Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Gifts

Still rushing around on Christmas Eve, trying to find that last-minute gift? May I suggest the gift of writing. If you are near a bookstore, you will likely find Moleskine or other brand journals in various sizes and colors. The small journals make great stocking stuffers!

Pens make great gifts, too. A nice quality writing instrument is not only practical, it can become a family heirloom. (I still use a Mont Blanc my father passed along to me a number of years ago.) Check out some of the office supply stores - the nicer pens are usually kept separately from the standard issue pens. But hey! If your budget doesn't allow you to purchase an expensive pen, consider a Pilot Varsity or Lamy Safari to nudge that special someone into writing with a fountain pen. For the stocking, how about a multi-pack of Pilot or Uni-ball gel ink pens, or perhaps an assortment of Sharpie markers!

But whatever you do, better get moving!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Go-to Writing Tools of 2009

Looking back on 2009, it's interesting (to me, anyway) how I have gravitated toward certain tools for writing. My selections were not planned in advance, instead, they came about because of overall utility (portability, affordability, quality, and consistency). So, with no further fanfare, here are my go-to writing instruments for 2009:

Fountain pen: Lamy Safari. In fact, I currently have three that I keep in constant use at my desk. Sure, I have other (and more expensive) fountain pens that I use, but my first inclination is to grab one of the Safaris. They write smoothly and they fit my hand well.

Pocket pen: I do not usually carry a fountain pen in my pocket. Instead, I go for a smooth-writing gel-ink pen. This year, my go-to pocket pen has been a Uni-ball Signo 207. (Sorry Pilot G-2, you ran a close second!) I love the Signo for the smooth lines I can lay down and for the tamper-proof ink.

Pencil: Truth be told, I seldom use a pencil. I'm one of those that does cross-word puzzles in ink. Still, there are occasions where a pencil is required and I grab a Rotring Mechanical pencil that my wife gave me several years ago. It has a nice, heavy feel, with my name engraved on the side. What's not to like?

Small notebook: I started the year alternating between a Doane Paper notebook, a Moleskine Cahier and the Field Notes memo-book. As the year progressed, I began to carry the Field Notes memo-book exclusively. (Maybe the new cover colors pushed it over the top?). I love the paper that Field Notes uses - not too heavy, not too light. Plus, it tends to stay closed on its own where the Doane Paper notebook would spring open and the Cahier simply lacked personality.

Large notebook: I have filled four Moleskine lined hard cover notebooks. Yes, I have tried and like similar offerings by Quo Vadis and Piccadilly. Why did I stick with the Moleskine? I can't give you a clear answer. The paper isn't superior to the other offerings, nor is the cover better or the elastic binder of higher quality. Maybe in this case I'm just a traditionalist, set in my ways. Or perhaps I've simply bought into the whole Moleskine marketing mystique. Meh, probably not.

Day planning notebook: I really, really tried to like the Moleskine planner. I read several reviews and hacks that intrigued me. There was a lot I liked about it (one in that it made a nice "partner" to my Moleskine notebook), but I guess I've been in the Franklin-Covey camp too long to change. I have remained with my spiral bound Franklin-Covey Compass day planner. At least I bought a new (actually used)tan leather cover to update it a little.

Do I anticipate any changes for 2010? That's hard to say. I already have my Franklin-Covey 2010 planner ready to go and a good supply of Field-Notes memo books. Still, there are always new and intriguing possibilities . . .

How about you? What were your go-to writing tools this past year?