Maybe this is a sign of my old age, but I think better when I write things out by hand. Once I get started writing, the words are coming too fast for my hand to keep up. Since I can’t be bothered to learn shorthand, I reach for the keyboard once I’m in the flow. But to get the tap flowing, I have to start out with a pen and notepad.
Specifically, I write with a fountain pen. I got into the habit of writing when I took the train to work and now it’s automatic: I get on the Max, and the pen comes out. It is amazing how many looks I get writing with a fountain pen. It fascinates people.
I recommend using a fountain pen if you can. The ink flows easily and you don’t have to press down, but unlike most gel pens, it’s easy to refill the pen and keep going. You can keep the same pen for years. Some people don’t like to loan their pens out to other people. They say the nib has been worn down in a way that just suits the way their hand pressed the pen onto the paper, and loaning the pen out changes the shape of the nib. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it is true that all fountain pens are not created equal. I’ve purchased pens that were a pain to write with. And I’ve purchased others that were a joy.
Another thing I like is that the ink comes in a variety of colors. I experimented with loading my pen’s cartridge with a mixture of turquoise and navy blue inks, and I’ve found this is the shade I like best for autographing books. But you can also get ink in purple or pink or green or… well, there are a lot of options.
I have just found a new time sink: an ink comparison website.
Warning: once you start writing with a fountain pen, you might become addicted. Proceed at your own risk.