Poll: Which pen suits your writing?11/05/2010
Some people swear that using a fountain pen improves their writing. Whether it is the weight, shape or balance of the pen or the metal content or cut of the nib, the pen counts. Maybe the difference is so small only the writer can see it but it’s still important.
Call me an equal opportunity pen user. I find a fine nib is the most suited to my writing and best for general use. Mediums and broads are helpful for long sessions since the wide nib takes the pressure off my hand. For sheer aesthetics an italic is lovely. Extra-fines are perfect for margin notes and writing the longest message on a postcard or in the space restrictions of air mail stationery.
An italic nib can make a dramatic change in penmanship but it isn’t helpful to everyone. A little practice can tame it for most of us though such a nib isn’t the best choice for fast writing. Still it does make the most of my writing so a bit of practice has been worth the time invested to get comfortable with it.
Now that’s my experience and probably different from yours. But here’s my dirty, little secret. Pencils, even mechanical pencils, make the most of my penmanship. The difference is pronounced enough that an eighth grade classmate begged our teacher to let me write in pencil. Nary one to compromise, Mr. Morris would hear none of it. Ink or fail was his rule. I’m sure he expected the ubiquitous Bic/Biro to be my tool but it never suited my writing. That’s when I discovered cheap Sheaffer fountain pens and that flipping the pen over would produce a decently narrow line. I was appeased and happy to find a new way to bedevil my teachers with my painfully small if well formed writing. Take that you enemies of individuality and creativity!
These days I stick to fountain pens for correspondence. However, my Autopoint mechanical pencil gets the most use of any writing instrument on my desk. The two things that make it my best choice are its instant start but even more useful, is its compatibility with Post-its. My desk is littered with them. That my writing is very legible is an additional factor but there is a downside. Some of my notes aren’t meant to be read by just anyone. There are things that do deserve a little privacy, you know?