Here’s Why the Notebook Is the Ultimate Tool for Creativity

Michelle Mac
3 min readJul 11, 2022

In an age where everything happens digitally from interacting with friends, to being able to work from home, I find myself regularly coming back to pen and paper.

I use notebooks to brainstorm ideas for tweets, make lists of tasks for a project plan, sketch out wireframes for a website, and journal about my day.

There’s something so simple but powerful about this “old” analog way of doing things that it needs to be celebrated.

A Notebook Doesn’t Have Constraints

Think about all the constraints you have with a digital tool.

Depending on the type of tool, you have to set up a new note, pick a font, set up the size of the page, and find a place for the note to live. This is all before you even start writing down your ideas.

You’re at the mercy of how the tool is designed to be used and the different conventions it puts in place.

With a notebook, you can simply open a new page, find a pen or pencil, and start writing.

You don’t have to worry about font size, where the file lives, or what size brush to use.

If you make a mistake you can cross it out and continue in the flow of your idea.

If things get too messy you can turn over to a fresh page and continue working.

These are all things we used to do as kids so it’s second nature to us as adults.

There’s Less Friction To Start Doing Something

The hardest part of any task is starting it.

Any bit of friction, like waiting for your notes app to load or finding a place to store your idea can be enough for you to avoid doing it.

You think “ah I won’t bother it’s probably not that important”. Then you’ve lost your motivation.

I always avoid making wireframes in Figma.

I convince myself it’s a waste of time because it takes too much work to set everything up. Even using a dedicated tool like Balsamiq is too much work for me so I avoid it.

Michelle Mac

The *heavily edited* ramblings of a technical writer & frontend dev. I write about creativity, design, and productivity. Start here: