5 Items to Snap You Out of Your Digital Writing Routine

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 8, 2011 · 986 comments

in Blog

This content is brought to you by the new Hyundai Elantra which helps you “Snap Out” of your routine to live your best life.  Click here to learn more about the new 2011 Elantra. What’s this?

Tis the age of clickety clack. Well, more like just clickety. When modern man writes these days, chances are he’s hammering away at his computer’s keyboard or working his thumbs over his phone’s keypad. The use of pen and paper has fallen by the wayside.

But while technology has made communication easy and convenient, traditional methods of writing should not be totally forgotten. Not for nostalgia’s sake, but because writing by hand offers a man several benefits that cannot be duplicated by tickling the keys.

By scanning the brain, researchers have found that writing by hand improves memory, cognitive activity, and the expression of ideas. Because writing by hand involves making multiple strokes to form letters as opposed to simply pressing a key, it activates and lights up different parts of the brain. That’s why if you’re like me, you’ll often find that if you run into a writing block while staring at your computer screen, when you grab a notepad and start jotting down ideas, the floodgates can really open up. Writing by hand also tends to be slower and more thoughtful, and it provides a greater connection between you and your words.

So writing with pen (or pencil) and paper can really keep your mind sharp and your ideas fresh. But with our computers and phones so handy, it’s hard to snap out of the digital writing routine. So here are 5 things that can help inspire you to step away from the keyboard and take some time each day to write by hand.

Col. Littleton Leather Journal

Every man should keep a journal. A journal is a place to work out the big issues in your life. Use it to hone your life’s purpose or simply as a place  to empty your mind and soul of the emotional or mental burdens that you’re experiencing at a particular time. And when you finally kick the bucket, your journal will ensure that your legacy as a man lives on with your children and grandchildren.

Maybe you’re among the millions of people who have tried to start a journal, but never got into the habit. If you’ve had trouble making journal writing part of your daily routine, perhaps what you need is a journal so handsome and inviting it’s hard not to write in it. Enter the Col. Littleton No. 9 Journal. Wrapped up in rugged steer hide, this baby will have you putting pen to paper in no time. It’s the perfect place to record your legacy of manliness.

Price: $142

Fountain Pen

We sign documents every day. Most of it’s mundane stuff, but every now and then we put our signature on pieces of a paper that carry a lot of significance. A marriage license, a mortgage, your child’s birth certificate. For these sorts of occasions, a rinky dinky ballpoint pen won’t do. A man needs a writing instrument with a bit of panache.

Enter the fountain pen.  Used by distinguished gentleman since the mid-19th century, fountain pens turn everyday writing into an art. The nib on a fountain pen allows for calligraphic flourishes. When you sign that check to pay off your debt, it will look like you signed the Declaration of Independence. And when people receive your notes, they’ll think they were delivered via a time machine.

Price: $50-$1500

Correspondence Cards

If you’re like most men living in this modern age of ours, your personal communication probably takes place through the digital ether of email, Facebook, and Twitter. While these forms of communication are fast and ubiquitous, they lack the human touch.

It’s time to snap out of your Web-based correspondence routine and embrace the art of the handwritten letter. But a proper letter can’t be just scribbled on a piece of torn out notebook paper. If you’re going to take the time to write a letter, you need to use quality stationery.

Of course we can’t think of a better or manlier set of stationery than our very own Art of Manliness inspired men’s correspondence cards. Choose from over 25 manly motifs that are letterpressed into the card and printed with brown ink. They’re perfect for jotting a quick note to Grandpa or sending your thanks to your Aunt Gertrude for your birthday savings bond.

Price: $15

Rite in the Rain Field Flex Pocket Memobook

Hopefully by now you’ve gotten into the habit of carrying a pocket notebook; we’ve certainly mentioned the importance of this tool numerous times. You never know when you’ll get an idea that will change your life. If you don’t have something to write it down in, you could lose it forever. But what happens when that idea comes to you while you’re standing in a torrential rainstorm? Most pocket notebooks won’t allow you to write in such conditions.

Not so with the Rite in the Rain Field Pocket Memobook. Popular among farmers and contractors, the Rite in the Rain notebooks are made with all-weather paper that sheds water and enables you to write in all weather conditions. Never let Mother Nature get in the way of inspiration again.

Price: $4.25

All Black Embassy Pen

So you have your fancy fountain pen for putting your John Hancock on important documents. But what sort of writing tool should a man use in his everyday life? You could go with a cheap ballpoint pen. The problem is they’re not very durable, and they have a tendency to let you down when you need them the most. Plus they’re so one deminsional. The only thing you can do with a Bic pen is write with it.

A man needs an everyday writing tool that’s both durable and multidimensional. A tactical pen fits the bill.

