The Best Time To Write — First Today, Then Tomorrow

Find a pen in your hand? Write.

Your notebook is in front of you? Write.

Randy Murray — The Best Time To Write — First Today, Then Tomorrow.

Welcome To The Cramped

My snapshot of my desk as I wrote this.
My snapshot of my desk as I wrote this.

Welcome. I’m glad you found your way here. If you are the sort of person who appreciates nice paper, a decent pen, a well-crafted notebook, a solid pencil, writing and receiving handwritten correspondence, beautiful handwriting, or the clicky-clack of a dependable typewriter, you have come to the right place. The Cramped is a site dedicated to the pleasures of writing with analog tools (the name is purposefully ironic).

My name is Patrick Rhone and I have been writing all of my life. I like technology as much as any modern citizen, but none gives me the pleasure that writing by hand — using pen and paper — does. I have long preferred to journal by hand, take notes by hand, and am currently writing my first book entirely by hand. This grows out of a life long love of nice pens, good paper, solid typewriters, and an appreciation of analog writing and publishing tools of all sorts.

This is also an area where my normal goals of minimalism and simplicity in my life completely break down. I have more pens then I could ever use in my lifetime. My stack of brand-new notebooks  reaches over two feet high — and I can’t seem to resist buying more. This is all to say that this site, at the least, will provide much needed justification to my addictions. Because, then I can buy new notebooks or pens or paper or ink “for the site”. I can tell my wife that my readers demand it!

I will have other semi-regular contributors as well. The first of these is Harry C. Marks. A writer who not only appreciates such tools as much as I, but has also written a book or two on his late ’50s Smith-Corona Sterling typewriter (of which I am most jealous).

The typeface used in the header is Mike Rohde’s Sketchnote Typeface and may be purchased at Delve Fonts. A special thanks to Mike and Delve for their support and blessing.

There will be some other goodies coming soon as well. A podcast is in the works. And, I’m working to line up some giveaways and exclusive specials for our readers. In all, I hope to pour some time into this and make this site a primary project for my endless interest in this area.

If you have any questions, requests, ideas, or other concerns email always works at, of course you can follow The Cramped on Twitter, or, true to the spirit of this site, feel free to send me handwritten correspondence and I will respond in kind:

Patrick Rhone
627 Ashland Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

For now, take a look around and enjoy.

The Best Way To Remember Something? Take Notes By Hand | Co.Design | business + design

The Best Way To Remember Something? Take Notes By Hand | Co.Design | business + design

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, compared how well more than 300 students retained information after taking notes on 15-minute TED Talks either by hand or with a laptop. Across three different experiments, the researchers found that taking notes with a laptop can be detrimental to learning. Both groups performed about the same when recalling facts from the lectures half an hour later, but longhand note-takers were much better at recalling concepts.

I’ve known this to be true for myself for a very long time and from other past studies (hence the reason I do it). Nice to see it continue to be validated by science.

Levenger 5-Year Journal Review

by Patrick Rhone


Many of my long time readers and those that follow me on Twitter and elsewhere, know how long and deep my love affair with Levenger runs. I have been a customer for over 20 years now. Words are not enough to describe the quality of their products, the attention to detail, or the outstanding customer service. Properly maintained, Levenger products are made to last a lifetime and then be passed along to your descendants for theirs.

I recently purchased a Levenger 5-Year Journal and it is true to every word stated until now. For those not familiar with how a 5-Year Journal works, there are Pages for 366 days, including February 29, with 1 page per day, with 5 line entries – one for each year. It allows just enough to highlight the bullet points of a busy day but forces brevity. It is like Twitter for a private and bygone era. There is no pressure to catalog every detail of life or how you are feeling. Want to simply write a single thought or idea? Well, that is OK too. The beauty is that, those who have felt the pressure of maintaining a journal in the past (like myself) will likely feel far less so with such a low barrier to entry. Take just a few seconds at the end of the day and write what strikes you.


The quality is extraordinary. The paper is bright, thick and takes fountain ink well with no feathering. The binding is clearly meant to last as a living document of record to be passed down for generations. The cloth and leather make it a stately addition to any desk or shelf. If I have one concern it is this – will I have enough for all of my years. I am seriously considering buying 10 more right now, for fear that I may not be able to 50 years from now.

Grounded & Steadfast – For the Love of Pen and Paper

Grounded & Steadfast – For the Love of Pen and Paper.

Why? If the tasks are captured in my digital tool, why repeat myself on paper? Why take the time, a longer amount of it as I type much faster than write by hand, to copy them down on a dead tree? Simply put, because I like it.

Mr. Bowler makes a great case for why he makes sure the pleasures of writing with pen and paper are a part of his routine.