Ode to the Fountain Pen

Call me-fashioned, old-school, or just old – I’ll debate you on that last one – but I still like putting my outline and a first draft on paper. I’m pretty rigid in my routine for this. Notes go into a notebook:

99% of those notebooks are full of ideas.

And first draft onto a yellow legal pad. For the past decade, I’ve used fountain pens to put words to paper. I started with black ink, but about four years ago, I switched to blue. I read somewhere that writing in blue ink triggers your brain to release more creativity, so I went with it.I’ve always like the look of fountain pens. As someone who’s into Victorian England. Steampunk and a student of the First World War, my love for fountain pens fits in with my personality. I really like everything about then, from the design to the way they hit the page when writing.

There was a time when fountain pens were not as prevalent, and you could find yourself shelling out $100 or more for one. Ink wasn’t easy to get either and could be 1/5 of that for a pack(!). But that all changed with the Bic disposable fountain pen.

You could get a pack of two at Staples for about $10. The way I went through pens, it’d last me about a month and a half. I loved the way they wrote and they were a cool conversation piece.

About three years ago, though, they disappeared from stores. It was rare they’d be available online and if they were, it’d be triple the normal price.

Enter Pippi’s Pen Shoppe.

When I moved to South Central PA, I soon became enamored with the downtown shops and Farmer’s Market. But I was really overjoyed to see a local stationary shop with everything a write could ask for, including Field Notes!

Pippi’s shop had been around for almost two decades. It wasn’t open every day, but Pippi herself is always there to answer your question and help with supplies of all kinds. To help you think, it’s kind of like Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

But it was her Fountain Pen collection that got me. Now, she did have some sweet one that looked amazing and wrote well (Pippi allowed you to try them out), but they were almost $200. She must’ve read my discouragement upon telling me that, but she then took me to her starter fountain pen set.

The entire set – including pack of refill ink cartridges – was $30. I use it every day, and Pippi always has some on hand for me.

Las summer, while in the Finger Lakes, I paused from the wine and cheese tour to spend a day shopping in Ithaca. They had a stationary store too, where I not only found a cool pen, but in my favorite color, too!

The ink that came with it was black, so when I swapped that out for blue, it came out a funky color, but I didn’t mind – it was a first draft, after all!

Now, I go back and forth between the pens, which, like my writing, helps keep my creative juices flowing. The pens are a part of me and a unique piece of my process.

I’d love to hear what unique things are a part of your process – please leave a comment below!

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