This is exactly why I experiment with pen and paper combinations every now and then trying to find something I like. I find the act of note-taking very beneficial, both for work and for self-study of math, CS, programming, etc. Just writing my thoughts down solidifies things a bit better, so encouraging that by making the writing enjoyable is what I've strived for.
I don't even spend that much, just allowed myself to pitch what didn't work and find something I like. My current favorite combination is National Brand Computation notebooks ($12) which I like for being quite large at nearly 12"x10" and having thick smooth paper and the largest (08) Pigma micron pens ($2) which are almost like felt tip markers. It almost feels like writing on a whiteboard.
Of course, what I like specifically isn't that important, but I definitely recommend experimenting with pen and paper if note taking is something you want to encourage yourself to do.
I tried many combinations of pen and paper in my early 20s, but I never found one I preferred to a keyboard. And not the fancy keyboards either, as my favorite keyboard is a laptop keyboard. The most important feature is that I don't have to think about my input device, my writing surface, or how to draw letters -- only on the message I'm writing.
I've been using acid-free Strathmore sketch books (various sizes) for about 25 years. Usually with a fountain pen, but that's just an affectation.
Small, hand-sized notebooks for small ideas. Paperback-book sized notebooks for meeting notes. 8 1/2 x 11 inch notebooks for general engineering.
The friend that I stole this little system from said that he had a coffee-table-sized book at home that he'd never used, because he'd never had an idea that big. :-)
When I join a project and I'm in "sponge" mode, I usually copy down APIs and make class diagrams. There's something about muscle memory and the act of hand-copying that makes it easier to remember details of the system I'm learning.
Your TL;DR skipped over a possibly important thought to many people.
Even if somebody tells them, shouldn't they still try for themselves? Maybe it works for the person who tells them, but not for them?
It was only a couple of years ago that I discovered the benefits of writing on paper vs. computer. I needed to be told, back then.
No. But I like reading about personal experiences and the little details.
Then I got my first pair of Oakleys before a vacation and not only do I love them, I don't lose them anymore, and I take very good care of them 'cuz I actually 1.) care about them (they're super-comfy!), and 2.) care about the investment I made in them.
Not saying they'll ever pay for themselves (unlikely), but I probably had them in the same time span I would've had four crappy pairs that would've been scratched before now.
I imagine pens are very much the same - buy a crappy ten-pack of disposable pens and you'll lose them all in a month. Buy this titanium thing and own it for years.
For better or worse, if you write in a Moleskine with either a fountain pen or a Pilot G2 ink pen, you will probably find that it bleeds through so much that you can only really write on one side anyway. I'm not sure that addresses his concern with thread-bound notebooks and writing on the "back" page, but that's been my experience with them.
Moleskine's are pretty average quality, Rhodia and Lichtenstein 1917 are great papers and notebooks. Lamy Safari is a great starter fountain pen.
I frequently purchase ballpoint and gel pens from JetPens.com and am particularly fond of the Pilot Hi-Tec-C: http://www.jetpens.com/Pilot-Hi-Tec-C-Gel-Ink-Pen-0.4-mm-Bas...
What are some of your <$10 pens that you frequently go back to?
I used to work at a place that specialized in higher end pens. The pen body itself almost never matters: it's all about the insert. I can't withstand the feel of using ballpoints because my hands are highly tactile since I used to do a ton of drawing and massage, so every little skip -- that many people don't notice -- feels like a punch in my brain. For me, I can't stand to use anything but roller balls or felt-tips, but even then you have to be careful. Pilot roller balls feel just as "skippy" as ballpoints, IMO. For the most part, I find fountain pens to be pure torture to use.
Fountainpen-network is a great resource where members frequently post reviews of various inks and papers, incorporating drying time for lefties.
I have been using a Lamy Safari with J Herbert ink for the past few months and it has been great.
The only stipulations that it is long enough for my giant hands without the lid and that it not be made of metal. (I have trouble holding metal pens)
After getting the Lammy Safari two months ago I find my self writing much more. My notes are much more useful and are a pleasure to write.
Out of the other three, the Zebra Sarasa Clip is comfortable to hold, but I don't think it writes quite as smoothly. The Signo and G-2 are both comfortable and smooth-writing... I've tended to favor the G-2 since I've been using some variant of it since high school (nearly 20 years now), and the 0.38 is even nicer. I'll probably end up picking up a few additional Signos though -- they write nearly as smoothly for me and I really like the blue-black color that the G-2 0.38 isn't available in.
I find the G-2 is the smoothest overall for me, but this may also be because of the relatively cheap writing pads I use at the office.
I have a Bic 730R in front of me that I like, but the article made me realize I left my expensive fountain pen that I like more at home.
- Zebra Sarasa (0.4mm)
- uniball signo 0.38mm
- Pilot Hi-Tec-C
- Pilot G2 Pro (0.5mm)
One thing that I don't understand is why people start kickstarters for pens. I'm honestly curious here because I can't understand it: The market for pens is saturated, and 3000 people apparently back a pen kickstarter (for a non-remarkable pen) for an average of $98. Why?
I understand the value of having something special, but I fail to see what makes it more special than some expensive pen that you can get in shops.
With these Kickstarter pens, people are creating good quality barrels for good quality refills. Look up and down this thread and you will see how many people use < 0.5mm pens. You can barely get those type of refills on the store shelf, much less in a high-end pen.
The US pen market is far from saturated. It is bone dry from my perspective.
TL;DR - Just because you buy an expensive pen doesn't mean it writes worth a crap.
TL;DR get a nice pen, it's the best.
