Finding a place for pen & paper

17.04.2016 02:00

```text One of my personal struggles in this digital age is to find a place for pen and paper. There is a time and a place for the digital tools, but there is also a place for the analoge. ```

```text There is nothing I love more than to write on good paper with a good (fountain) pen. ```

```text The struggle for me is to find the proper balance. I’m obviously not going to code on paper, and I don’t keep my long term notes on paper. The frist, because that would be dumb. And the second, because I need search and update them all the time. ```

```text But there are many things that most people use digital tools for, that I prefer using pen and paper to do. ```

```text Some of them are tasks and calendaring. My main reason there is efficiency and simplicity. ```

```text Long from writing is another area where my impression is that most people do it digital only. I think there are some big advantages to do it on paper first, even though you are going to use it digitally later. ```

```text Almost everything I write starts out on a sheet of paper or a page in a notebook. For software development it is about figuring out what to do, and potential parts, before I get started. And then about writing down everything I need to remember as I go. A notebook is the perfect tool because then I don’t need to leave what I am doing to add it to some application. ```

```text Regular writing is a little bit different. A large portion of what I write is either published online or sent as e-mails. But I do write a huge amount of stuff that never go anywhere. Either because that was the intent, or because it is crap. ```

```text To write it on paper before you bring it over to something else, and in the process, rewriting it takes more time. I think it is a very good idea to do so. ```

```text We are all reading, editing, and revising everything we write. Right? ```


The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


```text It is just too easy to say: “Fuck it…”. And just publish it before you gave it the proper grooming; or send the e-mail before you gave it the time. I never start to write where it is going to end up. ```

```text For example: this blog post is first written in a notebook, before I transacribe(and edit it during the process) into Ulysses on my Mac. Then I make sure all the grammar en spelling is correct. I try to always give it another few rounds of reading and editing before I publish it. ```

```text This is more or less the same process I use for everything I write. It might sound like a long and unnecessary process. But it isn’t. ```

```text You are right, it takes longer time. But that is fair compromise if it makes sure the end result is better. ```

```text Use your pens and paper anywhere you want. Figure out where it works for you, and don’t work for you. The most important thing is to find the place where it improves your work. ```

On Kickstarter pens and notebooks.

17.04.2016 02:00

```text I have written about this before, but like many other things I just mentioned it in passing without going that much into it. ```

```text I see interesting projects on kickstarter and alike more or less every week. Kickstarter projects and limited edition products are two things I’m not fund of. ```

```text I don’t mind limited edition stuff as long as the only difference is the aesthetic. ```

```text I’m not a collector, I’m a user. That means that if I loose or break something I love – I’ll get another of the same model. The same goes for notebooks. I buy more of the same most of the time. ```

```text Some people love to pledge and make new and interesting projects happen, and I get it. I’m not that interesting most of the time. The exception is companies that use kickstarter to get a company started. And not just make a few of “X”. ```

```text My interest in what comes out of Kickstarter is when they are done with that phase and becomes a real company. Not many of them get that far. But if they make something good, I’ll be more than happy to support them by buying their product when they come that far. ```

Lefties and fountain pens.

10.04.2016 02:00

```text I’m not sure how many articles I read about being left handed and using a fountain pen when I started to get interested. Some of them were good, and a very few excellent ones have come up since then. But I have always missed a good guide. This is my crack at providing it. ```

```text People that write with their right hand are lucky enough to pull their hand away from what they write, this gives them the advantage of having the time they use to write a whole line for the ink to dry. That combined with being the majority seems like a pretty sweet deal. ```

```text Being left handed can be difficult for a number of reasons. Writing on a blackboard or whiteboard is very difficult, you have three options: smudge what you write as you go, learn to under or over write or try to write without stabilising your arm. ```

```text My biggest annoyance with most of the articles about using fountain pens left handed is that most of them take the “just use this and this” route. ```

```text Let me start with the problem left handed writers meet when they try to write with either a fountain pen or any “wet” pen: you start writing and you mess it up by dragging your hand over it. ```

```text There are two different ways you can solve this problem, either by limiting the time what you write with takes to dry or by learning a few techniques. The techniques takes a while to get a handle on, you don’t need to learn them, but I recommend it because there are always situations where you need them. They are called over and under writing. The basic principle is that you place your hand in a angle where it instead of dragging over your current line drag either above or below it. I’m not very good at either, but I know how to do both. I prefer overwriting, but underwriting is a must if you have to write on a blackboard or a whiteboard. ```

