The Joy of Putting Pen to Paper

Young Aboriginal girls studying with headphones. They are working at a table at home. One girls listening to music or educational work as she works. They are sisters doing schoolwork together.
Young Aboriginal girls studying with headphones. They are working at a table at home. One girls listening to music or educational work as she works. They are sisters doing schoolwork together.

This is a sponsored blog post in partnership with BIC. All opinions expressed are, as always, our own.

Pen and paper are an integral part of my daily life.

Directly beside my computer is a notepad with handwritten To Do’s which I take great satisfaction in crossing off as they are completed. Truth be told, I occasionally write down something I’ve already done just so I can cross it off – it’s ‘that’ satisfying.

I mail monthly cards to my friends, each with a handwritten note inside, because who doesn’t like a personalized surprise?

When I grocery shop my list is hand-printed on a sticky note.

I keep a gratitude journal.

When I’m stressed, I doodle.

Instead of giving my sons a traditional birthday card, I use coloured pens to write down on a large piece of paper all the things that make them unique.

Pens and paper are such an important part of my daily routine, I can’t imagine being without them. And yes, I’m a stickler for what kind of pens I use. If you’re going to use something multiple times a day, every single day of your life, you want good quality. If you’re a pen person, you’ll get this. By the way, my current pen of choice is the BIC Gel-ocity Quick Dry gel pen—it features fast drying ink to reduce smears. Smearing = Pet Peeve.

Both of my sons have grown up in the age of tech. From the time they were born, they’ve had access to tablets, phones, and computers. If texting were a major sporting event, both would win a medal. They have grown up in an age of instant gratification. Messages are answered immediately, and a simple Google search allows them to access information in nanoseconds. They don’t even have to watch commercials or wait for their favourite television show.

However, there are benefits to writing, doodling, and drawing, which is why it’s important to me that they also use my way on occasion – putting pen to paper.

I’m currently studying to become certified as a personal trainer and I handwrite my notes because research shows students who write out their notes by longhand remember more and have a stronger conceptual understanding than those who take notes on a laptop. While we may take more notes on a laptop, we take more detailed notes when we write them by hand.

A few years ago, my younger son took a painting class and as part of the 8-week course, he was given a doodling book and a pen. There were no real instructions given, it was simply a place for him to sketch and scribble, draw or write out ideas.

What was particularly fascinating was at the end of the course, the paintings each student completed had many similarities in colour and composition. But those notebooks? What was in each and every one of them was entirely different.

When the students were painting, they could see what each other was doing and whether consciously or subconsciously, ideas were copied. But the notebooks were private. They were all about individual creativity.

When our boys want something that’s outside the norm, like say for instance, when my younger son wanted a gaming system, or my older son wanted an expensive piece of DJ equipment, I purchase a large piece of poster board, hand over my favourite coveted coloured pens, and have them present to me and my husband why they want it.

This does a few things. It makes them really think about the ‘why’ and because they are creating the presentation using pen and paper instead of a laptop and the internet, there is a time element involved which eliminates that whole pesky instant gratification thing I was talking about. It also helps to build their confidence. They are researching, drawing and writing it down, AND it’s boosting their presentation skills.

Oh, and did I mention critical thinking?

This is what happens when you put pen to paper (or poster board as the case may be). It sparks creativity, helps with studying, and promotes skills you don’t necessarily get from typing on a computer.

And if you need help, I’ll even lend you my coveted BIC Gel-ocity Quick Dry gel pens. But you’ll need to return them.

I have cards I need to write.



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