January 5, 2019

The movement from digital to paper

Not trying to be snobby or come off as a guru for anything. I just so happen to really like stationary because my mother collected, then my aunt started to collect, and now I collect.

2019 feels revolutionary in terms of stationary and the movement from digital to paper. I remember when the first e-ink tablets started to come out and everyone claimed that that will be the death of paper newspapers and gosh knows what else. I've actively followed Hobonichi, Bullet Journal, calligraphy, Midori's Traveler's Notebook, and a few other modern day popular hashtags, notebooks, and journaling stuff since 2015ish. The community has blown up so much and that has really gotten me excited this year about kickstarting my journaling habits again.

As I think about the continuously growing community, it makes me wonder what is motivating people to move off their digital devices and back to paper. Here's what I'm theorizing:

Digital Pros:

  • Available everywhere
  • Constant change and new things to try (if it's an app, maybe new features)
  • Share instantly
  • Include digital photos and videos
  • Connect and collaborate with others
  • Depending on the platform, easy to use. Pick up and go.
  • Accessibility, you can write without hands and without seeing! Voice to text FTW!
  • Digital copies everywhere and backed up if you lose your password/delete the app

Digital Cons:

  • Advertisements in apps, on websites
  • Movement towards subscription based model
  • Depending on what you're tracking, security vulnerabilities and personal data leakage
  • Something that's available offline and when batteries dead/power is out
  • Personalization may be lost
  • Too many decisions to make, decision fatigue from trying to decide what to use
  • Ability to archive and keep forever (apps may not be around and supported forever), loss of data
  • No videos
  • Accessibility, not all apps and websites have good UIs

Paper Pros:

  • Highly personalized. Your handwriting, your thoughts
  • You own the security and information on there. No one else's prying eyes unless you share it with them or you've got snoopy people in your life
  • It will probably age beautifully
  • Do whatever you want to it
  • No ads, no noise
  • One time cost if you don't start a collection of stationary items and hoarding notebooks

Paper Cons:

  • You have to bring it with you, might be heavy. Also requires supplies which you have to bring too
  • Maybe you have bad handwriting or can't write at all
  • Not available everywhere
  • Pain to share with others
  • One copy only
  • No videos
  • Need to print your photos
  • Decision fatigue if you overthink it


There's probably a lot more that I'm missing. I find this movement towards paper very interesting and lovely. I love the sound of paper rustling, pens clicking, the sound of pencil on paper, the smoothness of paper + pen/pencil.

Ugh. So much. I guess my ever growing collection of them all is proof I may have a problem!