Writing with pencil, especially when working through a problem, lets me work more effectively. Knowing you can erase something gives you a sense of freedom to explore ideas that I don't get when writing with ink. Kind of like having an "undo" feature in an application lets you be a little more cavalier with your experimentation.
I don't like spiral bound and I have several different types of Moleskine. The spiral bound break too easily on me and the pages often accidentally tear out.
Moreover, if he continues to use the .38 inserts, (which, I might add, are great) the only added utility of this $60 pen is that it has greater mass and, because it costs more, has some sort of innate "fanciness" value. I just don't understand why one would pay $60 for a metal shaft whose utility doesn't extend beyond making the user feel important or opulent. After all, he lauded this pen not because of its objective superiority, but because it made him feel good.
I just don't get it. I think I'll stick with my Pilot G2s.
Beauty, as they say, is in the eyes of the beholder.
Even if you couldn't afford lavish meals, you would still eat what you could afford, because eating is a necessity. You wouldn't starve yourself just because you couldn't eat at at 4 Star Michelin restaurants every night. Conversely, you wouldn't gorge yourself just because you were at a 4 star restaurant.
So yes, my argument does apply to eating as well. In fact, eating is a pretty excellent example that proves my point.
An obligation can also be subject to hedonistic intent. What is you point?
My response was to your second point where I assert that some people derive pleasure from things that others perceive as mundane. Eating at a 4-star Michelin restaurant for example can be loosely (very) compared to writing with a $60 pen. So it's not bizarre.
To your first point, deriving pleasure from doing something does indeed encourage you to do more of it. Even eating - compare eating a mediocre meal at a food court to a scrumptious meal prepared by your mother (or whoever cooks well in your family!). Sure, writing is not an infrequent exercise, so perhaps the analogy goes only so far, but the point remains that if you enjoy it, you are likely to do more of it.
My second assertion was not dismissing the pleasure found in using an expensive pen and feeling good, but merely an explanation of why I think it's silly. If one cares about having profligate writing instruments, more power to them. I, however, just want something that works well. In a pen, that is usually determined by the insert, which is why a $60 shell isn't important.
Taking pleasure in writing using a pen presumably moves you away from taking notes on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Thus it does encourage you to write more, even though in aggregate you are probably storing the same amount of information.
> whereas people only write for utility.
> When people write, they do it because they have to achieve some
In that context, I've found that some writing instruments simply feel better. The Pentel Sharp mechanical pencils are particular nice -- for me -- vs other pencils, like the cheap Bic mechanicals. Same for pens, there are some 5-10$ pens that write so smoothly it's like they're gliding along the page versus many ballpoints that seem to drag along. Having a pleasant writing experience with good paper and pen leads to more nights or lunches spent just writing to write.
For awhile I used the steel-bodied Zebra 701 and 301. I preferred the gel ink option of the 301, but I liked the heavier body of the 701. (There are guides online for modding the 701 to accept 301 refills, but I never gave it a try.)
I ultimately stumbled on this pen/ink combo that I'm absolutely in love with:
1. Rotring Rapid Pro. http://www.jetpens.com/Rotring-Rapid-Pro-Ballpoint-Pen-1.0-m... It's small, lightweight, and feels adequately balanced. The knurled grip is perfect, too.
2. Parker Gel Ink. Gel is much smoother and starker than ballpoint. It does smear if you're not careful, though.
3. 20 lb legal pads, eg. Docket Gold. http://www.amazon.com/63950-Docket-Letter-Canary-Sheets/dp/B... Heavier paper feels kind of like writing on parchment. The pen glides better, and the paper won't tear when you remove it.
It's an investment, but it works for me. Also, I never lose my pens. Once the initial cost is sunk, it pays for itself in terms of daily contentment. I enjoy writing and drawing much more.
However, it's really a (roundabout) way for Peter to tell us how much he likes using pen and paper, and what advantages he sees in them over the alternatives.
This is the right way to look at objects: suitability. Not best, not cheapest, not highest-quality, but most suitable for the job.
Crucially, by the end, the strongest point made in the first 80% of the article has not been addressed:
"The problem with pens that cost more than a dollar is that, well, you lose them at the same rate you lose pens that cost less than a dollar."
I look forward to a follow up post when he has misplaced it, given up using it for fear of misplacing it, or perhaps treasured this wonderpen so much that it is still faithfully by his side after 6 months of note-taking. In short: how suitable really is it?
This is why 95% of my pen and paper shopping is done online with vendors that import products from around the world. Going to Staples or Office Depot is like watching Groundhog Day. There is zero innovation, just the same old office supply cabinet stuffers that we have been stuck with for years.
I found that about instantly after I bought a Moleskine reporter notebook. If I enjoyed using it, then any use case I'd delegate to something inferior (i.e. quick note taking on paper versus a smartphone or tablet) suddenly transitioned quite easily to pen & paper. I don't have any special pen, and I rock the pilot G2 Peter says he's switched from, but the notebook quality balances it out fairly well in my experience.
: I hate that term
Yes and No. All my cheap pens get lost in a jiffy, and all the expensive ones are kept in their shiny boxes, waiting to be polished every new year.
Perhaps we should develop a "magnetic pen and shirt pocket" combo.
I've had a lovely mont-blanc fountain pen for some time now, in my shirt pocket every day. There's a real effect on how much I write with it, and how much that helps me get my thoughts together, versus a regular ballpoint.
I've probably managed to lose hundreds of dollars in pens, but I've also never bought myself a pen more expensive than a G2... they're always gifts.
the reporter notebook is perfect and you can dump the notebook in a pool, and the paper will still be dry.