I’ve always been a fan of hand writing. I can type almost as fast as I can think, so there’s nothing to slow me down. Sometimes, that can be a good thing. But when I want to devote some thought to what I’m writing, I switch to hand writing so I have to slow down.
This is especially useful when I’m writing books and/or blog posts. Writing “stream of consciousness” isn’t typically great when you want what you’re writing to make sense. It’s much better, for me, to slow down some and make sure that what I’m writing is cohesive and coherent.
The biggest downside to hand-writing, though, is hand fatigue. Over the years, I’ve developed several different grips for holding my writing implement to increase the amount I can write in one go.
But the pressure and effort required to write with pencils and ballpoint pens increases hand fatigue. Fountain pens help alleviate that with the lack of pressure needed to write. Something about not needing to press down to write makes it easier to hold the pen in a looser grip, which also helps with hand fatigue.
Fountain pens, perhaps because of their design, or our association of nibs with older things, also tend to make people want to write nicer. They certainly did for me and many of my pen friends. But, despite my great love of fountain pens today, it’s a relatively recent hobby for me.
My Fountain Pen Story
Ever since I was a child, I was very into quill pens and dip pens. I don’t think I ever knew that fountain pens existed. Kind of odd, looking back. You’d think one of my parents would have introduced me to them.
Whatever the reason, I didn’t truly learn about fountain pens until a few years ago. I found a fountain pen at a local art store, if I recall correctly. I think it was a cheap Shaeffer. Not knowing any better, I also purchased some dip pen ink and clogged up my pen dreadfully. That stopped my fountain pen use for a time.
When I met Jim in 2015, he had a few fountain pens, and I was captivated by the possibilities he told me about. I loved the idea of having any color ink I wanted. I wanted to be able to write longer at a time.
Jim took me to Bertram’s Inkwell, my first trip to a pen store, in January of 2016. I can’t remember what Jim bought, but I bought myself a Platinum Preppy with a red nib.
It was a great pen. Wrote well, very reliable. I liked it so much that I bought a set of all the colors from Amazon. It was fabulous having so many ink colors at once. Yeah, at the time, I thought 6 colors was significant. Unfortunately, Preppys aren’t great for cleaning.
So we went back to Bert’s and I bought myself what I thought at the time was a rather expensive pen, the Lamy Safari Dark Lilac. It was the last one in the store.
Ultimately, the writing experience wasn’t super different from the Preppys, but the pen was much prettier. I found myself writing with it all the time. I had some trouble at the beginning with writing without much pressure, but I learned quickly.
I never intended to have many pens. I really only wanted a few pens I could swap inks in and out of. Maybe 6-7, one for each major color group. And for a long time, I didn’t have many pens. For nearly a year, my Preppys and my Safari kept my happy. But then we started watching The Goulet Pen Company YouTube channel.
Seeing those pens made me want them, as often happens. It started with a Metropolitan gifted to me for Christmas 2016. And as my financial situation improved, I found the money to purchase some of the pens I wanted. I bought more Metropolitans, then subscribed to the iPenBox. Then the Lamy Safari Petrol dropped, and with that first pen purchase from Goulet, I went spiraling down the fountain pen rabbit hole.
As I wrote more, I bought more inks, then more pens, and now I’ve got 25 regularly in use. Of course, that also means 25 inks, and I do my best to keep a good, even representation of each color family.
I very much appreciate my fountain pens because they make it easier to write the amount I want to. And they make it more fun to write.
Do you hand write with any regularity? If so, do you prefer fountain pens? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your story.