On Writing

If you’ve ever seen my Etsy store, you already know my love of all things paper. While I like to keep most things digital, I think some occasions do call for writing, pen on paper. In this post I’d like to share some of my favorite paper and pen products, as I’ve been really enjoying mine recently.

I’m a fan of all things digital, it’s true. My Mac Calendar is filled with appointments, my Reminder program has daily lists, I took all my notes on my iPad in college (and soon will do the same in Grad school), and as a teacher if I can use Google Classroom I never make a single copy. I’ve really embraced not using paper. And yet… Some things just require writing things down: using a pen and some special paper.

Stationary Gift Set 9
My love of ferns on display. See it in my store.

In my mind, any message or thought that is emotional in nature requires someone to see my handwriting. I don’t think an email is necessarily cold or unfeeling, but handwriting feels to me like an expression of the self. I always keep some of the stationery cards I sell in my office, in case I need to thank someone or write a message to one of my students.

Paper 3
Writing that list!

Next, while I write my lists using my phone or computer in most areas of my life, I feel like at work I must make paper-based lists. There’s something tremendously gratifying about seeing what I can actually accomplish in a day, and what the rest of my week looks like, with all the crazy notes in between. I absolutely love the paper used to make the “Maruman Mnemosyne – Today’s Act Notepad“. Even more, I love that it comes ready with boxes to check things off, and the B5 sizes makes it extremely portable.

Paper 4
Planning my ELA for ELL class, by designing it backwards.

The other thing I like writing down is the overview of my yearly curriculum. I’ve typed it before, but on paper I feel like I can truly express what I’m aiming to actually express. It could be that I just need to organize the page a certain way, but having it all on a page allows me to reflect on my overall ideas.

I’ve been using the Kokuyo Campus Smart Ring Binder, which is essentially a notebook you can add paper to, and remove paper from to file away. I like that it isn’t disposable like most notebooks, and that you can write on it as if it is a true notebook. I bought the paper refill as soon as I ordered this binder/notebook, and I’ll be buying a binder to keep it all organized next.

Honorable Mention: Pens, Etc.

Perhaps my love of fountain pens stems from watching my dad use them when I was growing up, just as he watched his dad use fountain pens when he was growing up. I’m not sure, but either way, I have quite a love affair with inexpensive fountain pens. While I’ve always been tempted to permanently borrow one of my dad’s shamcier pens, I tend to prefer pens I don’t have to worry too much about losing. Working in an office as a teenager, I became acutely aware that pens have a habit of disappearing on you, and being a teacher has truly reinforced that notion.

Paper 2

I recently got quite frustrated with my Lamy Safari Fountain Pen, as I’m not sure what I’m doing to it to encourage it to leave ink stains all over my hand when I use it. I decided to make a switch and go with the Pilot Kakuno Fine-Nib Fountain Pen, and I swear I’m about to buy four more of these pens (one for my office at home, one for my office at work, on for my classroom, and one for my bag so that I’m never without it!).

This pen doesn’t get ink all over me, is super light, doesn’t require disposable ink cartridges despite it’s price, writes like a dream, and has an adorable winking face nib. I bought two ink bottles to go with it: J. Herbin’s Bleu Nuit Ink and Cacao du Brésil Ink. These are water based inks, and the tiny bottles allow me to experiment with various colors without committing to one just yet. I worry about getting ink all over me when using the converter, but I feel much better knowing I am creating a little less waste.

I’ve also been after highlighters and pens that don’t have to be chucked out once their ink runs dry/out. The Zebra Optex 1 EZ Highlighter to come in delightful colors and can be refilled. The Zebra Mackee Care Refillable Double-Sided Marker also has refills available, and so as long as I don’t lose it, I’ll be spending some quality time with it moving forward.

These are my current favorites, along with my Skydue Letter A4 Paper Expanding File Folder Pockets Accordion Document Organizer, and let me assure you that no one paid me/gifted them to me so that I would write about them. I suspect that if I ever go to Japan I’ll come back with mountains of paper and pens, since it’s basically a life goal of mine to visit a giant stationery store in Tokyo since I’ve seen various Instagram images of some epic ones.

What are your favorite paper products? Please share below.

P.S.: I feel compelled to share that I am an avid recycler, as my business produces quite a bit of paper waste. I love sharing any design that I botch with my customers by cutting it into something new: smaller cards, smaller letter stationery, smaller tags. Anything that I can’t reuse is recycled, and I always make sure to buy supplies made from at least some recycled paper and recycle all my ink cartridges. 

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2 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. My writing tools of choice are my Pilot Metropolitan (F) and Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts and Noodler’s Dark Matter inks. The inks are waterproof/permanent/etc which is perfect for me.

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