My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Blog: Pen and Paper by Dawn Lyons

There are computers and laptops. There are tablets and smart phones. But as a writer, there isn’t anything that helps me be more productive than paper and a pen.

It’s not an issue of resistance to change. I’ve used, and do use, a variety of the above-mentioned technologies and the software and applications that help a writer be organized, get the work written, perfected, published and shared. But when it comes down to it, when I’m brainstorming or writing a first draft, it’s with paper and a pen.

Here, I offer reasons why, despite the plethora of technology available today, you are more likely to find me in the notebook aisle of the office supply store than the computer supplies section.

1.   Creativity: When I began writing during my early years in elementary school, the technology we have today was unheard of (heck, some of it was probably unimagined!). So admittedly, there is a comfort level involved with sitting down with a pen and a notebook or sheets of paper. But there is also an increased ability with these simple tools to think freely that is not equal to anything that can be performed on a computer or mobile device. With notebooks specifically, I believe there is a link created when selecting a particular notebook cover – its design, material, or color, as well as the size of the notebook and the type of pages (white or not, lined or not, straight-edged or not) that directly affects the ability to write.

2.   Portability: A pen and a notebook are lighter to carry than laptops and some tablets; they are also easier to toss in a bag or have at the ready in your vehicle’s storage console or your bedside table. This is important so that the ability exists to write whenever and wherever an idea, particular word, or the perfect turn of phrase pops to mind. Another benefit? No batteries, cords or electrical outlets required. So you don’t need to worry about loss of power just when your writing is on a roll.

3.   Multiplicity: With a notebook, I can have multiple projects easily available to work on in one convenient location. While files on a computer or device may be all held in one area, having to open each file to find the desired document can be an annoyance and also create delays in getting your thoughts typed out. With a notebook, a simple flip to the appropriate page or section and grab of the pen, and the ideas are recorded. And when an idea for that other project pops to mind, a simple flip to the other section is all that is required, instead of searching for and opening another electronic file.

4.   Fix-ability: It’s tempting to think that it is inefficient to write something on paper, only to then have to transcribe it into a word processing program to submit it or publish it electronically. But by taking my notes, or even a complete first draft of a piece, from a notebook, I am able to effectively perform a first edit of the work. I am able to reorganize sections, improve sentences, and select different wording as I feel is necessary as I type.

5.   Usability: Not all thoughts, ideas, and specific wording that find their way into the notebook make it through the final edit, or even to the first draft of a project. For this reason, the use of a notebook is irreplaceable by the modern technologies that claim to be so helpful. It allows the writer to reference unused material that can often become part of a different project.

Modern day devices may offer many things but for this writer, the notebook and pen are mightier than the screen and keyboard.


Dawn Lyons is a professional writer and editor who began her love affair with words and books when she first stepped into a children’s library at the age of 4. To satisfy her passion for empowering teenagers, Dawn created ‘Write’ Steps 4 Teens, through which she teaches teenagers how the power of writing can be used to solve problems and create their own success stories. Visit her online at


  1. I like having options though. In my purse there are notepads and pens, along with my tablet and phone. More often than not, I find myself reaching for my phone these days. Using Evernote is a boon.

  2. Options are always good and everyone will have their own personal preferences, of course. As noted in the post, I do use my laptop and phone, however I just find that nothing connects me to a project and my own creativity like notebooks and pens (particularly my favourite pen, which is currently in need of a refill). Thanks for the comment, Tonya!