Scientific American, “It appears that students who use laptops can take notes in a fairly mindless, rote fashion, with little analysis or synthesis by the brain. This kind of shallow transcription fails to promote a meaningful understanding or application of the information.”

2. It Slows You Down

You might be thinking that slowing down is a bad thing. But when it comes to creativity, slowing down can help you to be more decisive. Because handwriting requires more mental energy than typing on a keyboard, you tend to be more engaged in what you are doing. Forbes wrote, “Handwriting increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, similar to meditation. According to a study performed at the Indiana University, the mere action of writing by hand unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way.”

3. It Limits Distraction

Laptops can be incredibly distracting: from messaging apps, to email, to social media notifications, to browsing the web, there is no end to the distractions when you are on your computer. Creative thinking happens when the mind has time to concentrate and to wander on its own. If you’re constantly bouncing around between emails, messages, and Facebook updates, you’re not allowing yourself to fully settle into the creative zone. With pen and paper, you can put away distractions and allow yourself to concentrate on the task at hand. Even daydreaming can be a beneficial part of the creative process, according to Association for Psychological Science. You’re not going to daydream if you are constantly distracted.

Next time you find yourself sitting down for a personal brainstorming session, try digging out the pen and paper. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.