```text Dry time. There are a few factors that plays a role in how long time it take for what you write or draw to dry: ```

  • Paper: some kinds of paper absorb the ink faster than others. This is a very complicated topic. I usually go after the rule that thick paper in general absorb ink faster, but there are exceptions, like Rhodia’s paper. Most good paper give you a short dry time, without bleed through or feathering. While cheap thick paper can give you should dry time, but often also a lot of feathering and some bleed through. Going for a paper that gives you a minimal dry time is something I think is a very good idea in the beginning.
  • Ink: some inks dry faster than others, and there are a lot of reasons for it. Some brands are made to have very short dry time, some inks have a okay dry time, while some inks have a dry time that makes them almost unusable for left handed writers. Both Goulet and JetPens tell you on the product page if it is a fast drying ink. Going for a ink that dries fast is useful in the beginning. But you should not be discouraged to stay away from a ink just because it has a little bit longer dry time. What is a struggle in a beginning is not a problem at all once you learn to handle it.
  • Pen & Nib. Some fountain pens are wetter than others, this means that it lays down more ink on the page. One prime example of this is the Lamy 2000. The same goes for nibs, thinner nib means less ink. I’m not a huge fan of fine nibs. I love to write with a very wet and broad nib, because of how smooth the writing process, and how my writing looks. While others I know prefer a rougher nib because it lets them control their writing more. Go for the kind of nib and line width you prefer, but remember, the dry time is considerably shorter if you go for a finer nib because it puts way less ink on the page.
  • ```

    ```text Before you get discouraged. You can probably learn how to write without smudging any kind of ink with any kind of pen and nib on any type of paper in not too long if you put your mind to it. The trick is to learn how to under and over writing. There are of course combinations that are more tricky than others, for example a very slow drying ink on the paper Rhdoia uses. ```

    ```text I have some very precise advice when it comes down to what to buy at not to buy, at least in the beginning. ```

    ```text First of all, stay away from the Lamy Safari and any Lamy and other pen that have a moulded grip section. They are made to learn right handed writers how to properly hold their pen. I have one, and I never use it for the reason that it is a pain in the ass to find a way to hold it that is comfortable. ```

    ```text Go for a fast drying ink in the beginning. My advice is to go for the Noodlers Bernanke black or blue is a excellent choice. It dries more or less right away on most paper that aren’t known for long dry time, and the only times I smudged with it was when I was trying to do just that. ```

    ```text Paper is a topic I’m not going to cover to a large extent here. I used to just go to a local book store and pick up anything with thick paper in the beginning, and that usually gave me paper that gave me either immediate dry time, or paper that dried fast enough for me to only smudge here and there. Leuchtturm1917, Midori Travelers Notebook refills and Field Notes have all given me very fast dry time. ```

    ```text I have one neat trick when it comes to notebooks. I have become a huge fan of narrow notebooks over the years. The two notebooks I used to most compared to when I started to use them are Field Notes and Midori Travelers Notebook. The thing that is great about a narrow notebook, is that you can learn how to write without moving your hand much. And that limits smudging a lot. The other thing that I think is great about narrow notebook is that you can, if you want to limit how much space and paper you waste. A empty line in a MTN refill is around half the amount of paper you waste in a regular A4 sized notebook. ```

    ```text How to get started? Just order a pen, the TWSBI Eco or Pilot Metropolitan are good choices and remember to get a converter to the Metropolitan so that you can use ink from a bottle. Get a bottle of Bernanke blue or black, I prefer the black. And just start writing a lot with it. There will be some smudging in the beginning, it is like that for everyone, especially lefties. The important thing is to try to learn how to under and over write. ```

    ```text I remember that I got two bottles of ink when I got my Lamy 2000, one Bernanke Black and one with the Lamy black ink. The latter was absolutely useless for me in the beginning. But the Noodler Bernanke had such a short dry time that I almost never smudged anything, and I had learned the proper technique by the time that bottle was empty. I don’t even think much about dry time and so on these days. ```

    Midori Travelers Notebook

    10.04.2016 02:00

    ```text ```

    ```text There are a few stationary products, but not that many though, that I whole heartedly believe everyone should check out. The Midori Travelers Notebook is without doubt one of them. I’m going to get to why in a moment. But let me explain what it is first. ```

