I have, from time to time, considered getting a PDA of some sort. My telephone, a Sony-Ericsson T616, sort of qualifies, since it has a phonebook and calendar which I sync via BlueTooth to various computers.
But in the end, I find a good, old-fashioned day planner to be invaluable. For 2004, I used a Moleskine, and it served me very well.
Similarly, I rarely use note-taking or outlining software. Instead, I whip out my fountain pen and some paper. Standard copy paper works well enough with the pen, although it’s so absorbent the ink spreads out in big, thick lines. That’s not typically a problem, because it encourages a certain economy in my writing.
The other day I happened to have a spare sheet of heavier, slightly glossier paper we use in our color printer. The ink stayed up on top of the paper, in an elegant, thin line. “This,” I thought, “is what blotters were invented for,” because the ink would surely have smeared before it dried if I wasn’t careful.
The current President of the United States famously uses a Sharpie for his note-taking. One could argue that using such a strong pen makes sense for a man of limited letters. But in the end, I can’t see using a pen with such severe bleed-through for everyday notes. I reserve Sharpies for serious permanent marker applications.
Sometimes I use a Pilot G2 gel pen when I need to quickly jot something down on a surface that can’t take the fountain pen. When I want something a little nicer, then I’ll use my Lamy Swift, though at $4.00 for a new cartridge, I try to use it sparingly.
I’ve always loved the act of setting pen to paper, and I just can’t see setting ink aside in favor of an electronic device… yet.
What low-tech habits have you retained?