I’ve noticed something recently. Back when I still wanted to be a journalist-cum-novel writer I carried a notepad and a pen with me. I figured I have to: good ideas for stories appear anywhere. These days, as a blogger and content producer, I still get many ideas while walking to the railway station in the morning. I might even get the idea while sitting in a meeting at work. But what happens when I forget my notepad and pen at home? What is the one item I never leave home without?
So, yes, it is easier to whip out my cellphone and take a picture. Not of the idea in my mind, of course; however, that would be cool. No, I use the cellphone to take pictures of magazine articles or magazine ads that I find inspiring. It will often just be of the most important info: where to find genuine tortoise shell glasses or an ad outside Vaughan Johnson’s in the V&A: “Look rich for half an hour. Light up a Cuban!”.
So why do I feel like such a sell-out? I mean, using a camera to take pictures is more eco-friendly than using a notepad. It’s convenient and doesn’t take as long as scribbling out a note with my Carol Boyes pen (The pen was a good idea at the time but I didn’t know how uncomfortable it’ll be to write with it). Notepads also take up space, even when I’m toting my laptop bag around.
And my handwriting is terrible so it’s better to have a clear photo with all the information I need for later, when I want it. Such as applying to UNISA (again) or the banking details of a charity. It also makes it easier because I can send those pictures to my gmail account. I’m already using my gmail account for storage, so this works perfectly. If I continue using my notepad I’ll eventually run out of space and it’s already a schlep to find the exact note when I need it: I have millions of scribbled notes.
I guess I feel like a sell-out because taking a picture feels too ‘easy’. Almost as though real ideas should be written down in a notebook that I can show my kids one day. Yeah right. I doubt digital natives feel this way; to them, this is the only way of preserving information when they’re on-the-go.