Ahhh, that ever nagging question: “How many inked fountain pens should I have at any given time? How many are too many?” Here are some great ideas for putting those lovely writing instruments to good use before the ink dries up! 🙂
Like many fountain pen geeks, I am constantly looking for reasons to use my fountain pens—to give them a ‘life purpose’. 😉 I have a small, modest collection that I would love to keep inked all the time but two things prevent me from doing so: (1) I’m doubtful I’ll be able to use them all before the ink dries up and (2) I really don’t want to clean so many at one time!
Before getting into the ideas of how to use them all, there are two things you need to consider first:
- How much writing do you do on a daily basis? — AND —
- How long are the writing sessions?
If the answer to the first question is ‘a lot’ then you’ll definitely need at least 2 to 3 fountain pens inked up in case one runs out, you’ll have another ‘waiting in the wings’. If the answer to the second question is ‘long’, then you’ll want to choose fountain pens with larger ink capacities that can withstand longer writing sessions and go longer periods of time without drying up. Since I do a lot of writing at work and at home, I’ll have anywhere from 5 to 10 fountain pens inked at any given time (half are piston fillers and half are cartridge converters). I’ll use a piston filler pen for longer writing sessions so I don’t have to worry about running out of ink quickly and use cartridge converter pens in books where I generally take quick, short notes or check off tasks.
Now that we’ve covered some general pre-requisites, below are some ideas to help you assign ‘jobs’ to each of your lovely fountain pens. 🙂
The Dynamic Duo
One of the easiest ways to put a fountain pen to use is to pair it with a planner, notebook, or journal. If your plannernerd, writer, note taker, or journaler, then having a pen with your book of choice at all times is a must! Ideally your book will have a pen holder to keep the two together but if not, pick up one of those handy-dandy stick-on pen loops, clip-on pen loops, or strap on pen loops to make sure your fountain pen is always nearby and ready to go.
Many plannernerds use color coding to differentiate items on their planner pages. Students might use color coding to keep track of different classes. You can also color code at the office to uniquely identify a client, project, or company. Whatever your color coding system (read more about my color coding system at home and in the office here and here), inking up different fountain pens to support your color coding system is another great way to put them to good use. I keep my color coding system simple by using only 5 colors for both personal and work to ensure those gorgeous colors don’t sit idle and dry up. How many colors do you use?
If you’re the type of person who does not want to carry around multiple fountain pens every day, then create a rotation schedule! Ink up the minimum number you’re comfortable with and change to a different pen every 3 days or once a week. If that’s too often, then change it out—pen and ink—every month so you get a chance to enjoy all the pens and inks in your collection for an entire month at a time. Whichever frequency you choose, setup a rotation schedule that provides the flexibility and low-maintenance level you’re looking for.
Set the Stage
Like an artist with a color palette working in a studio, setup or store your fountain pen ‘toolkit’ in those areas where you are stationary when writing. Do you work at a desk taking notes and checking off tasks throughout the day? Do you plan every evening at the dining room table to prepare for the next day? Do you journal in bed before you go to sleep? If there are times throughout the day when you sit down to reflect, write, plan, or track, then either stock the area with your fountain pens, keep them in a nearby drawer, or carry them in a multi-pen case so you can pull it out when you sit down to write.
Become An Artist
Who says fountain pens are just for writing? Be an artist and use them to draw, sketch, design, and doodle! Sure, black and blue are the ‘cult classics’ but think how those drawings will look using a stunning shading ink or any other color of the rainbow. Experiment using different pens in a variety of nib sizes for different effects and blending colors together for something new and unique!
You were probably looking for this idea at the beginning of the list because it’s the most obvious so of course, I left it for last. 😉 What am I talking about? It might be easy to forget given the digital world we live in but don’t forget traditional communication methods like letters, postcards, and holiday or birthday cards! How lovely would it be to send a handwritten note on beautiful stationary instead of a quick and easily forgotten text to someone? Give it a try so your message stands out—some traditions never go out of style!
♥ LilD ♥