    ```text A Midori Travelers Notebook consists of three parts: ```

  • The Cover
  • Refills
  • Accessories.
  • ```

    ```text You can get two different covers from Midori, one regular sized and one passport sized. There are also a whole community of unofficial third party covers available. So there should be something that fits more or less every aesthetic and practical preference. ```

    ```text The best thing about the MTN in my opinion is the wide variety of refills. You have all the usual stuff: lined, grid and blank. But can also get different calendar refills, and special refills for drawing(heavier paper), thinner paper(if you want more pages per refills) or kraft paper for weirdos and scrapbookers. ```

    ```text You can fit up to six refills in the official cover, and there are unofficial covers that can fit even more. ```

    ```text Accessories for the Midori Travelers Notebook is world for itself. I personally only use one: a pen holder, but I have been thinking about adding a second one. There are plenty of official and unofficial accessories that you can attach to the cover or fit inside it. Everything from my beloved pen holder, to zip pockets, credit card holders, and much much more. ```

    ```text Why is it so great? You can put together a set of refills and accessories that fits exactly what you need, and you can just change the setup when your needs change. ```

    ```text My big problem with all the notebooks I have had before is that I want lined paper 99% of the time, to write long form or to manage tasks and stuff like that, but there are times when I want a blank page. Not that often, but it happens. I solved this problem in my Midori Travelers Notebook by having five lined notebooks, and one blank one at the end. ```

    ```text Another big problem for me in the past, that the MTN solves is the many notebooks problem. I like to have one for journaling, one for tasks, one for miscellaneous, one for studying and one for work. The many notebooks problem is divided in two: you have the two small or too large problem: Field Notes – too small; regular notebook – too heavy and too large(you don’t have enough room in your bag, and you always have many pages left when you don’t need it anymore) & you need to remember to bring them all. ```

    ```text The way this is solved by using a MTN is simple: you have all your different notebooks in one cover, as long as you remember your cover, you remember all your notebooks. And the number of pages is note too small, where you feel like you always need to carry 2 or 3 extras just in case you want to write a lot. While at the same time small enough that you feel like you can use a whole notebook for a project. ```

    ```text A third problem I often face is that what I need or want changes. Most notebooks don’t adept well to change. If I suddenly need a grid for some weird reason? Well, then I just order a few grid refills and start using them. Some regular notebooks have tried to combine blank and lined, or blank and grid paper before. I like the idea of having more than one page formatting in the same package. But I think the way they did it was wrong. It is impossible to find a configuration that works for everyone. I probably use one or two blank pages for every ten lined pages I write. To have them in the same refill or notebook is a mistake. But you can do a lot of interesting things, when you have the option of combining different refills in a cover. If you mostly write on lined paper but sometimes need a blank page, and sometimes need a grid? Just fill 4 slots with lined, and one blank and one grid. ```

    ```text To summarise, you should get one because you can customise everything from the accessories to the combination of refills to something that fits your need right now; and you can change it to what ever your needs are tomorrow without any problems at all. You are only limited by the FedEx delivery time and the number of refills you can fit in the cover. ```

    Your first fountain pen.

    06.04.2016 02:00

    ```text I have reviewed the three fountain pens that I personally consider to be the best beginner fountain pens. Which one you should get is a difficult question. But I’m going to give some short but straight to the point on why you want it, or don’t want it. ```

  • Go for the TWSBI Eco if you aren’t afraid of buying ink in bottles.
  • Go for the Pilot Metropolitan if you want something good and cheap as a starting point.
  • Go for the Lamy Safari if you want to test different nibs to figure out what you prefer.
  • ```

    ```text The best buy of the three is in my opinion the TWSBI Eco, while the Pilot Metropolitan is the cheapest place to start, and the Lamy Safari is the thing you want, if you want to experiment; like you did in college. ```


    03.04.2016 02:00

    ```text There used to be two pens that where the beginner fountain pen; the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan. Made by two great companies. And Lamy Safari was the beginner fountain pen before that. ```

    ```text Both of them are highly compromised pens, but most people forgive that when it comes to the Metropolitan because it is much cheaper than the Safari. You can get a TWSBI Eco for the same price, and I would recommend that if you don’t have any problems with buying bottled ink. ```

