Writing a book: Why you should start with pen and paper


1 December 2022 by WTF Notebooks

A copy of Stephen King's

If you’re thinking about writing a book, then it's time to ditch the laptop and pick up a good old-fashioned notebook, because the OG method of writing is the way to go. And we’ve got the clever scientists and famous book authors to back this claim up:

Here are five reasons why you should swap your fancy computer for a pen and paper.

You can write anywhere you like

This one's the most obvious: Working with pen and paper allows you to indulge in your writing wherever you may be, from curled up in your favourite chair, to the shores of your favourite beach, to down in the back garden. Unlike those clunky laptops, you can easily slip a notebook into your bag and take it with you on the go.

Good old notebooks are also rather easy to take anywhere with you. An added bonus point is that, unlike with a laptop or tablet, you never have to worry about running out of battery power! Just you, your trusty notebook, and your ideas.

A woman sitting in a cafe writing in her notebook

Food and drinks writer, and author, Jeff Gordinier says he wrote 75 per cent of his best selling book ‘Hungry in longhand’, on planes and trains, in public libraries and cocktail bars. Now, that’s what we call dedication.

Your brain enjoys it more

It’s actually proven science that writing paper notes is beneficial for our brain.

This article from Forbes details three ways in which handwriting is good for you – from increasing neural activity in certain parts of the brain (like thinking, language, healing and working memory), to helping us learn through sequential hand movements and last but not least, it forces us to slow down and be in the moment. And this type of mindfulness can spark greater levels of creativity. 

Writing is a ‘ceremony’

Take it from Quentin Tarantino, the writer of some of the best movies in modern times. This dude writes all of his movie scripts by hand! All of them!

Tarantino claims that for him, it’s a ritual: “I just write it all by hand. It’s a ceremony. I go to a stationery store and buy a notebook.” He continues by saying, “Then I buy a bunch of red felt pens and a bunch of black ones, and I’m like, ‘These are the pens I’m going to write Kill Bill with.’”

Writing by hand can be a calming and meditative process that allows you to get into the zone and stay focused. 

Less restrictions and distractions

Another great thing about a notebook is that it will never distract you with notifications, pop-ups or the temptation to just ‘check something’ in another tab.

You can write anywhere you want on the page – with little ‘doodles’ to help let your mind wander into a more creative realm and let you return to your prose with purpose. There’s no worrying about fonts, paragraph spacing or other typing formalities and some writers say they find the blank page of a notebook far less daunting than its computer counterpart.

A young man writing a book by hand

With everything so physical and permanent in a notebook, nothing is ever lost. There is always the easy temptation to just hit ‘delete’ in a digital document, but written down, you can always come back to anything you cross out on a page. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all? Or it could be used later on in the book? It means you don’t end up so ‘rash’ and make a call you regret later.   

It slows you down – and that’s a good thing

Some of the most famous authors in history swear by handwriting their masterpieces. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, and Ernest Hemingway, just to name a few. King even penned all 896 pages of his book Dreamcatcher by hand. Yeah, you read that right, all 896 freaking pages.

“It makes you think about each word as you write it”, he King says. “The sentences compose themselves in your head. It’s like hearing music, only it’s words.”

So, take it from the master, folks, and give it a try yourself. And if you're looking for a writing notebook that'll provide you with inspiration (and laughter), check out our hilarious, customizable notebooks that'll never run out of battery.

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