Examining writing

As a supporter of the spark notebook kickstarter, I’m eagerly looking forward to the “perfect” notebook. I find the act of writing notes much more helpful to organizing my thoughts than typing in to a computer most of the time. The challenge is finding the right combination of paper, pen, and ink. When everything is in balance, the flow of thoughts is seamless. There is no thoughts blocked as the pen dribbles, sticks, or stutters across the page. Ink flows in a seamless concert without the fear of smearing as I pause and withdraw inwards to reflect.

When Kate Matsudaira blogged about the search for the perfect notebook it resonated with me for many reasons. The deconstruction of the problems of the many notebooks she examined illuminated an important process that I hadn’t thought through before especially around keeping track of what works, why, and how it could be better. I don’t think there is a “one” perfect notebook, but I think the spark notebook is perfect for organization of goals, time keeping and the “big” ideas in daily work life.

When the spark notebook delivery email came out, I realized that I wanted to know more about the writing utensils people use and prefer to write with. I tweeted out and the twitterverse responded.

Generally I try pens out and then forget what worked and didn’t. So I’m going to try out some of the suggestions and share my experiences.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

Back in April 2014 at Chef Conf, @isafarnik let me borrow his Lamy Safari. It flowed, was a great width for me in my hand and wrote nicely in my moleskin.

I purchased the Lamy Safari Charcoal Fountain Pen (along with a second blue one) and it’s been my go to pen since then.

I also have tried out different ink with the Lamy Safari Converter Z24 and Lamy Refills by Monteverde Rainbow Fountain Pen Cartridge.

In the converter cartridge, I used Noodlers Polar Blue Eternal Ink.

The good:

  • Pen is a great width for my hand.
  • Ink flows easily.
  • My handwriting is improved just from feeling like I’m writing with something substantial.
  • The Lamy ink and the Noodlers Polar Blue ink are great colors.

The problems:

The Ink

  • The ink can smear if touched right after, so if I pause or am writing too quickly – smudge.
  • The ink bleeds through on most papers. I received the “perfect” notebook at a conference that did NOT which was amazing (yay for conference swag of good notebooks!). A notebook I got from a Google event has also been great. It works “ok” in moleskin notebooks.
  • The Monteverde Rainbow ink has some not great colors. I should have figured out what maps to what, but for example the red wasn’t RED, and the color I’m currently trying out is a murky brown.

Due to the first problem, I tend to write a bit differently filling in the top of the back and front of facing pages and then filling in below.

The Pen

I don’t really pay attention too much to the fact that I get ink all over me most of the time. I’ve noticed this with most pens. I noticed that my blue Lamy was more messy than the black pen. After examining the nib closely I think that there might actually be a defect in the nib. When I did some google searches which led me to A case of the Creeps. So it could be a mixmatch between the ink and the nib (which is why I purchased the different ink to try out). Essentially, I need to find a “less wet” ink to try out with the safari to see whether the experience changes.

In future posts, I’ll take a look at the Unball JetStream, Bic Atlantis, PaperMate InkJoy, Uniball Signo 207, and Le Pens.