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Note 168 – Writing the old fashioned way – with pen and paper

I spend a lot of time on the computer both in my main job as a Project Manager and in my new freelance writing career.  This can cause all sorts of posture problems especially in the neck and back.  Today I decided to spend a bit of time writing the old fashioned way – using pen and paper – and draft a number of blogs whilst sitting in garden.

I wrote whilst my girls played.  It was a very relaxing and pleasant afternoon and I not only had fun chatting with them and watching them play, but I also had a few pages of useful notes as well.  What I learnt today is that jotting down ideas in a notebook (which we all used to do before computers) can be just as productive as typing away. You can also brainstorm and quickly sketch out mind maps as you think. 

This made me think of the comment that Jennifer M Eaton left on one of my blogs in response to Note 154 – Creating a Writing Plan that Works.  Jennifer longs to find more time to write, but like the rest of us her days are busy with the family and chores.  She also spends quite a few hours at the weekend walking about the soccer field thinking about writing whilst her boys play .  A solution to this could be to take a small dictaphone or notebook to record those precious writing ideas before they get lost forever.  Just a few key words can jog your memory.

Some interesting articles about writing the old fashioned way

Pondering on my next paragraph, I decided to search the internet for someone with similar thoughts to mine, so I typed in ‘old fashioned writing methods’ and the website caught my eye.  An article by Andy Hayes called “An old fashioned writing challenge”, was just what I was looking for.  Andy writes “we spend so much time in the digital world” and explains how productive he is and how energised he gets, when (on a Sunday morning) he chooses to do nothing other than stay in bed and write in his journal or just read.

Andy’s article contained a linked to another blog on the same site, written by Deborah Ng called “40 lessons learned over five years of blogging”.  She so rightly says that “writing on paper makes writing less of a chore” and that your blank piece of paper at least won’t crash (or all or a sudden decide to perform configuration updates like my computer did for me the other day!). 

Writing the old-fashioned way can lead to lots of inspirational ideas.  It is just ‘you’ and your ‘pen and paper’ alone together, and no one can take that away from you. The only disadvantage is not having a magic ‘backspace’ key or ‘cut and paste’ function to correct things now and again!  Oh yes, and you do have to type your notes up afterwards.

My thoughts: I’m going to add ‘a writing lay in’ into my new writing plan – maybe on a Sunday morning.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Are you more productive when going back to the old fashioned writing methods?

This blog post forms part of my writing challenge. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter or my ‘Tips and LuxuriesFacebook page. Requests for future blogs (punctuation/grammar/writing tips) are always welcome.

Until tomorrow…

Freelance writer
Please visit for more information on my services as a freelance writer.

My writing challenge

My other blog

My Tips and Luxuries website
(includes the introduction to my upcoming book ‘A Gift for Stressed and Busy Parents’)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Jennifer M Eaton:

Freelance Writing Gigs:


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


7 thoughts on “Note 168 – Writing the old fashioned way – with pen and paper

  1. I am a big fan of writing by hand (even though my handwriting is ghastly) and find I have to scribble at least a little in my notebooks every day. Try a fountain pen sometime – they are a pain to work, but a dream to write with. I am never happy writing with anything else. I also always have ink stains on my fingers.

    Keep up the great work!

    Posted by Bill Chance | October 16, 2011, 12:48 am
  2. Thanks for the mention!

    I have tried a small tape recorder–especially when driving, but I find I can’t talk into it and express it as well as I do on the page. I can synopsize my scene, but not actually write it. I’m actually better off repeating in my head a few times… committing it to memory so to speak… until I can get to a computer.

    Posted by Jennifer M Eaton | October 16, 2011, 9:45 pm
  3. I was finding I was having these great ideas for writing when I was walking, problem was if I would have attempted to write it down, I probably would have either tripped, or missed my train. I actually thought of a practical solution. Most people these days carry smart phones when they are out, as do I, and most smart phones come with built in voice recorders. So when I’m being struck with a moment of brilliance as I walk to and from the station, I turn on the voice recorder, and start talking into my phone, the people who pass me by would assume I’m just having a phone conversation, otherwise I will forget, because I too need to write everything down. Technology definitely comes with perks, and it has prevented a few wonderful ideas from being forgotten.

    Posted by whereslanda | October 19, 2011, 11:47 am
    • I’m so pleased with your response, because I actually wrote a paragraph in the blog about speaking into my iphone as I walk along – but then I deleted it for some reason. I think it’s because I thought I was the only person who ever spoke ‘secretly’ into their phone. For some reason I don’t put it to my ear – I just speak into it. Thank you for the tip! I will now just pretend I am having a conversation with someone.

      Posted by Sandra Madeira | October 19, 2011, 9:04 pm


  1. Pingback: Note 176 – Writing in the comfort of your own bed « My writing challenge - October 23, 2011

  2. Pingback: Note 300 – Most popular posts since My Writing Challenge began « My writing challenge - February 24, 2012

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