Why Analog

Sometime back when I was in High School, I got my first fountain pen. It was kind of on a whim - I thought they were cool. That is literally it. From then, I was hooked. This, despite being a Millennial, having a Palm Pilot/Phone/Laptop, and planning on going into technology at the time. 

These days, I have somehow ended up even further down that road. I currently have 11 pens/pencils (7 fountain pens) in my bag, as well as 3 notebooks. I have an analog watch on my wrist. 


In this world, where we have things like Inbox, Trello, Sunrise.AM, and Slack, am I still writing down thoughts on dead trees with ink? I could write the same exact thing into Evernote, where is would be backed-up, synced, searchable, and theoretically protected. 

The answer is one that I have had trouble putting into words. My best guess is a combination of a few things: 

  • I am just at the edge of the "Digital Generation". I joined Twitter in 2008, and Facebook back in 2007. However, I didn't grow up with them. I didn't have a laptop until my Senior year of High School (tip for parents: if you can, getting your child on a laptop BEFORE college eliminates a whole host of issues that can crop up during what is already a stressful time)

  • It lets me focus much better. When I am in a meeting, or was in a class back in college, I find that if I have my laptop, my mind will drift. I don't care if I have the newest, fanciest, most-prodictivity-inspiring, distraction-free-zone app running, I'll still end up checking emails, or getting reminded of something else to do, or seeing whats going on Twitter. That doesn't happen with paper. When I sit down with just a notebook and a pen, all of that friction is removed. 

  • Speaking of friction, paper means I can get my thoughts out in whatever form they take. I tend to end up doing some light mind mapping, capturing lists, and generally working with text in a way that the top-down, side-to-side nature of text editors falls down at. In addition, its all right in the same place - rather than having long text in Evernote, lists in Wunderlist, and mpas in MindMeister, they all exists in a notebook

  • Ubiquity. As I have posted about before, I care (way too much) about always having what I need. If I am going out into the woods, or out to a bar, or generally away from the saftey of a desk, I tend to not want my laptop with me. However, a Field Notes/Index Cards in the back pocket and Fisher Space Pen means that I will always be able capture whatever I need.

I end up spending more time in places like this than I do in Best Buy or the Apple store. (Bromfield Pens in Boston, taken on a late night walk during #INBOUND15)