The Tools of a Writer, the Pen

If you’re going to write great stories use great tools.

The basic tool of a writer is the pen and pencil. Warning when you use good tools be like a bank. Trust your friends but, chain your pens down. Pens have legs. They’re like little children, when your not looking they run off.
Your most basic tool is the pen. Even if you’re like me and do your heavy writing on a computer you need a good pen. A good pen is one that will start writing when you do. If you have a pen that skips or takes drawing a half dozen circle before it starts writing then get rid of it (leave it where a fellow worker or writer will pick it up). A pen that you have to fight with is a frustration and writers don’t need more frustration. I have enough independent characters to provide all the frustration I can handle.

A good pen writes a clear line in a dark solid ink color that is easy on the eyes. The ink dries quickly and doesn’t smear.

I use Polit G-2 gel pens with an extra fine (0.38) tip. The thin lines from the 0.38 tip makes the ink last. The line it makes are dark, clean and easy on the eyes. The cartridge in the pen holds lots of ink and the pen feels good to hold and use. Thicker tips like the medium and larger leave enough ink on the paper to smudge before the ink dries.
You can use any old pen you find laying around but it’s a tool. Use the best tools you can find. As a starving writer you can surf around and score pens form many places. Many businesses use pens as advertising. The more prestigious the business the better the pen. Financial businesses have the best pens. Advertise for them, give their pens legs.

I suggest you find a good reliable ball point pen and stay with it. Be aware that there is a pen out there that I accuse of false advertising. I was using one of this brand’s of pens and the pen stopped writing. The worst thing a pen can do when you need to write. The cartridge looked full of ink. You could see the black of the ink through the clear plastic barrel of the pen. Shaking the pen and soaking the end of the pen in water didn’t help. I took the cartridge out of the pen. I cut off the end of the cartridge below the ink line with a pair of wire cutters. I expected to get ink on the cutters but, when I examined the cutters there was no ink. I looked through center of the cut off piece and saw daylight even though the inside of the cartridge was black. I cut up the rest of the cartridge and it was empty. The manufacturer had painted the inside of the cartridge black, so black you could not tell if any ink had been used. They could be selling pens that were only half full of ink and you wouldn’t know it.

I don’t recommend using fountain pens. I like fountain pens but, you forget and take it on an airplane and you will find out why it’s called a fountain pen. The low air pressure inside an airplane will cause the ink to fountain and fill the pen’s cap. When you pull the cap off the pen you’re going to have ink all over the place (mainly on the best shirt you own, and I use waterproof ink that doesn’t come out). You don’t have to get on an airplane, driving from the Salton sea at 112 feet below sea level to Boulder Colorado at a mile above sea level can get you a pocket ink fountain.

If you prefer the easily changeable laid back style of a pencil, I suggest you try a Palomino Blackwing 602. They’re expensive at almost a dollar a pencil but, they are a smooth writing pencil and they have a huge replaceable eraser. If you’re more into an engineering style of writing try a Pentel Twist-Erase in 0.9 mm lead mechanical pencil. It feel good in my hand and is rugged and durable.

If you have to have a fountain pen try a Noodlers Nib Creaper flex pen with Noodlers X Feather black ink. You can get these at The Goulet Pen Company at You can also call them at 804-368-0482 from 9am to 5 pm EST. The chat feature on the website works well to. Many of the 4.5 oz. bottles of Noodlers ink come with a free pen. 4.5 ounces of ink lasts a long time. Clean the pen after you buy it and before you fill it with ink. Goulet has several videos on YouTube about caring for your pens.

Write on, draw on.        Professor Hyram Voltage


Bumper sticker;

Hi Oh, Hi Oh, It’s off to write we go.

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