Out with the old….

I’ve had a touch of post-Christmas ennui and, as you do, I started to blame it on the pens. I wasn’t using them as much as usual so perhaps I wasn’t loving the pens I had inked, or the inks themselves. I’d been using the same few pens for almost two months and maybe I needed a radical reshake.

So, out with the old. The ennui-me set-up (photographed above against my daily duo of William Hannah notebook/planner and pad of intentional journal pages) starts with my Montblanc Slimline filled with Montblanc Midnight Blue. This has been a constant in my William Hannah pen sleeve since October, acting as my go-to “planner pen”. The incredibly fine nib lets me write a lot in a small space and is so economical with ink that I’m still using the first cartridge I inserted. I love using this pen so much that I decided to carry it forward into my new batch of pens.

Then there were three pens living in my green pen case. The Cross Century II, beloved of me, was inked up with Diamine Pansy which is a very nice mid-purple. This combination rarely got used, though I was at a loss to understand the reasons. I’d completed a few of the William Hannah daily journal pages with it, but that didn’t seem enough. It was a similar story with the Waterman Rose Cuivre holding Graf von Faber-Castell Moss Green ink. Two nice pens, two nice inks, sitting rather forlorn and unloved in the pen case which, itself, stayed closed upon my desk the majority of the time. The blue Waterman Hemisphere saw a little more use as my default contrast pen filled with Montblanc Velvet Red ink. Even so, it didn’t travel anywhere with me and was hardly in on the action.

At some point around Christmas I decided to brighten my days by inking my little Kaweco Collection Iguana Blue with Waterman Inspired Blue. Lovely combination. I think the main prompt was that my real-life fountain pen friend got the Ruby version for Christmas and her photos set off some yearning in my heart. Yet, for all that, this pen also sat at home being under-utilised for the first half of January. Ah, me.

The point came when I could clearly see that a new direction was needed so I popped two freshly-inked pens into the 3-pen case: Namisu Orion/Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue and Waterman Exception/Diamine Wild Strawberry. So, now I had two pens filled with dark blue ink, one with a bright turquoise shade, and a good, bright red. It didn’t really help.

And that, dear readers, is where I decided to abandon all my intentions for the year and return to my free-form journal. Oh, the relief. Those daily intentional journal pages simply were not working for me in the way that free-form writing does. As soon as I was back in a basic, lined notebook, it felt like I was using my pens as they want to be used. The ink was flowing free and my mind was flowing free. Hurrah. Abandoning the strict daily pages didn’t even feel bad or wasteful because they would make much better sense to me as a weekly intentions page incorporated into the William Hannah notebook which, of course, was to accompany me on a daily basis as my main planner and notebook.

My set-up now looks like the photo below. The major change, besides the pens, is that the William Hannah pen sleeve is sitting on the bench for a while. It’s main benefit was holding the notebook closed in transit whilst keeping a pen handy. The big deficit was keeping a pen handy. Whilst I’d argue that the Montblanc is ideal with any planner, I found that pen sleeve was somehow holding me back from carrying the 3-pen case. Some strange psychological quirk, no doubt, which takes streamlining too far and says “This much and no more”. Without the sleeve, the case makes sense again. I did toy briefly with going back to the Filofax, but we won’t mention that. It was a momentary aberration and soon defeated.

… in with the not-so-new

7 thoughts on “I thought it was the pens

  1. I love the copper pen, what is it? And, following a rigid journaling discipline usually means failure. I like bullet journals, totally do not follow the accepted process (usually results in a nasty comment from a follower of bullet journalling). Do it your way, you will be much happier and far more productive.

    1. Hello, Danny. The “copper” pen is the Waterman Hemisphere in the Rose Cuivre finish. It’s not copper, but I agree the barrel colour does lean towards that. It’s a lovely pen and I find Watermans very reliable. The “intentional” journal pages were me trying to trick myself into setting goals and achieving them. It felt like hard work setting the daily goals and, unfathomably, harder to write a paragraph or two reviewing my progress than my normal practice of writing two pages each day reviewing my day and generally burbling at myself. By not following the accepted bullet journal process, do you mean you don’t spend 9,000 hours each month designing intricate pages to track your mood in the form of little flowers full of petals which you can colour in? I’m afraid bullet journalling lost me at the point where putting a cross in a box means you’ve completed something. Erm, I’ve spent the vast majority of my 62 years putting a cross to indicate that something hasn’t been done, or has been done wrong!

  2. Hi Pam, I excel at not following directions, bullet journalling is impossible for me. I tried a Travel journal while on holiday, right into the recycling bin. All things trying to force me to perform or behave in a fashion that is contrary to myself, always fails. As for the pen, it is a Hemisphere! I assumed it was (the cap is a giveaway) but I haven’t seen one in that color or with that stylish a cap. BEAUtiful pen. I’m a big Hemisphere fan.

    1. That Hemisphere was part of the Privée collection a few years ago – there was a blue one, a golden-y one and this copper-y one, each with a different design on the cap. The more recent deluxe special edition is also on my radar. A very deep blue barrel and a chrome lid with a rippled texture. Very elegant.

  3. Another interesting read.
    I too failed the with the rigidity of the daily Intentional page (full size and half A5) and have gone back to a lined notebook for free form journaling.
    Equally the pen sleeve doesn’t get used much with the William Hannah. If I need to keep the Planner closed I drop back to my homemade 1″ wide black elastic band that I cobbled together when I first got the WH and my pens go into a 4 or 6 pen Rickshaw “coozie”.

    1. Dear Charles, we seem to be walking parallel paths with the William Hannah. The decisions I made last year around the pen sleeve and intentional journaling pages were very useful in the short term as I needed some kind of boost to get me using the notebook regularly. Now I am getting into the habit of using it, I’m starting to think more about how it will work best for me. Your homemade elastic band sounds like a great idea.

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