Going Amish: The Pen and Pencil

In “Need to Get Focused? Go Analog” at fastcompany.com, Drake Baer made the case for those primitive writing instruments–the pen, the pencil. “Handwriting trains your brain,” Baer wrote, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

The basic idea is that using more senses is better, smarter. Making strokes with a pen or pencil is more creative than tapping keys. It slows down the writing process and increases thinking power.

So, could a pen or pencil and paper be a better way to write, or at least to write an initial draft? It worked for writers for hundreds of years. They had no other choice.

Referenced in the story, blogger Harry Marks wrote the last 40,000 words of his second novel using a pen and paper. He said his book turned out better. Part of what helped Marks was being “unplugged.” “I’ve learned the only things worse than procrastination are distractions,” he wrote at Curious Rat (his blog), “and if I’m going to overcome them, I need to cut them out of my life as much as possible.”

Marks called it “going Amish.” I like that.

I do a little bit of old-fashioned writing, usually in my notebook. I like the idea. I enjoy watching words and sentences form on paper. But, honestly, I’m on my laptop 99 percent of the time.

What about you? Do you ever actually write, putting pen or pencil to paper?