    ```text I ordered my Lamy Safari a week after I got my first fountain pen: the Pilot Metropolitan. My relationship with this pen is a love-hate one – at the same time. The thing I love about it is how “goofy” it looks. It is this weird plastic thing. And you have a wide variety of colours and styles to chose from. You have a lot more nibs to pick from, than the Metropolitan, and you can just get a pack of all the different Lamy nibs and test out what you prefer. It is a fantastic pen for this exact reason. ```

    ```text I think it is a little bit more expensive than it should be. But my main issue with the pen is the grip section. This is not a Safari problem, but a problem I have with all the cheaper Lamy pens. They have formed the grip to match how you are supposed to hold the pen, and that is fine, by itself, and very useful for when you learn how to write. But, that only works well for right handed people. Most left handed writers like myself, just ignore it and hold it as they please. It is possible, and it works okay. But it has always annoyed the living shit out of me. ```

    ```text Lamy nibs are still to this day the best I have ever used. And I would without doubt carry a few of these if they fixed the damn grip section. ```

    Ink Review

    28.03.2016 02:00

    ```text Tsuki-yo is my third Iroshizuku ink, and it will without doubt not be my last. ```

    ```text The thing I love about Iroshizuku inks is how consistent they are. I know more or less how the dry time will be, how it is to write with them, and how they perform. This makes it much easier to find a new ink. I just need to find a colour I like. ```

    ```text Tsuki-yo is my first blue ink. The reason I have ignored blue inks for so long is that is my distaste for what I call “bic blue”. This is the colour that you get in most cheap ball point pens, or in the cartridge you get in the box when you buy a Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy Safari. ```

    ```text One of my goals this year was to explore more ink colour than what I have done in the past. And a natural step in this direction is to try more blues. ```

    ```text I have used Tsuki-yo with all of my pens. It delivers a darker, but still not muddy blue colour when I use it with a wetter pen, like my Lamy 2000. And it delivers a lighter but not washed out colour when I use it with one of my dryer pens. ```

    ```text My experience this far with the Iroshizuku line of inks is that how they behave with wet versus dry nibs are very consistent. Wet nib – darker colour without being muddy; dry nib – lighter colour without being washed out. ```

    How I pick inks.

    27.03.2016 01:00

    ```text Inks are usually available both as a sample, and in either a small or large bottle; some brands are available in both; and others give you a collection of three different inks in a smaller bottle in a nice package. ```

    ```text I have never bought a sample or anything but the largest bottle available. ```

    ```text This is my process every single time I am going to buy a new bottle of ink. I have a text file with all the different inks I have seen, that I haven’t bought before, that I think looks interesting. When I’m going to order something I usually go for something I know I liked, and have used before, or I go for something new. ```

    ```text The first thing I do is to open my text file, and open every single link, and look around until I decide on a colour. Then I close everything except the inks that match that colour. And finally I eliminate one by one until I have two or three options left. ```

    ```text Then I move into the research stage. I start by looking at the writing samples at both Goulet and JetPens, before I read every single review I can find. What I am looking for is to get an overview of how the ink is to use, and how it looks with different pens. Because I use thin and wide nibs; wet and dry. Most inks will look different in the different scenarios. ```

    ```text My goal is to know as much as I can about it, before I order. It isn’t unusual for me to use at least an hour to figure out if I want to order a ink or not. ```

    ```text The result is that I have never bought a bottle of ink that I was unhappy with. I have owned a bottle of ink I wasn’t happy with, a bottle of black Lamy ink. The story behind that is that I got it for free when I bought my Lamy 2000, so it doesn’t count. ```

    Load out

    20.03.2016 01:00

    ```text I’m going to change the focus of these monthly load out posts a little bit. They are about what I use, but I’m going to put a stronger emphasis on the details of how I use them as well. ```

    ```text I still use the same pens that I have been using lately: ```

  • Lamy 2000: medium nib
  • TWSBI Eco: 1.1 stub
  • TWSBI 580AL: medium nib
  • Pilot Metropolitan: medium nib.
  • ```

    ```text All of them have been inked up with Lamy Black ink until a few days ago. I had a little bit left of a bottle, and decided to just use it up, before I used anything else. It’s too bad to throw away good ink, even though I don’t like that much. All of my pens are being inked up with my first blue ink – Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo – as they run out of ink. Both my Lamy 2000 and my TWSBI Eco have been inked up with it, and I love it. ```

