The Need To Ink


If we can only wield one fountain pen at a time, why do we ink so many? Variety in pen style and nib shape might justify a few, but not the huge number some of us wind up with despite the best of intentions. Is ink the true seductress?

These days, my activities rarely require more than one or two pens for daily writing and seldom more than three for an extended session. Once my choice has been made and the words flow, it’s full steam ahead with whatever is in hand. That hardly explains the number typically inked in the tray on my desk.

Often my fascination with color overrides my common sense and a quick dozen pens get filled before I put on the brakes. Add that to my core rotation and presto there are twenty at the ready. That is far and away too many, but it is incredibly satisfying.

But if I ink only one or two, would the other pens get sad or feel neglected or even jealous? The cacophony coming from the pen drawer would be downright distracting and might drive poor Macy crazy with her canine ear for the tiniest sound. A fly two rooms away makes her head flip around with astonishing speed. She already chatters more than any dog ought to and the jabbering of the pen crew would no doubt set her off all too easily. Now if she would just bark, growl and mutter in vermillion, aubergine and cornflower blue, I would be delighted to encourage her antics. In neutral tones, not so much.

How do you cope with the need to ink and the excess on your desk? Do your pens shout for attention or do you have a complacent crew?


  1. They’re all yelling I’m drying out! Quick! Write something!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In my case, it’s generally because I’m always acquiring new pens. It would never occur to me to select some older pen and flush it out before I ink the new one lol!


  3. Through sheer willpower, I limit the number to three or four. Always my first “real” fountain pen, a Parker Sonnet (a gift from my husband), and usually in a color that fits the season. Currently that is Orange Indien, Then I always have a pen inked with Noodler’s Saguaro Wine. I do that because I love the color and live in the land of Saguaros. I allow myself one or two more pens for fun. If I go beyond that, there will be much soaking and cleaning.


  4. Which also puts the question on the table, “Why do we collect fountain pens?”. Do we really need six identical pens except for their color? Do we really need the same pen in different nib types?


    • Good questions. Having been a lifelong collector of anything from stones and seashells to inks and pens, there will always be something to grab my fancy. Pens are a little different in that matching ink to pen makes having a range of colors useful. A purple pen will usually be filled with purple ink, so there is a practical aspect to it. However, only one line of pens has provoked that sort of collecting.

      Nib types write very differently, so that’s the easiest to justify buying in more than one size. Plus a pen that is truly comfortable to use entices me even more. Consequently, my collection has multiples of a few comfortable models with a variety of nibs.

      But that’s just me. Why do you collect fountain pens?


      • LOL! I was hoping you had the answer. I really don’t know. Last week I opened a drawer and found pens I didn’t remember buying! Maybe we have an urge to have “all” of something so we keep adding more and more in a effort to reach that goal. It is fun though to get that new pen or ink and check it out isn’t it.


        • Too much fun, Mike, and that might be half the answer if not more.


  5. I tried hard to downsize to three pens earlier this year and gave away/sold several pens & (mostly full) bottles. After being frustrated and not quite knowing why, my solution was to match my pens and inks to my colour coding for each day of the week and then i use that pen to write my morning pages. It’s been working pretty well, though I have more than 7 pens so there’s a bit of neglect each week, but it’s not as extensive as it was.


    • Well. as long as you rotate dormant pens into occasional use, they might be content. 🙂


  6. I have at the moment 5 pens and more ordered. I try to use them all every day. I have each filled with a different color and spend 2 to 3 hrs every day writing affirmations a different color for each page or different affirmation. I have a weakness for fountain pens and I do not think you can have too many of them or of different colors of ink. I am a gemini though, so that may account for the obsession. We talk a lot too. I am currently jonesing for a couple of really good, but unfortunately expensive fountain pens with music nibs. I have always stuck to extra fine or fine nibs, because I need to get as many words as possible on the page, but since I discovered the music nib, those pens have been calling to me.


    • Hi Jodie,
      Those must be happy pens since they enjoy daily use. Like you I went from extra fine and fine nibs to a music nib though with a few italics along the way. They all have their uses, but the music nib even makes my hand happy. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.


  7. I currently have fifteen pens inked, eight preppy pens, five Sheaffer Targas, and two Shawn Newton pens, all with different brands and color inks. I fill a simple composition book about once a month, and on any given page of those books I will use multiple pens. I work on several projects at a time and use a different color ink on a single page to distinguise between the different projects. When I doodle, I use many different inks together, and I doodle a lot.

    It use to be that the variety of inks I used varied from black/blue to black, then I started getting ink samples. I got the preppy(s) and use them as eye droppers and put the whole vial into the pen. About half of my samples I’ve used up, the other half I’m glad that I never purchased a bottle of the ink. There have been two inks that I purchased bottles of that I would have never purchased without the samples and they have now become permanent in my Sheaffer Targa pens.

    So fifteen pens is my limit on being inked at anyone time, but I keep them active and flowing.


    • Your pens are lucky to have you, Andrew. Ink samples do make it easier to make frugal ink purchases. I’m all for that!


  8. […] The Need To Ink – An Inkophile’s Blog // I can relate […]


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