Physical Notebooks in the Digital Age

April 9, 2014
3 min read

My small New York city apartment is filled with a graveyard of notebooks that I've abused through college, meetings, and work. Each half used, or partially doodled.

I've kept a journal since I was a child. Sifting through the clutter of a million sheets of decorative stickers, to textured charcoal paper pads I used in college, these notebooks are scattered and alone.

Waiting to be selected, to be loved once again.

I've always had a real love for paper and pencil. The idea of holding a pencil for creative work seems like a lost art in the digital age. I was such a perfectionist back then, I always primed the page by erasing a perfectly white sheet, just to make sure it's "PERFECTLY white."


I remember in highschool, I worked on this colored pencil piece of Final Fantasy 8 for 2 months. I hid the drawing under my bed, so my mom wouldn't find it. It was a gift for my ex-boyfriend. Rinoa was one of his favorite characters from the series.

I rummaged through the closet until I found this nice box. It held one of my nicer leather journals that I've purchased previously. It was gold foil bound ruled notebook. I used it as a form of diary when I was doing a long distance relationship with another ex-bf. It’s weird to read through your old writings, and view your past through a different lens.

Seeing your reflections through this time capsule, staring at old wounds, could be very satisfying in an evil way. ☺

There were a lot of things in there that didn't need to be revisited, yet I couldn't tear the entries and toss out the notebook. It felt like tossing a part of myself into the trashcan. Logically, I tossed it back into the dark corner of the closet, where it belong.

I really haven't used paper notebooks as a journaling platform anymore, I switched to digital. I blogged on my wordpress, typed notes into my iPhone, wrote dates in my Google Calendar, and soon my hands forgot the familiarity of penmanship. 

The personal touch and character of your voice is lost. The inability of backspac-ing through your thoughts, allowed handwritten journaling to be a lot more raw, unhinged, real.

 My new To-Do Mini Moleskine

My new To-Do Mini Moleskine

Moleskine. It brought me back. It is the perfect mini size to jot down my thoughts and create a short to-do list. The unfamiliar initial feeling soon dissipates as you get closer to your words on the page, focusing on every point as your pen meets the paper. Ever since I've rediscovered the joys of writing on paper in the digital world, I couldn't turn back. I've bought 4 more Moleskins since then, and I don't think I can ever live without writing down my daily tasks again.

ModNotebooks, a company that syncs paper notes into a cloud. Pretty neat. The only downside is that you’d have to buy their proprietary notebooks ($25).


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