Lessons From 2021 And Plans For 2022


2021 was my year to reorganize and consolidate making the most of what was on hand. The result was a lean kit of basic tools that make writing a pleasure.

Honestly, it was pretty simple. Selling pens financed the purchase of four inexpensive Chinese models one of which has become my favorite daily writer. A contaminated bottle of a favorite ink was replaced. Paper purchases included identical replacements for completed journals along with paper for two A5 loose-leaf notebooks. Hardly adventurous, but it was satisfying to use familiar tools. All of this led to more writing and less fiddling. And that’s a good thing.

Writing more slowly improved my letter forms and my hand was less stressed during rare longer sessions. My softer touch created less drag so extra-fine nibs were less scratchy making them useful again.

Lessons from 2021 that will apply to 2022:

  • Sell pens that will never receive the love they deserve.
  • If a pen doesn’t thrill me but I am not ready to sell it, there is a drawer where pens-in-waiting can commiserate. In the future, it might be perfect for my needs.
  • Converter fillers with satisfying nibs are best for me. Keep no more than three to five filled at a time including pens for testing ink.
  • If an ink is terrific, keep using it! Iroshizuku syo-ro in a fine fude is #1 these days with eighteen refills in recent months. Platinum Classic Lavender Black is getting a lot of love, too.
  • Stick to my paper niche of Tomoe River 52gsm, a planner with MD paper, and only an occasional tryst with a new brand.
  • Write slowly with a soft touch and don’t worry about how my writing looks so long as it is legible.
  • Handwritten notes spark ideas for my websites so do it daily if only a sentence or two.

2022 plans include only one new addition, a watercolor journal. In the past, notes, swatches, sketches, palette ideas went in all kinds of places including unrelated notebooks, my personal journal, backs of envelopes, napkins. You name it and I wrote and painted on it. Time to change my ways most likely with a Stillman & Birn Beta or Zeta Sketchbook. Both have paper that will handle watercolor swatches and sketches as well as notes made with fountain pens and pencils. A single notebook is all I will need.

On a different subject, social media can be entertaining if sometimes brutal as I experienced when a narcissistic, delusional FB bully attacked me. Anyway, no one and no topic is worth being the target of that kind of abuse. The lesson here is to trust my instincts and ignore or block people sooner. I am worth it and so are you. On the plus side, this episode encouraged me to reevaluate and expand my plans in a way that I would not have done without the bully’s attack. Instead of doing less, I am doing more. Ironic, eh?

Now you know how my 2021 tool selection evolved as well as the year’s life lesson. The opposite may be better for you with lots of pens, constantly changing inks, a huge variety of notebooks and paper, and handwriting that does not need tweaking. You might even like interacting with a bully. Hey, whatever makes you happy!

Lastly, I learned that I have a namesake. Cute, eh?

Margana, the Camel



  1. I recently tried a Stillman & Birn Alpha and really like it! Hope it works out for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Different people get different things from the same encounters, it’s true. I am liberal with the block feature, personally. But I know there are people who have fun playing with the trolls, so I guess to each their own.

    I need to start selling pens that I’m not going to be using in the future. I guess part of it is that I need to admit when I’m not going to be using a pen instead of sticking it in the back of a drawer and pretending that I’ll get back to it someday.


    • This was the first person I decided should be placed on my ignore list after thirteen years on Facebook. FB does provide several degrees of ignoring and blocking that I had to learn about. Garden variety trolls are easily ignored, but this one called me and sent long messages the last one filled with what one would expect from a narcissist along with personal attacks and disparagement of my integrity. Thus my red line was crossed.

      I laughed when I read your comment about selling pens. I am still struggling with which ones to keep and which ones to sell. There are pens that could move back home and be well received. But there are always new ones to acquire. A couple of custom nibs are my only regrets. I am thoroughly enjoying several like the fine fude and never think of the ones that were sold. Let go and move on might apply to collecting said the woman with more than 50 pens that never get inked. Ha!


      • I have timed people out on FB a lot, doing a 30-day snooze or something to see if they stop doing whatever it was that annoyed me. But I have unfollowed (and unfriended) a lot of people. Few get actually blocked, but I won’t hesitate if necessary.

        I don’t have as many pens as you, but learning what style pen you like can be really hard. Even testing them in-store when that’s an option doesn’t really show me how I’ll like a pen. My Conklin Stylograph is one that I love the look of, but it’s too heavy and the nib doesn’t work well for me. So that will probably be the first pen I look to sell. Oh—though there have been a couple others that I gave family to try out, and in some cases they liked them enough to keep them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sadly, some people just aren’t worth the effort it takes to maintain a relationship with them.

          It is great that you have family with whom you can share pens. By all means, divest yourself of the Stylograph and find something you like better. It deserves a good home and you deserve a pen you enjoy.


          • I’m just glad that the people in my life who aren’t worth the effort are NOT my family. I am so grateful for that.

            I had both good and bad pen picks this year. The Stylograph was a miss, but the Custom 74 was a hit! Hopefully I can find another great match for me in 2022. Happy new year!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Happy New Year to you, too!


  3. Plenty of good advice here! Reading this made we want to order a bottle of Pilot syo-ro, but then this runs counter to your theme of enjoying what you have. I shall apply your principle to one of my equivalent inks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me laugh. Well done!

      Liked by 1 person

    • My bottle of syo-ro came from the initial release in Japan so it easily qualifies under the enjoying what you have theme. Lavender Black arrived shortly after its release in the U.S. courtesy of Luxury Brands. I have older inks, but these two are just right for a two ink rotation. The Platinum #3776 music nib is filled with Diamine Steel Blue that has been here for years adds a brighter color to round things out. You must have a ton of ink from which to choose. Anything beckoning?


      • I do have an embarrassingly large stash of ink, two drawers full, but old favourites that I use most are Waterman Serenity Blue and Diamine’s Conway Stewart Tavy, a blue-black. I am also keen on Pelikan Smoky Quartz and Montblanc Velvet Red. A couple of recent discoveries are Diamine Cherry Sunburst and Pelham Blue.
        I could happily limit myself to a core pallette of say six inks next year but I like to change and try new combinations, hence the accumulation!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Serenity Blue is one of the few inks suffered from an empty bottle event, a true rarity with hundreds of bottles and samples on my shelf.

          When I realized that cleaning pens and changing inks was taking up more time than writing, my priorities shifted. After much trial and error, I found my ideal combination of pen, ink and paper for journaling. 300 pages later, I’d say this is a keeper, but I am fickle and it could change at any moment. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Lessons From 2021 And Plans For 2022 | An Inkophile’s Blog […]


  5. […] Lessons From 2021 And Plans For 2022 – An Inkophile’s Blog […]


Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: