Returning To Analogue Notes

As much as I have tried to integrate digital tools into my Gamemastering, the practical upshot of all the experimentation over the past few years is that I think I prefer analogue notes: the humble notebook, pencil, dice, character sheets, and the ever-flexible index card.

In getting myself organised to play the next session in Mystamyr, for example, I found it most fruitful to migrate my thoughts away from the computer tools onto simple paper notes. I can shuffle the index cards but also experience a need to more clearly summarise my ideas when space is limited.

More than all of that, however, there is a deeper creative well that I access when I work with my hands to prepare the game. Scribbling notes, sketching maps, hashing out ideas with a pencil is much more fun and a lot less time-consuming. I can move things around, cut and paste things (literally), and add colour or image through the forgotten art of collage.

Perhaps it is a symptom of my age and the skills I learned as a teenaged gamer. Yet I have long been an early-adopter of digital tools, ever since my late 20’s when I first owned my own PC. In hindsight, I have never quite been able to bring the digital skills to fruition and it seems much simpler and more rewarding to grab up a pencil instead.

Game on!


  1. I am of the same mind, perhaps it is that my early experiences were all paper and pencil. Much easier to get my creative juices flowing with the old tools. Maybe it’s the physical connection and visceral satisfaction of using really good and comfortable tools.


  2. I understand wanting to hand-write notes. I’m only a few months older than you, and like you, find myself wanting to go digital and also wanting to be analog. I tend to lose the paper notes, and as a compromise, I’ve started using Goodnotes on my iPad. It gives me that good feeling of handwriting the notes, but I don’t lose them, lol. Now if I could get a good organization for all of these digital scribbles…


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