A tactical pen is a writing implement that can be used both for signing checks and as a last ditch self-defense weapon. Machined from solid metal, tactical pens typically have a tapered barrel, a screw-on lid, and a nice knurled grip. If you had to, you could use the end of the pen to forcefully disarm a would-be attacker, Joe Pesci-in-Casino style.

The Embassy All Black Pen from County Comm is the tactical pen of choice of the U.S. Government. The pen is machined from alumnium and has deep knurled grip on the body that will ensure this bad boy never slips from your hand. The Embassy Pen uses Fisher “space pen” cartridges that will keep you writing in temperatures from -30°F to 250°F. Pair this up with a Rite in the Rain notebook, and come rain or shine, you’ll be an unstoppable writing machine.

Price: $44.50

Win a Col. Littleton No. 9 Journal

Hyundai will be giving away a Col. Littleton No. 9 Journal to one lucky AoM reader, so he can start snapping himself out of his digital writing routine. Here’s how to enter the sweepstakes:

Leave a comment sharing what sort of tools or methods you use to snap yourself out of your digital writing routine and get yourself writing by hand.

Deadline to enter is March 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm CST.


{ 986 comments… read them below or add one }

601 parabellum March 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I have been carrying a pocketmod pocket notepaper (pocketmod.com) its light (you print them up on standard letter paper) and I barely notice it until I need it. I use them to write lists, story ideas, what I did at work, etc. If you want to a version that would have come out of Q Branch, you can use Rite-in-the-Rain inkjet paper print yours.

602 Jake March 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I started collecting pens. It is easy to decide to make a pen a part of my wardrobe when I have good options. Once I have a pen on the ready it is usually much quicker to jot something down in my pocket notebook or on a scrap of paper than to pull out my phone and get to the Notebook application.

603 CJ March 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I write constantly and I’m very picky about the tools I use; a Pilot PreciseGrip extra fine point (black only) pen and a One subject Top Flight, (Wired) spiral bound notebook – which are becoming increasingly hard to find. Even if it’s going to be typed up or attached to an e mail as a Word document, I have to write it out long hand first. Otherwise it comes out like this.

604 Dan March 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I use a moleskin notebook and a Tul ballpoint pen that writes very nicely for me. Problem is that I work in wastewater and sometimes get wet which had been a problem with my notebook but the Rite in the Rain looks like it would work very well for me.

605 Caleb March 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Love the No 9 Journal!

It might get me to change my preferred writing method which is boring white legal pads with a 0.7 mm gel ink pen. If I want to keep the note I will scan it and store it in Evernote.

606 Daniel March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I began composing with pencil and paper as a Luddite reaction to our digital-obsessed culture. Now it is indispensable. I bought a manual typewriter to complement the venerable pen and pad and I have no regrets whatsoever. More than ever, writing is engaging and productive. For a succinct writing guide I chose Dr. David Lambuth’s “The Golden Book on Writing,” and it has proven an invaluable assistant.

607 Matt March 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I write love letters to my wife. Just kidding, I don’t do that. Over the years I’ve tried to keep journals, send snail mail letters, I’ve had a fountain pen etc. I realized I was only hurting myself. My brain thinks much faster than I can write or even type. Nobody like my letters, in fact most people thought they were a bore. Typing is far faster so long as I don’t lose the ability to write altogether then who cares.

608 Chris March 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Just sitting in a comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair with a pad of paper and pen in hand is a great way to break away from the digital deluge.

609 Ronnie March 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I began keeping a journal several years ago. for me it’s not so much the pen or notebook that is used, it is disciplining myself to write.I am sad to see so many of our young children losing the ability to put pen to paper in a legible and thoughtful way.

610 Ray March 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I keep small Moleskine notebooks in my pocket with a retractable Sharpie pen at all times. Also, keep an idea/dream journal, but haven’t kept up to date with it (in a larger Moleskine). I always write things down, as it’s the best way to remember anything.

611 Greg Leyland March 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I carry a pocket notebook made out of recycled materials. The company is American Recycling I believe. I have used this to make lists, write down important dates that I learn about throughout the day that I will need to remember, and to do lists. The key is to review your day’s notes every night, and either transfer the important thoughts to a journal, or enter them into a digital format so they don’t get lost. I carry a zebra pen that telescopes into itself for a space saver when in your pocket. I am considering purchasing a tactical pen that is a little more heavy duty. I am also awaiting the delivery of my AOM stationary. I ordered a box yesterday and can’t wait to use them for thank you notes.

612 Nicholas kasarda March 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I am an 18 year old senior in high school and for about two years I have been working on this exact problem. I first started by buying and using a Moleskin Journal to write all my travels in. Then I bought a mid level Mont Blanc pen that’s absolutely phenominal. Then the latest thing that I have started to do is I have found a pen pale.

Happy Writing,

Nick k.

