Pen and paper will always have a place in the creative process

No matter what else he may try, Outsider founder Robert Campbell finds himself going back to his secret work weapon: an A5 notebook and a pen.

For as long as I can remember I have used an A5 notebook. I have a cupboard full of old ones. I can randomly pick one out and know what was happening in my life on any given day. It’s sort of reassuring in a bizarre way.

I use the right-hand page to list three things. Confirmed jobs, pending jobs and things I have to get sorted. One the left hand facing page I doodle, do calculations and write unless stuff. The books are full of phone numbers and addresses. They are like diaries of my life without the poetic narrative. If I misplace the one in use, I panic. But I have yet to lose one.

I know that in the digital age I should be paperless but I like writing things down. There is something organic about a pen and paper as opposed to fingers and a keyboard.Sometimes I just pick a notebook out to see what was happening on the 4 March 1998. It is reassuring when you see that there was a problem but that it eventually got resolved. Normally they do.

The only blank period was when one of my children was very ill. Nothing else was important so the book remained unused.

Luckily, that moment in my life passed with a healthy child at the end.I have tried to use a piece of tech in place of my notebooks but they are not as tactile. I will always use a notepad. It’s quicker to multitask with words and numbers. I don’t have to open up new tabs or go to a word doc. I just let the thoughts roll off the end of a pen.

Notebooks are personal to me. A bottled professional history of my life and I’d be lost without one while on the go.

Robert Campbell is the founder of Outsider

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