On writing instruments

After some trials over the past five years or so, I’ve found that I like to (physically, with pen and paper) write, I like to write a lot, and I like to write in a certain way.

In terms of paper, I seem to like either the soft, thin extreme of Tomoe River paper, or the semi-rough paper of a Baron Fig, or (more recently) Midori MD1.

The paper must have a dot grid — or, as in the case of the Midori MD, a solid grid is find, as long as it’s only lightly colored. Blank paper is no good for me, and lined paper is no good for me.

The only pens I keep around any more are either fountain pens or (for daily carry, and office use) gel pens2. For fountain pens, I have the Lamy Safari I started with3, a bunch of Platinum Preppy pens4, a Faber Castell Ambition5, and my current favorite: the TWSBI ECO6, which is my recommendation for a “sweet spot” in quality and price7.

There are plenty of more expensive pens around, but they’re going to remain in my wishlist, because I can’t imagine getting bored of what I have anytime soon.

As for the experience of writing with pen and paper, I think we need more of it, not less. There is some sort of brain-body sensation, introduced by it, which seems to make a positive difference, though I don’t understand it.

Still, if you’re at all curious, get something cheap to start with: a Platinum Preppy or a Lamy Safari, and a Rhodia pad, and then … write SOMETHING.

  1. No Moleskines for me!
  2. More recently, multi-gen pens, both the Pilot and Zebra Sarasa are staples now.
  3. Seven years ago now!
  4. Astonishingly cheap, at roughly the price of a Starbucks coffee
  5. Currently the most expensive pen I’ve allowed myself to buy, around $60-70
  6. In Fine and Extra-Fine
  7. Can usually get aroundd $30

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