    ```text I’m particular about almost everything, and ink colours is without doubt one of them. I have said this many times before, and I’m going to do it again: a ink need to have either excellent colours or excellent dry time. This is one of the reasons I don’t like the Lamy black ink. I can talk until the cows come home about my distaste for mediocre inks. This is about blue inks. ```

    ```text The reason I have kept away from blue inks for over three years is that I don’t like the typical blue ink you find in most regular pens, and the cartridge you get with most fountain pens. It looks way too light, and the first thing I think when I see it is: that is what you get from the pen at the office with your company logo on it. ```

    ```text I guess it all comes down to my preference for inks that are darker. Not just for blue inks, but almost any colour. But not too dark, it still need to look blue if it is blue or green if it is green; the exception is black inks, the blacker the better. ```

    ```text I’m going to do a proper review of the Tsuki-yo in a few weeks. ```

    ```text There are some pretty big changes this month. Not only have I extended my colour palette away from black and the occasional green to blue, but I have also made some drastic changes to my notebook setup. I don’t use Field Notes anymore. ```

    ```text Let me explain. I have been a big fan of them for a long time, and they have been something I carried everywhere from May 2013 until a few weeks ago. You can read more about me and Field Notes here. ```

    ```text This is a part of a lager project I have going on, where I am trying to move everything I can over to my beloved Midori Travelers Notebook. I have six refills in it. Five lined, and one blank. I have two for journaling(one of them are full), one for tasks, and I use the blank one for sketching(when I like to pretend that I know how to draw, or making UI mockups at work) and testing inks. ```

    ```text Why did I do this? ```

  • I’m trying to carry and use fewer notebooks, because I prefer to carry one less thing if I can without loosing something essential. And this brings me down to two: MTN & Hobonichi Planner.
  • The MTN refills are a little bit larger, which makes it easier to combine small projects on a single page, and map out larger projects on a single one.
  • The paper works much better with fountain pens. The dry time is a little bit slower, but still pretty good.
  • ```

    ```text My favourite benefit of doing this is that it takes much less time to browse through the notebook to get an overview. There are advantages to the smaller size, but it all depends on if they provide you something on the other side. ```

    ```text What does this mean for the Hobonichi Planner? Well, it doesn’t mean anything before the end of the year. But I will, as I usually do, evaluate then, what I’m going to use for the next year. It would be nice to also have my calendar in my Travelers Notebook. But I have two concerns, about the MTN calendar refills: ```

  • All of the refills I have seen are generic, and I prefer those who are made for a specific year. It isn’t a deal breaker, I just prefer to not have to deal with filling in all of the dates myself.
  • ```

    ```text This is the biggest change, since I started using fountain pens. I think MTN is a must buy for almost everyone, because it is so easy to put together a combination of refills and accessories that fits what you need. You could do the same thing with different notebooks, but having it all in one package makes it much more convenient; it is so easy to forget one of them if you carry multiple notebooks. Everything I need, including a pen, is in one thing, and that makes the MTN worth every single penny. ```

    Links of the Week.

    13.03.2016 01:00

    ```text I have gone back and forth, on if I should continue to link as I have been doing it, or move over to a single post with a list of links. There are pro and cons with both. There are two reasons I’m switching: First of all, it takes much less time to write a list than individual posts. And secondly, I can link to more stuff and be more free to only add commentary when I feel like it. The format also gives me an opportunity to comment on larger trends in any given week. ```

  • Gourmet Pens: Review: Diplomat Excellence A Evergreen GT Fountain. Gold isn’t really my thing. But there is a few pens with gold colouring that peeks my interest from time to time. This is one of them. It have to be done in a classy way, without being to “bling” or too “grandad”.
  • The Gentleman Stationer: Pen Review: TWSBI Eco. Another great review of one of my favourite pens. Everyone should have at least one of them.
  • The Well-Appointed Desk: Review of Leuhtturm 1917 Sketchbook. I’m a huge fan of Leuhtturm. They are very good at walking the line between minimal bleed through while maintaining short dry time. And they are also very good at giving people a good option to the core of Moleskine’s offering. This notebook looks like a very good option for anyone that either are sketching, want thicker paper or want a better option to their Moleskine Sketchbook.
  • ```