What makes you sit down and write? And what keeps you from writing?
I’m constantly at this question. I have no time to write, I’m exhausted, haven’t eaten in sixteen hours and slept only 2 last night, yet I find myself crouched on the carpet in the dark in a cramped corner of a room writing by moonlight as if my life depended on it. Then on an easy Sunday with nothing to do and my inviting well lit writing desk staring angrily back, I somehow find laundry to wash, countertops to wipe, rugs to vacuum, bathtubs to scrub, closets to organize. Ridiculous.
What if something as inconsequential as pens were the magic variable? I know – to writers, pens are the farthest thing from inconsequential and are deeply personal, like the traits we search for in a mate. You can’t explain your desire for short blonde women or men with tattoos – it just IS. And the same goes for pen-preference. I loathe fountain pens. To me, they’re heavy, bloated, full of themselves, ostentatious, ridiculously priced, and represent in sum all the human traits I can’t stand.
These used to be my favorite. Solid, reliable, consistent. The ink lasts longer than you’d expect, they feel comfortable to hold – not too fat, not too slim, and you never have to waste valuable mental real estate on them. Pick me up, drag me across the page, voila!
I know, they can be temperamental compared to ball points and this took some getting used to, but their naturally flowy nature and the fluidity of their mechanism drove me to reconsider my narrow views. They’re impetuous, creative, and they surprise you with the unexpected.
What’s your favorite pen type? Do you keep any special pens, like locked away in boxes or tins that you don’t let anybody use?
Today, buy a gift for your inner writer and reward yourself for the deep work and introspection required by our craft. Buy a new, beautiful pen. Invest money in something that will be your gift of inner travel and exploration, your path toward imagination and escape, something that will make you want to spend money on an exquisite journal. Write a new story in that journal with your new pen, or draw pictures of cartoon owls. Write an impromptu poem about the dying plant on the table, what it intended to look like before it got waterlogged or before sunlight became too hard to find. Write at a big desk, write on the floor. In the morning light, or by candlelight. Writing has such power – with nothing but a pen, we can build a whole world.