Inspired by Pens and Notebooks In the age of digital, pens and journals never go out of style for creativity, writing and design work.
Don't fret if everyone else is using a mobile digital device for work or for school. If you're still stuck with pens and a notebook or journal, you may actually be better off! The mobile digital device is only useful for access to the web as its primary advantage. If you have a mobile phone, communication is never really a problem unless your batteries run out, your pre-paid sms load runs out, or the grid goes offline.
But for keeping creative, remembering notes and information, designing stuff, planning anything, doodling, and coloring, or even writing that novel you've been planning but never getting around to doing, having a premium notebook handy is priceless.
Finding ways to keep using pens and a journal or sketchbook is still your best bet to keeping an edge over everyone else. I remember my teacher in Art school telling us a story about a black-out or a virus knocking out the computer systems in one design house...and all the digital artists just kicking back and relaxing, while he pulls out a sheet of paper and some art tools and continues his work by hand, to the amazement of his co-workers. He could have his work digitally scanned later anyway.
Here are some ideas for keeping creative with notebooks and writing instruments:
Keep a journal – Treat yourself to a really nice notebook and write what interests you (not necessarily a 'dear diary' experience). A journal helps you write better too if you are bent on keeping your chops from getting too dull. After you fill up a journal, it still does make for a precious memento for marking time in your life aside from being a resource for future ideas, and planning what to do.
Doodle - Doodling can help us concentrate and remember smarter. An art journal or sketchbook is a source of inspiration and it also helps you vent frustration in a creative and productive outlet. Keep at it consciously, so you get more ideas than you might even be aware of, and you automatically get into a habit of putting down a thought or idea as a visual reference manually.
Sketching from Real Life - Drawing from real life helps you draw everything better. This is canon among artists who want to draw better, because you can only exaggerate or super-deform if you know how things actually work visually from real life drawing. Even if your sketches turn out imperfect, there will be nuances there that will make your work precious, maybe not only to you but for someone else too.
Keep a Scrapbook Notebook - Instead of logging time on facebook, collect all of your favorite quotes, reference information, poems, lists in a common notebook. Keeping scraps of everything, including picture cut-outs is actually a fun and worthwhile waste of time because by jotting down everything you get to keep them in mind and remember important notes better.
This used to be huge, at least in the 80s and 90s or so for young adults and teens, even sharing their journals with each other like it were secret knowledge—it was called a 'slumbook' back then.
Keep a Planner - A physical notebook for planning is actually something you can't do without if you work in an environment that requires you to make the best use of your time, like scheduling appointments, interviews, chores and errands, as well as remembering important dates for work or for family time.
Take notes by hand - Writing things down by hand helps us to remember and understand material better. Writing also slows us down, forcing us to be more selective in our note-taking and focus only on the most important material, a very important part of research and editing.
Write beautifully – Calligraphy is a priceless and forgotten skill nowadays. They call it typography design today if you are a digital designer. Handwriting is soothing and relaxing, especially if you write cursive like a girl (pretty penmahsip). You can even goof around and play with different styles of handwriting, like designing fonts manually. Keeping your handwriting clear and legible also helps you when you write instructions or notes intended for someone else.
Write drafts – Write for a living? Try writing your first drafts by hand on paper, rather than on the computer. I used to write ALL of my comic book scripts by hand, on bond paper and in pencil even, when everyone else at the publisher I worked for were submitting theirs in clean typewritten pages (Because I was a very poor typist too and my typewriter was junk. This was when I DARED be a starving writer-artist just for the heck of it.) Writing on paper gets you away from the distractions of the web, and you get to write tighter off the bat in the long run. All the best living writers still write using longhand, with pen and a really nice notebook or scraps of paper for their drafts and ideas.
Remember things – Don't lose a great idea! It might mean that next breakthrough in your design, your storywriting or that new ook you saw at some cramped bookstore you've been looking for ages. Having a pen and paper ready at all times saves you from forgetting important information (even with mobile devices).