When it comes to pens, I think I may have a bit of a problem.
I am obsessed with Sakura gelly pens (I’ve stocked up so that I will never run out, and if there is some kind of gelly pen apocalypse I’ll be just fine). I love these pens because they run so smoothly over the paper – they glide so easily without the tiniest catch. There’s nothing more annoying, to me, than a pen that scrapes on the page instead of gliding. They are also permanent so they don’t run or smudge, they are dark and bold like ink pens, and they come in lots of colours (which I LOVE). They also come in a million other variations, like sparkly and pastel and puffy, but I can’t easily get them in NZ, which is probably just as well.
Choosing the right pen for your journaling is important. Other choices are ball point (I can’t stand these but a friend of mine prefers them over gelly pens – naturally we aren’t very close friends), fountain, various types of ink pens and pencil. Pencil can be nice to write with at times, but it is a bit scratchy on the page and I don’t like the idea that it can be erased. This is why I don’t really like those frixion pens that can be erased. I want to keep my journals and read them again when I’m 80 (is that weird?), so having a good solid permanent pen is important to me. I also use Staedtler coloured pens which can be cool, but they don’t roll as nicely across the page as the gellys.
The truth is that other than the pens I use, I don’t know much about different types of pens. You can read about other good pen recommendations here. But, I can say that using a pen you like is important. I can easily lose inspiration if I’m stuck using a pen I don’t like, so I always have a black gelly pen with me. You may want to buy a bunch of different pens to experiment with, or you may want to just buy one nice pen and get refills for it as you need. Personally I like to have lots of different colours and write with whichever colour grabs me at the time, so I have lots of different colours of gelly pens.
The type of pen you choose will have some influence on your handwriting.
One thing I haven’t really covered up to this point is the idea of doing your journaling on a computer or other device. This is possible, but I really recommend you write by hand. There are a couple of reasons for this.
As a creative and artistic person, I’ve always been fascinated by handwriting. I think our handwriting, the different ways people write, is really interesting. When I was younger I had this friend who used to write in this lovely script which I tried to emulate, but couldn’t quite master. Then I had another friend who had really neat flowing writing which I also liked. I always notice a student’s handwriting when they submit assessments, and often comment on it. I think it says something about me that I’m so obsessed with handwriting!
I see handwriting as a form of self-expression – a sort of creative outlet, in a way.
We can be deliberate and try to change aspects of our handwriting, which I have done over the years, until we start to like it. And it can tell us about our mood when we look back on our writing – if it’s messy and rushed, we might have been angry, for example. Looking back through my journals, I like to see how my handwriting has changed over the years, and I encourage you to write by hand and learn to love your handwriting if you don’t already. It is a unique expression of who you are and you can learn to write differently if that’s something you want to work on.
The other thing is that there is something different about writing by hand. A sort of connection to our words, and, I feel, to something bigger than us. At times, it feels like the pen is moving itself. Like my hand is moving across the page and I merely watch what comes out.
There is a connection between my hand, the pen and the page.
When typing on keys, in the jarring and staccato manner of hitting one key after another, we lose a bit of that physical feeling of the words flowing out of us, down the pen and onto the page. It makes me feel connected to something bigger than me, and intimately connected to the words on the page.
This, again, is all about personal preference. It will probably take a bit of time to find the pen that really works for you, but I encourage you to experiment with a few. If you’re not a stationery nut who needs another excuse to buy pens, then you’ll probably be happy with whatever you have at hand, and that’s fine too. And if you really prefer typing and you really want to type, then by all means do what works for you.