those old-timey writing tools.

There’s an interesting article up on the BBC’s website on the rise of fountain pen sales, an unlikely trend in a time where handwriting is on the decline.

The article includes an explanation by that Neil Gaiman fellow why he writes with those old-fashioned things these days, and some of it echoes my own reasons for having gone back to longhand:

I found myself enjoying writing more slowly and liked the way I had to think through sentences differently. I discovered I loved the fact that handwriting forces you to do a second draft, rather than just tidying up and deleting bits on a computer. I also discovered I enjoy the tactile buzz of the ritual involved in filling the pens with ink.

Of course, I don’t have the rather nice problem of being famous and receiving gifts of fountain pens from adoring fans all the time, so I only have about half a dozen of them. But it’s nice to see that other, rather more successful individuals in the field have come to the same conclusions regarding the merits of the fountain pen for first drafts.

6 thoughts on “those old-timey writing tools.

  1. Like you, I enjoy the tactile feel of writing with a real, honest to goodness pen. Maybe there is a trend towards actual writing and we can look forward to handwritten notes and personal letters in the future. Hope does indeed spring eternal.

  2. I think it’s a trend of people wanting to go back to a simpler time and realizing that the tools of old are, in many cases, vastly superior to their modern counterparts.

    Along with fountain pens and mechanical watches, traditional wet-shaving has been experiencing a huge boon in popularity of late.

    I made the change to a double edged safety razor, shaving brush, and non-canned cream/soap shortly after Christmas and now have the urge to try the whole straight razor thing. In any event, I will never go back to the $5 shaving cartridges and canned goo. Particularly when I get a better shave out of a blade that cost me less than $0.10 and enjoy the overall experience. Amazingly enough, I actually look forward to shaving every day now.

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  3. Starting 10 or more years ago, a coworker of mine quit the company and started selling faux Mont Blanc fountain pens on the Internet. Last I heard, he was doing a booming business.
    So there’s obviously a market, ever increasing.

    As for me, I’m left-handed, I smear…

  4. Gaffer: Agreed on all points.

    Overload: You’ve reminded me to wind and set my pocketwatch for the week. Thanks!

    Red-Leg: I’ve been a wet shaver for years, with both a safety razor and a straight razor. It’s very much like night and day, isn’t it?

    guffaw: Don’t give up! It can be done!

  5. I have one word for you: STEAMPUNK. Underestimate not the power of the brass-goggle aesthetic in bringing the old-timey back!

    As for me, I love the IDEA of a fountain pen, but the scratch of the nib on the paper sets my teeth on edge and the angle on which I hold my pen means the ink doesn’t flow nicely. I have reluctantly accepted that my natural pen is an el-cheapo kilometrico. I am depressed about what this says about my style, but I bow to the inevitability of dagginess and write on!