Why creative people shouldn’t use lined paper.


Answer: it holds us back.

Lined paper holds us back from expressing our creative thought, either completely or in parts. It forces us to think in a straight path. It forces us to express our feelings into an established, excepted form and leads us not to explore a flow of consciousness. Most creative people would say, “Be damn you lined paper, you can’t hold me back!”

But what happens when creative thought is written on lined paper?

Look at a page out of my own notebook, it looks chaotic. I can see that I was forcing myself to play within the lines even though the idea I was trying to convey couldn’t be represented by straight lines.

Organizing for the creative 1

I didn’t even realize I was forcing myself with this sketch until I started looking for examples. I hunted through all my paper (quite a bit I might add) looking for visuals to prove my point and I was struck by two things; one, how much I have used lined paper over the four years to capture creative ideas and how incredible stuck I felt seeing all of these ideas laying dormant on theses well proportioned pieces of paper.

But what happens when a creative thought is written on unlined paper?

Organizing for the creative 2

I feel calmer looking at this idea and to be honest, the thought is complete.

So the next time you are looking to document a creative idea, reach for a blank piece of paper and watch where it will lead.

As a side note:

“According to legend, Thomas W. Holley of Holyoke, Massachusetts invented the legal pad around the year 1888 when he innovated the idea to collect all the sortings, various sort of substandard paper scraps from various factories, and stitch them together in order to sell them as pads at an affordable and fair price. In about 1900, the latter then evolved into the modern legal pad when a local judge requested for a margin to be drawn on the left side of the paper. This was the first legal pad.” Madeline Brand. “The History of the Legal Pad”. National Public Radio. Retrieved 26 July 2010. (Sourced by Wikipedia)

Ironically, 1888 was the year that Dale Carnegie was born, “American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills”. (Sourced by Wikipedia) In other words, the granddaddy of left brained business thinking that is considered the norm today. Is there a connection, maybe….

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