We did it! One full week without extraneous writing utensils. Just a pencil and an eraser for all of our notes, reminders, doodles, and the like. This may have been one of the best weeks in our journey thus far.
Like many of our readers, we grew up using pencils all through grade school. It is the implement we used when learning to write. But as we got into high school then college and now into our adult lives we had all but stopped using pencils for any type of writing. We would complain about the lead being too light when we wrote notes, we thought it didn’t look as professional as writing with a pen, and honestly it would make our hand sore if we used it for too long. All of these petty excuses were thrown out the window for this entire week.
We had grown so used to using pens in our daily lives that we struggled to imagine what our week would look like with only pencils. But after a day or so of awkwardness, we fell in love with pencil-writing and had a fantastic week.
Joshua received a few odd looks from his co-workers throughout the week as he used a pencil and carried around a sharpener. He found that he took better notes with his pencil. It took a little more intentionality while writing. He had to press a little harder and think a little deeper about the words he was writing. He also didn’t have to worry about mistakes. His eraser left the page looking fresh and ready to capture more notes.
Joshua also found himself writing in greater quantity and stronger quality. Spending more time thinking about what he wrote led to his brain processing those words and creating more ideas from them.
He also felt at least 7 degrees more creative. Having a pencil led to several little doodles and drawings on the side of the page. Joshua is the furthest thing from an artist, but having a pencil in hand inspired him to attempt more drawing creativity. (Bethany found this incredibly adorable.) Maybe he will finally learn to draw something distinguishable to the rest of the world. This past week could be the catalyst for change.
Bethany didn’t have the same reaction as Joshua. She used a mechanical pencil for most of the week. It was a bit annoying and stodgy. She believes she may have had a different experience if she use a regular pencil and she may test this theory in the weeks ahead. She is also a bit more naturally creative than Joshua. Joshua tends to create best when he speaks. But Bethany has previously created worlds with a pencil and paper.
There were a few downsides to using pencil this week. At one point Joshua could not find his eraser. That robbed him of one of the strongest benefits that comes from pencil utilization. There were also a few times where the lead broke and he had to scramble to get the sharpener to make his writing tool usable again.
The other two negatives are slightly relative. Because we both had only one type of pencil we had to carry it with us everywhere we went, to work and church, at home, on trips to the grocery store, etc. This is easily fixed by purchasing more pencils. (Surprise! We did that this weekend.)
The other is something that may only be a specific downside for Joshua. He likes to slide his pens into the metal binding of his notebooks. The clips keep them from sliding around or falling out. Not so for pencils (real pencils, not mechanical ones). There were a few different occasions where Joshua dropped his pencil and almost went without a writing utensil entirely. Luckily they were quickly recovered and able to be used once again.
In closing, you may be seeing Joshua with a pencil behind his ear from now on. He loved using a pencil this week. The jury is still out for Bethany. She wants to give it another try soon, but for now is focused on the new challenge for this week.
What do you think? Could you give up your pens and markers? Do pencils actually make you more creative or is it all psychological?