An interesting title, wouldn't you say?
I made a tweet a few weeks ago that I haven't really been using fountain pens as often lately. Wait, what? A pen blogger not using fountain pens at all times and in all places?!
I really enjoy fountain pens a lot, but not all the time. I'd even venture to say that fountain pens may actually not be my favorite kind of pen. Well, maybe like 30% of the time they are.
But, fountain pens are what everyone is using? Shouldn't I jump on the wagon too? Well, that all depends on you.
Things I like about fountain pens:
- they are a very unique writing experience
- they offer a wide variety of nibs, colors, designs
- they make writing letters to people fun
- they are fountain pens for goodness sake. Neat!
- it is fascinating how they work
Things I DON'T like about fountain pens:
- you have to clean them (I procrastinate this usually until like 20 are inked)
- its hard to use them in many situations
- I rarely find a fountain pen that feels "perfect" to my preferences while writing
- they are usually pretty expensive when you get into the "nice" ones
- you need to use the right paper or they usually suck
Lets say you are one of those people that really doesn't like fountain pens. Sort of feels like you're the odd one out or that you have to pretend to like them around the cool kids in order to fit in...
If this is you and you feel this way, don't. Serious. Use what you enjoy!
I mean, for curiosity's sake you may want to buy yourself a Safari or Pilot Metropolitan to try out, but if you find it really isn't your thing, spending more money on more expensive fountain pens in hopes that you may "convert" later might never happen. Be ok with that. It is an easy trap to fall into the "I'll be happy when", and fountain pens are no exception.
Now, if you've had a bad experience due to a BAD PEN, there may still be room for exploration. Maybe don't let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch before you've given it a good shot.
If you don't love fountain pens, this doesn't mean you can't buy nice pens or are destined to a life of only enjoying your over-the-counter plastic pens either (nothing wrong with these by the way...). Many people will argue, "Why would you spend a few hundred dollars on a pen other than a fountain pen?" If the design or material speaks to you, value is literally in the eye of the beholder so go for it.
I recently reviewed the Montblanc M fountain pen which I do enjoy, but, truth be told I was pretty torn between getting the fountain pen version or the fineliner version. Seems crazy, right? No gold nib...well, no mess and cleanup either, and the fineliner would be awesome in this pen design.
The truth is, most of my absolute favorite pens are not fountain pens. Some of them are even...ballpoints... sheesh. They are generally always metal or machined pens as I appreciate the heft, feel, and durability.
My top five go-to "nicer" non-fountain pens (some of my really early reviews here):
- rOtring 600 ballpoint
- Karas Kustoms Render K G2 (with Pentel Energel refill)
- Maxmadco Titanium Bolt Action Pen
- Schon DSGN Titanium Pocket Pen
- Fisher Space Pen AG-7
This post isn't meant to be a diss-fest on fountain pens by any means, but just to share some thoughts around using what you like and also what makes sense with your current situation.
About a year ago at my job-job I switched from doing quite a bit of 1:1 client consultation (where I wrote a lot) to more of a strategic/training role which has limited the amount of freehand note taking I do in my day-to-day. I always write when I can (because I love it), but this limiting of necessary writing has made me consider a bit more which pens to throw in my pocket when heading out in the morning.
I still love fountain pens, but find that I haven't been reaching for them as often in my daily carry, and I'm ok with that. When I do carry them, I'm trying to only keep 3 or 4 inked at a time so my attention can stay focused which helps me enjoy them more.
What are your thoughts on this? Anyone either go in ebbs and flows where you love/hate fountain pens, or are you finding you just really aren't that into them? What do you use instead that you really enjoy?