Actually using pens

A question that quite often comes up amongst people with a large number of pens is something to the affect of: ‘I have all of these pens, but I don’t have much call to write with them, any suggestions?’ I always find this a bit of a sad situation, although I do completely get how the situation can come about. So below is what I’ve done at various different points to make sure I can semi-justify having as many pens as I do.

Saying definitively when I started using pens is a bit tricky, I think I first used a fountain pen aged about 12, but I didn’t start using multiple pens and inks until I was 16 or so. At this point I was still in sixth form, so frankly there were more opportunities to write than I wanted, probably somewhere around four or five hours a day were spent writing. When I moved out one of the jobs I had was going through a pile, about a meter tall, of notes taken in fountain pen throughout those years. Unsurprisingly at this point I was not looking for more ways to use my pens.

Next up was university, again a similar situation, endless opportunities for writing, lecture notes, notes on required reading, essay plans, revision notes, exams ect. I think it’s safe to say that university involved a fair amount of writing for me, and whilst many of my course-mates would break out a laptop to take notes I would be there with a pen case and my pens and frantically scribble away. Yes there were one or two leaks, but then again my batteries never ran out, not did I ever have an update right as a lecture was starting.

Then last summer I graduated, and for a while it definitely seemed like I would have less reasons to use my pens. I got a job at a digital publishers, and the office was pretty paperless, it didn’t seem like there would be much cause to write there. Then I had a couple of ideas. The first was to find any excuse to use my pens at work, even if it wasn’t 100% necessary and actually not only have I used my pens more, but I do think it has made me more organised, I know have a written record of lots of things that would otherwise have stayed in my head, which has proved useful on a couple of occasions.

But that’s not how I do the bulk of my writing, by far and away the source of most of my writing comes from diary-ing.

Ever since about 2013 I kept a diary whenever I went on holiday. Over the summer that I graduated rather than just keeping it for the duration of actually being away on Holiday I decided to try and keep it for all of summer as I figured it would probably be a pretty interesting summer, the end of university, a couple of interesting holidays abroad, getting a job and moving to a new area. As I found out keeping a diary in the weeks between getting a job, looking for a house, moving and starting a new job was not easy, in fact this marked the point where the diary very nearly died. I had about a two week backlog and thought about giving up, after all it was pretty well the end of the time I had planned to keep it for. But then I decided to try and save it, I admitted my failings, condensed two weeks into a couple of pages roughly outlining what had happened and then started afresh. Today in fact marks 260 days since my first diary entry and I don’t see any reason to stop now.

All of the diaries I’ve kept since 2013

So if you’re looking for a way to write more I’d strongly advise starting a diary, not only is it a great way to keep up with writing if you don’t have another way to do so, but it also creates something that is genuinely lovely to look back at and see what you can now remember but would otherwise have forgotten. People might say things to the effect of ‘I don’t have enough to write about’ or ‘My day to day life isn’t interesting enough’ or ‘I’m never going to be able to remember to write something every day’. To these people I would leave this quote from the 7th of February 2019: ‘Can’t massively remember what happened on this day, which would rather suggest it wasn’t anything too significant’. In short, none of those worries matter, after all a diary is first and foremost for you, so what does it matter if it isn’t all perfect.

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