Why I Prefer Pen and Paper Over Writing Apps

pen againI enjoy taking notes. Whether it’s a note about something I need to get done or ideas that I have for a novel, I enjoy getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

Writing ideas down on paper used to be commonplace before the emergence of smartphones and tablets. Now, with these new devices, there are applications that help users with any number of tasks. There are apps for nearly everything, including writing apps. I know many people find these apps to be helpful and I think that it’s great that people are benefiting from these new tools. However, there are several reasons why I will always prefer pen and paper over writing apps when it comes to taking notes.

It’s Personal
I think that there’s something incredibly personal about writing down thoughts on paper. Everyone has their own handwriting style that is unique to them. The words may appear scratchy if you are writing in a rush or they may appear bigger if you are trying to make a point. Your handwriting is completely customizable and changeable. There is no default font. You can write in the margin, scribble words out, or doodle on the side of the page. There are no limits on how to express yourself on paper.

Retaining Information is Easier
There have been many studies conducted that compare people who take notes with an electronic device, such as a laptop, and those who take notes with paper and pen. Overall, most of the people who take their notes with paper and pen are able to remember more of what they have written and process the information better. Granted, most of these studies are done in an academic setting, but I still think it holds true for notes outside the classroom. Because I’m physically writing down the words that I need to remember, I find it easier to recall them later on in the day. I tend to forget about information that I store in my phone until I go searching for it again.

No Battery Charge Required
When taking notes with pen and paper, I never have to worry about the last time I plugged in my device and if it’ll have enough charge to last the day. That’s because there is no battery in paper and pen and as long as you have clean paper, you can write for as long as you like. The problem with writing apps is that they function on a smartphone or a tablet, and all of these electronics run off of a battery charge. Although some phones and tablets may have a substantial battery life, they do run out. The more you use your phone, the quicker it loses power. I don’t want to have to stop myself from taking notes because I’m afraid that I won’t have enough battery life to make a phone call if I need to.

No Distractions
When writing my ideas on paper, it feels like an escape. The only thing I can do is record my thoughts and all that is in front of me are the words that I’ve already written. There is nothing I can do with that paper but write. This is not the case with writing apps. After recording notes in a writing app, I feel tempted to click on other apps, play games, scroll through the Internet, and get distracted. I find myself getting much more done when I write with paper and pen because I’m not giving myself the opportunity to be tempted by the many distractions that come with technology.

I don’t think that writing apps are necessarily a bad choice and I know a lot of people who favor them over pen and paper. They offer a lot of great functions that can aid in recording information and I think they can be very useful. However, when it comes to notes and brainstorming, I will always be a paper and pen type of person.

If you have any thoughts or preferences when it comes to pen and paper or writing apps, please share them in the comments.

Until next week,



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