Pipi’s Pasture: There’s something about paper | CraigDailyPress.com

Pipi’s Pasture: There’s something about paper

Diane Prather
Pipi's Pasture

From the time I was about 12 years old, I enjoyed making up stories that I wrote down on the lined paper in my Big Chief tablets, sometimes even adding some illustrations. Years passed and I continued writing but putting the words on legal pads instead of Big Chief tablets.

This morning, as I pulled a fresh legal pad down from the shelf where I keep paper, I was thinking about how many legal pads I have filled up with writing over the years. Awhile back, someone asked me how I go about writing my columns. Do I use a computer? He seemed surprised when I said, “No” and explained that I use a legal pad and a pen or pencil, preferably a pen with “flowing ink.” However, I do use a computer to put the final draft on a flash drive.

Why use a tablet and writing tools? I realize that people have individualized preferences when it comes to composing written projects, but I choose to use pen or pencil to put my words on paper. First of all, I find it enjoyable. I like the feeling of a pen as I move it over smooth paper. However, there is another advantage to writing this way (that some may consider old fashioned).

I have long-believed that there are extra powerful nerve endings in our fingertips. As our fingers move a pen or pencil across paper we can also feel its smooth surface. This tactile activity stimulates the nerves, resulting in stronger brain activity.

When I begin a creative writing assignment, I take out my legal pad and write notes — anything that might have to do with a topic I’ve thought up — and sometimes even doodle. Believe it or not, this stimulates the brain to begin working on the column or other project. I set the notes aside for the night and forget about them. Remarkably, subconsciously, the brain works on the project, and the next morning I know where I want to “go” with my words. I have used this technique for years, and it works! It’s all about stimulating the brain.

Over my teaching years I have learned the value of writing things down. I have suggested the above “leaving the ideas overnight” to my students but also realize that using pen or pencil to write on paper helps to commit information to memory. That’s why I ask my students to write notes about the information being covered. Writing notes (versus just listening or reading) slows down the learning process so that the brain has time to commit the information to memory.

There’s something about paper and the tools used to write on it!

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