January 08, 2015
The original idea behind this article was just to write a few words about the new pen, ink and notebooks I got a few days ago. But then I changed my mind after the first draft. I’m going to give some real context, and some history.
I have been a pen and paper user for as long as I can remember. Cheap notebooks was the thing when I was in school. But then I started working. And the thing I used for years, at work was just a pile of A4 printer sheets. They were available, easy to scan and flexible. This phase lasted for a long time.
My deep dive into notebooks started in 2012. I can’t remember exactly why. But I started writing more away from a computer, and I started to not bring my Macbook to meetings. This was the point where I started to use notebooks again. I didn’t use anything fancy, I knew there was different paper and that they looked nicer, but I didn’t know what that meant for me. Why would 1 spend ten times as much on the same thing.
The point where I got into better notebooks is kind of fuzzy. But I think there was some kind of Moleskine sale going on, where I just picked up a few of them, to see what the deal was. One regular sized and one pocked sized.
Before we move on. I know that a lot of notebook geeks aren’t a big fan of Moleskine. I think they are great. The paper isn’t the best, and they are a little bit expensive. But the great thing about the Moleskine brand is that I can find a decent notebook in more or less any book store.
I noticed right away that these notebooks were great. And I started to use them more and more. It didn’t take a long time before a pocked sized Moleskine replaced my iPhone as my tool for taking notes when I wasn’t in front of a desk.
Me and pens are simpler. I have never been a regular “Bic” user. I didn’t like them, they where uncomfortable to use, and didn’t last very long. So, I have always been the kind of person that used something a little bit nicer. A lot of Gel pens, like the Pilot G2..
Then I discovered a podcast called The Pen Addict. It is a great podcast, and you should start at the beginning, if you start listening to it.
This was the moment when I started to get aware of different pens, different paper and got a genuine interest in the subject. The first thing I bought after I started to listen to the podcast was a Retro 51. This is still one of my favorite pens. It is not very expensive around $20, it’s the best regular pen I have ever used and the build quality is fantastic.
I lost my first one, but I bought another one, and it is still a part of my regular pen tool set.
I’m not the kind of person that cares about having a collection. I just like to have good tools, that will last me a very long time. That’s the reason I use a Macbook Air, that’s the reason I use an iPhone, that’s the reason I have a expensive pair of Bose headphones and that’s the reason I buy nice pens.
The second thing I got into as a direct result of the podcast was some very cool notebooks called Field Notes. This is actually a funny story. I just ordered a couple of packs of them to test it. Because I was very critical. They lack two qualities, that I still love about the hardcover pocked sized notebooks from Moleskine. Durability and it is easier to write on them when you don’t have a flat surface available. The former is something I haven’t focused too much on. I love how worn down Field Notes looks. And it isn’t often they fall apart. The lack of a hardcover also makes it possible to have them in your back pocket.
But the lack of hardcover notebooks is still something I miss. It’s not a huge issue. But I think it is a great feature.
The thing that sold my right out of the gate with Field Notes is the paper quality and price. They are kind of cheap, and the paper is great. You can use everything from a Bic to a fountain pen.
My notebooks setup is more or less the same as when I discovered Field Notes. I always carry them in my backpocket for writing down tasks and small notes. And I use the regular black Moleskine to take notes in meeting and lectures. The newest addiction is the Leuchtturm 1917, I use them for my paper journal.
Then I got into fountain pens. It was a concern for me. Dry time is always a issue for me. I’m a left handed writer. I ordered two entry level fountain pens, just to see what it was like. It was a Pilot Metropolitan and a Lamy Safari. Two great pens, except for the grip bullshit on the Safari. And I fell in love with it.
I decided to get a nice fountain pen about a year ago. And it was a long process. I looked at a lot of different pens. But there was one very distinct pen that I went for. And that was the Lamy 2000.
The pen looks great. It doesn’t look like a conventional fountain pen, but it has a very distinct a minimalistic german design, that I love. And I knew that a Lamy pen would be a very safe bet. I loved the nig on the Lamy Safari.
Now, I just had to do three things. First I wanted to get some advice from Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict podcast and blog. Just to make sure I didn’t make a stupid decision, to find a ink and get the money. And I just have to thank Brad here. He has always been helpful and have always taken the time to answer my stupid questions. Thanks [@dowdyism](http://twitter.com/dowdyism)!
The ink question was hard. I needed to find a black ink, I don’t like blue inks. And it had to be a black ink with a fast dry time. I ended on: Noodler’s Bernanke Black, after advice from Brad.
I finally have all the tools I need. My two pens look good and will probably outlast me. And I have all the notebooks I need. And they all work great together.
The funny thing about having a really nice pen and a really good notebook, is that I spend way more time journaling than I should. I just want to spend more time writing with my fancy pen. When I probably should write something for this site.
One final note. I have ordered from many sites over the years. Most of my pen and papers purchases are through JetPens. They are great. Great selection, good prices and fair prices on shipping to Norway. But I went to GouletPens to order my Lamy 2000. My experience dealing with them, was more or less like JetPens, until I got the package. Their packing was very impressive. I love it when they make sure it’s packed in a safe manner, while still making it very easy to unpack it. I will without doubt buy more stuff from them.