Staying analogue

(This post started life as a comment added to someone else’s blog. Thought I might add it here, too)

I bought myself an iPad last week – or rather, it finally arrived last week – so that I had another way of writing when out and about.

I’ve since been reflecting on the “cool” new ways of working that this impressive piece of technology is urging me to adopt: electronic diaries for every area of my life, synched across all my devices; details of every project at my fingertips, wherever I happen to be; ways of generating ideas, planning stories and creating, all achieved without paper and pen.

The iPad certainly gives me more efficient ways of achieving work tasks, but I don’t think those digitised ways of working are necessarily any more effective – not for me, at least. And its ability to automate certain activities does seem to strip out a lot of simple, everyday creative thought and reflection.

If I write a to do list on paper, I have to think about it: how should I use my time, what are my real priorities, how do I balance my goals with the expectations of others? The act of writing the list is a moment for reflection. But if the computer generates the list for me, I just perform the tasks it offers.

The iPad has been a surprisingly good writing tool, but yesterday I went out and bought a new paper diary, some sticky labels, glue and coloured pens. Sometimes analogue is better.