I am unabashedly obsessed with pens.
I make no apologies. I am a writer and pens are the instruments of my trade. I am a mystery writer, so pens are also my weapons. Choosing your weapon as a writer is a very important decision, which I take very seriously.
Don’t give me one of those fine pens. What I suffer to write needs to be written in bold. Give me 1.0 mm, not some skinny script. But I seem to be in the minority. Skinny seems to be “in” with pens and bodies. I never seem to fit in.
I do know that when I try and write with a pen that feels wrong to me, I cringe, resist, and immediately seek a different tool. I think that’s probably the case with most writers. Let’s see what other writers say in the comments.
Here are my top three choices:
Fountain pen: I went to Catholic school and learned penmanship from the nuns. Okay, there may have been a little suffering, but I have never regretted learning what was known as the Palmer method. I abandoned using a fountain pen for years, then had occasion to pick one up and immediately fell back in love. I like writing in cobalt blue ink when I use a fountain pen.
While I no longer use the Palmer method, I use my fountain pen every day. I own several fountain pens but favor a lovely aqua and ivory colored one, Laban 325 Fountain Pen Aqua Lagoon Broad, I bought from the Fahrney catalog. Fahrney’s is a pen store in Washington, D.C. that has been open since 1929 and is having a Pen Event next week that I would kill to go to. I’d like to learn more about fountain pens and linger over the pens that can cost as much as $2000.00.
Gel Pen: I have long been a fan of the Uniball Gel Impact 1.0. I used these pens in my law practice. The thick, bold black ink spoke to the solemnity of the documents that were being executed. They were refillable, although I usually gave them to my clients after they had signed off. While I don’t use the Impact as often as I did as a lawyer, it remains my favorite if using a fountain pen isn’t practical. (Watch the odd looks you get in a grocery store when you cross off the items on your list with a fountain pen!)
Ticonderoga #2 Pencils: That’s right. My third favorite choice for a writing instrument isn’t a pen, it’s a pencil. I love the soft flow of the Ticonderoga #2 pencil when I want to draft and erase, when I am playing with words and sentence structure. I opt for the sophisticated black version over the traditional yellow model, but either one will do the job. It somehow feels safe to write with this pencil.
Of course, I write my novels most often on a laptop. I don’t have the patience to draft at the pace of a pen or pencil, other than fragments. Don’t get me started on keyboards! We’ll save that for another day.
What writing instrument do you use and why? Photos encouraged.
C. Michele Dorsey is the author of Oh Danny Girl and the Sabrina Salter series, including No Virgin Island, Permanent Sunset, Tropical Depression, and Salt Water Wounds. Her latest novel, Gone But Not Forgotten was published by Severn House in July 2023.Michele is a lawyer, mediator, former adjunct law professor and nurse, who didn’t know she could be a writer when she grew up. Now that she does, Michele writes constantly, whether on St John, outer Cape Cod, or anywhere within a mile of the ocean.