What Do You Write?

I suppose there are few people who are entirely writers or collectors. I count myself among the former but I have many more pens of my own than necessity would demand. I do know one collector who never applies nib to paper but he is the exception, I believe.

But there is another question for those of us who write. Do you do anything useful with your pens? I wouldn’t regard writing out favourite precepts or quotes as useful; rather the reverse if I am truthful. Diary writing or journalling may or may not have a useful purpose, for the most part I would say it is useful. Re-telling your day may clear the mind and enable one to make sense of its events – a sense that might not be immediately apparent.

Letter writing, I would say, is of the first order of usefulness. Communication is often a pleasure, whether it be by text or email but a letter is a more considered communication, written at the speed of the pen.

There may be some among us who write creatively and use a pen to do so. That’s really admirable, I think, whether the result be published or just privately enjoyed. It’s what pens were made for, as we know from our reading of the great authors. Of course I write myself, though not at that level. Every word published here was drafted in a notebook. My writing falls between technical and, at times, creative. It is something I must do. I’ve written all my life and couldn’t imagine not doing so.

So, to reiterate the question: do you do anything useful with your pens?


19 thoughts on “What Do You Write?

  1. I am a writer. Often times when I’m stuck with a scene, I take to the paper. Once. I wrote entire chapters of my novel, when I couldn’t write anymore at the computer. I was having a burnout.
    Also, every morning, I write 10 minutes, when I wake up, it’s a practice to engage the critical side of the brain and to liberate the creative juices. For that I need fountain pens, the right one and the right ink 😉

    1. I understand that, Bob. I have composed straight to the PC, or the typewriter in earlier days but that fountain pen draws the thought process closer to the paper. Less technology intervening.

  2. I mostly comment on student essays, and write sermons, articles, and books. I prefer to write with my pens to get started, or (like Bob above) to dislodge a block. I would like to write more, but especially once lockdown hit, I am increasingly expected to assess student work online.

  3. Having left my theatre company after 20 years it has left a gap in what I write. I used to enjoy writing the pay cheques ( a different pen and ink for each person). All my notes to actors etc. I feel like I have too many pens inked now as there is less of that kind of writing to be done. I have come to a place that says that whatever brings you the slightest joy is useful writing. I copy aphorisms, pre-write letters of recommendations, write notes for my (ummmm)book? Anything really. The pulling out of a pen to write anything is a pleasure and for me, therefore, useful.

  4. Hi, funny thing, I worked in the print trade most of my working career and only filled in job sheets and time sheets. Now since the Pandemic I started to keep a almost daily dairy , noting all kinds of mundane things like keeping up with Covid and dull lock in chores but I seem to be making my daily notations longer as time goes by. Bob.

  5. I have used fountain pens as my “go to” writing instrument since high school where we HAD to use a fountain pen. It was that kind of school, even in the 70s. Though I tend to only write notes at work (home office) now, in my “day book”, it’s always with a fountain pen.

    Until this last year or so, it was always the same pen/ink though I’d swap ink between a couple of pedestrian choices when I finally emptied the bottle. Now though, it’s a different combination every week or so when the pen runs out. Currently using a Moonman T1 simply because it’s reliable and visibly holds about a gallon of ink (Pure Pens’ Cadwaladr at present – similar to Diamine’s Oxblood).

    For non-work, I have a rotating group of 3-4 pens out of my large collection of various nib sizes and inked with a variety of colours. It helps me feel less guilty about owning so many pens and I love the mixture of new and vintage, EF to B, flex, CI, you name it. And ink colours from classic blues and blacks to more outlandish modern flirty ones – Organic Studios Walden, we’re looking at you here! This selection gets used for my “leisure” writing and includes half-finished poetry, short stories (even shorter since they’re often not finished), and to-do lists. But mostly – letter writing, where they feel most at home and naturally paired to any given mood in which I find myself.

  6. Deb 🙋🏻‍♂️. In an attempt to maximise the use of my pens; apart from the journal in which I write copious amounts of mostly ‘stream of consciousness’ nonsense….I have hit upon a useful and possibly novel (?) way of still writing letters.
    I write a reply/ letter to many of the various site owners that I frequent , then paste the page of text into an email.
    It’s a sort of hybrid continuation of the whole ‘letter writing of old’
    ….you will have had a few of them !! 😅
    Really, any excuse to write will do … as with seemingly lots of folk, I am driven to use as many of my pens as possible.
    It would be fun if ‘we’ could reply/ comment here with handwritten text. !! 🤗🖌

    1. You could send an image to me and I could add it to an edit of the original post. Unfortunately not even I can add an image to a comment.

      Yes, I’ve seen many examples of your splendid handwriting. It seems common among us that we will gladly seize any opportunity to write with our pens.

  7. I was born and raised in the 1960s — “make sure you do something useful” was a cardinal rule back then. I enjoy writing with fountain pens, trying to improve my handwriting. That activity does not have a demonstrable professional or societal added value. But it helps to improve my fine motoric skills, ability to focus and concentrate, and it lowers the bar for sending family and friends a handwritten note. Arguably useful … and certainly pleasant.

    > >

    1. Good Morning Hans,
      I think improving one’s handwriting is a very useful thing to do. You have been very successful; your writing is beautiful. While mine cannot be compared with yours, at least I can read it when going over a draft. That wasn’t always the case!

  8. I write movies, television, the occasional computer-based simulation (video game), and a whole bunch of notes. When a script is going well, a keyboard is great, but when I need to think, or I am having problems with a scene, I take out a Cornell-lined legal pad and a fountain pen. Slowing down allows me to think more deeply, and the freedom to draw lines between ideas, write in the margins, and draw lines from one item to another as I figure out what I am doing, often helps me past roadblocks.

    1. I agree, Adam. Though I write at a fairly fast pace it still allows me to work ahead at the next sentence or paragraph, and editing is easy, as you say. I rarely write directly to the PC. It doesn’t work so well.

      1. When I first started writing, I used a typewriter and I would have a stack of pages on the floor beside my desk. Often, I would look through them and find a line of dialogue or a description that I liked. Computers changed all that. Going slow has some real value sometimes.

      2. I was a secretary for a long time, working on typewriters. My goodness, what a boon the first Word Processors were. How I loved that backspace key! I have always written but I think my writing for my blog has become so much better, drafting with a fountain pen. I love the physical act of writing, too, just the act of laying ink on paper.

  9. Great question. Ever since I was a young child the smooth, cool touch of a fresh resm of psoer was soothing and I always preferred ink over pencil. I am a writer by nature: lists, thoughts, notes, journals,stories,unfinished drafts and of course many many drafts of projects from blogs to college course material. I have always used a pen first and then transfer (Loosely used term) online. But the finished product always loks quite different than my first, handwritten (scribbled some days) draft. I use the pen as a muse where it explodes on to paper with fresh ideas and fine-tuned to my inspiration of the moment. The keyboard takes that ink on paper and sort of translates it, creating a similar but hopefully more polished piece. I need both to create.
    Also, I am rather picky about my pens; from the feel to the colour and glide of the ink.😉

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