Why I Use Fountain Pens To Write

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll know that I’m a fountain pen geek. My collection is growing and I love using them to write. Goulet Pens, an online store specialised in selling fountain pens and everything related to it, asked the following question this week:

I thought it was an interesting question. One that I couldn’t explain in the limited space of one tweet and I thought that it would be interesting for you to read as well.

As a writer, I use fountain pens on a daily basis and I only use fountain pens to write, no ballpoints or roller balls. I write in my journal daily, keep up with my tasks and appointments in my planner and work on my fiction. I do most of my brainstorming on paper as well. There are single pages ripped out of notebooks everywhere and I still have to make time to organise everything.

The reason why I started using fountain pens instead of other types is that my hands started to hurt when I wrote a lot during my university days. Using a fountain pen put less strain on my hands and I could write more and for longer periods of time. My real fondness for fountain pens came a few years later. My collection of pens and inks has grown significantly since that time and I’m sure more pens will be added in the near future.

Writing using a pen and paper works like magic when I have a clear idea of what I’m going to write. A good outline certainly helps me to prepare for that stage. Writing by hand slows down my thinking since I have to keep up with my hand. Slowing down and focusing on my hand is what I need to get into the zone and forget about everything around me. I have to ignore other impulses and intruding thoughts or my hand will mess up and write something else or spasm. I get into the zone much quicker. Then it’s just the story and me. I’m able to write a complete short story in one session once I get into the zone.

When I have my draft ready, I type it on my laptop and use that opportunity to do the first edit. I rephrase sentences and correct spelling. Sometimes I already feel that some parts need expanding while others just aren’t interesting enough. I often delete right away, but adding things will be done in another edit. Why? I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel like that is the time to do so.

If the project I’m working on is longer five thousand words, I prefer to print it and edit by hand. It’s easier for me to keep an overview when I can quickly browse the papers (which might also be a reason why I learn better when using a book instead of the internet). I remember drafts with whole passages scribbled in the margins of what I should write there. Paragraphs move from top to the bottom of the page, or even to a whole new chapter. It’s easier to show the thinking process behind that when I have it on paper.

I still feel this is a short explanation of why I use fountain pens and I haven’t even gone into why I love them so much. Yes, they make writing easier for me, but they’re also beautiful and come in many different shapes and sizes! A tale for another time. Thanks, Goulet Pens, for providing me with this interesting writing prompt.

Do you use pen and paper to write and do you prefer typing your draft? Share your experiences in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Why I Use Fountain Pens To Write

  1. Sandrian says:

    I feel like a lot of the fondness of fountain pens for me stems from the fact that it’s the first pen we learned to write with in elementary. I’m sure you remember the horrible wooden Lamy pens? Yet it made me fond of using fountain pens and used a fancy Parker pen for years.

    Unfortunately fountain pens have fallen a bit to the wayside for me as I tend to use fineliners now instead (Stabilo has so many bright colours!) yet every now and then I get the urge to use a fountain pen again and dig one up.

    • Tessa Hastjarjanto says:

      I remember them! Lamy still sells those, but I’m not looking at them anymore. There are too many memories attached to it.

      If you’d like to try fountain pens again, have a look at the Platinum Preppy. It’s a €4 pen in half a dozen colours (I love the purple one), but still great quality 🙂

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