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Thrills, Chills, and General Silliness (with Weldon Burge)

The Glorious Fountain Pen: A Friend to Every Writer

Unfortunately, it's becoming a rarity to see handwritten anything these days, our society is so inundated with technology and driven by word-processing systems. Many deem handwriting inefficient. Why write longhand when you can pound away at a keyboard and watch your work magically appear on a computer screen?


Good question.


I work on computers, desktop and laptop, every day. My regular job as an editor and writer demands that I sit in front of a computer screen and churn out words. However, as a freelance author, I write my first drafts, fiction and nonfiction, using my favorite writing instrument, a fountain pen. Let me tell you why. 


I have many notebooks filled with potential story ideas, snippets of dialogue, random plot points, research—anything that can be put to paper. In fact, what you are reading now started as ink on paper. I find the fountain pen to be more fluid and less stressful on the hand than other pens, especially ballpoint pens that require more pressure on paper when writing. With a fountain pen, the thoughts stream from the brain straight to the page. It greases the "writing" gears.


I'm sure many of you have a similar process. From brain to pen to paper seems more creative and natural than pounding on a keyboard and watching digitized letters appear on a monitor. Don't you agree? Maybe I'm just old school and younger writers approach the creative process differently. But I think using a fountain pen is the better way to go. Hey, if ink on paper was good enough for Shakespeare, it's good enough for me.



Writing is an art. Using a fountain pen with ink is like using a brush with paint. Writing with a fountain pen is much like freestyle "doodling." You can quickly draw diagrams in the margins to visualize a scene you're developing, even draw a simple illustration of the story as you move along. A fountain pen offers the freedom to release your creativity that you simply can't achieve using a computer. Using a pen in hand is a natural process. Transferring that work to the computer is a mechanical process. Huge difference. Working on a computer seems more of a commitment—and certainly less fun than using a fountain pen.


I used a fountain pen throughout high school and college. But, when I began working as a full-time writer, editor, and publisher, a computer became a necessity. Only recently have I returned to using a fountain pen—and now wonder why I'd avoided my old friend for so many years. I prefer a Pilot, but also occasionally use a Waterman pen. 


Long before the typewriter and the computer, writers depended on pen and ink. So, I feel a part of that honored tradition. I and many other lovers of fountain pens are in good company. 


Arthur Conan Doyle and Graham Greene preferred the Parker Duofold.


Neil Gaiman wrote his novel Stardust using a Waterman pen. He wanted to experience writing the book as a writer in the 1920s would. He also changed ink colors daily to track his progress.


In a 2001 interview, Stephen King said that he thought his Waterman fountain pen was "the world's finest word processor." His son, Joe Hill, also writes longhand with a fountain pen. Must run in the family.


Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee, Salman Rushdie, Peter Straub, H.P. Lovecraft. I could go on and on. Many renowned authors over the years have favored fountain pens. 


So, are you looking to spark your creative writing? Grab a fountain pen and a notepad ... and let it flow!

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