613 N Roberts March 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I paint to break out of my funk – the act of stepping back and composing what I wanted to say in my head allows me a clarity of thought and purpose that helps. If the issue is more that I’m stuck with the actual WRITING, I grab my trusty Embassy Pen and some loose paper and doodle/draw/write until the block clears.

614 Heather March 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

An excellent blog entry. Thanks for pointing out the hand/mind connection.
I have to admit that using the computer has ruined my handwriting. I used to do calligraphy, but the last time I tried to write something out it was so sloppy even I could not read it. Down I went to the Hallmark store and purchased a glass pen (dip style) and ink. Now I try to write something out, by hand, once a week. It keeps my muscles in line and the recipient of my card always seems to be astonished and grateful that someone took the time to actually “write”.
My choice of Manly Man would be a man who is eloquent in writing as well as speaking.

615 Michael March 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I have used a moleskin notebook, I recently got a Pen and Mechanical Pencil set, a good pen makes a big difference in writing it just makes it fell more important. I also have some crayons for use on glass so I can jot down a quick note in the bathroom.

616 Bradley March 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Working with computers all day has actually caused me to write by hand more. I have a pad of graph paper and “zero-g” pen by my desk that allows me to make notes and diagrams quickly and cleanly as I work. A quick trip through the scanner, and our new network diagram is available digitally to everyone without having to fuss with Visio or some other digital solution.

617 Garrett Pace March 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Personally, I keep a music journal for myself. Whenever I come up with an idea, I pluck it out on the guitar, and then write it down in tablature form in my journal. I also write down any lyrics that I come up with.

618 Paul March 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

At work I keep a lab book with quad markings to write notes during meetings, keep track of to-do items, work out designs, etc. At home I find that writing out things on paper helps clarify problems and allows making of sketches. In all cases everything is done with graph/quad ruled paper with a drafting pencil.

619 Casey Butler March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

As a university student, I’ve found that some of my best work has been either completely hand-written or based off hand-written notes. I’ve definitely seen the benefits of physically writing my ideas out before putting them in a final form. I also have been keeping journals lately of important ideas, which has been helping my memory quite a bit.

620 Bennette Harding March 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

This is awesome. I would assume that I am one of the younger viewers of this website being only fifteen. Even so, I think this is awesome. I got so tired of posting statuses on facebook or even typing anything, emails or just a document in word I dug in my boxes to find my old leather bound journal. I received it for Christmas in fifth grade because I was consumed with the idea of writing a book. Then I was a poor typer and I wanted it to be like a book when I finished. I didn’t get too far and gave it up. Now I have been writing in it a lot just personal stuff; ideas, feelings, record of daily events, and other stuff like that. I started to write in it, because I wanted to see my thoughts on paper. I believe writing helps you to understand yourself better. It makes your thoughts concrete and then you have to accept that is what you are thinking. Nevertheless, I believe this is an excellent way of leaving your mark on the world, even if that world is a limited few.

621 Ben Neufeld March 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

It’s all in the pen. A fountain pen just makes it feel right. I have a couple of Lammy’s nothing fancy, but there just is something to them.

622 Max March 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I write weekly letters to quite a few people on different subjects and actually get letters back, sometimes they just email (which is wrong). It’s the product that usually gets me out of the funk of the computer or blackberry.

The girlfriend
- Mont Blanc Classic (fountain)
-Crane and Company (half sheets)

- Levenger White Pearl (fountain)
- Crane and Company (Correspondence Card)

- Cross Straight (Rollerball)
- Crane and Company (Folded Note)

623 Mark March 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

If you aren’t familar with the Pomodoro Technique google it. It works. and a good fountain pen is worth its weight in gold.

624 Erik Willke March 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’ve been using journals for years now. At first they were the black and white speckled school notebooks. Recently I have been using faux leather covered ones. I usually journal when I first get up. When I really want to block out the world so I can bear my soul I turn off all the lights near me and write by the light of an oil lamp. I don’t know why but It really seems to drown out everything around me.

625 Zack G. March 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm

A Moleskine and a Pilot G2 ballpoint.

626 Roger March 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I have taken up the pocket notebook idea and love it. My favorite pen so far is the collaspeable one made by zebra. The cap is really deep and holds most of the length of the pen. When you open the pen and place the cap on the back, it is a full size pen. Plus it writes really well. My favorite everyday notebook is a 2×3″ little jobbie made by moleskin, however, I use a rite in the rain “whipout” pad at work.

627 Jimmy T. March 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I use my bicycle: I ride to the park, and just sit and write there. Being outside forces you to really get out of the digital mindset of writing and get back to the essentials.

628 Dennis K. March 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I use those cheap little notebooks from wal mart and a Bic Ultra round pen for keeping notes in the field for photography in Alaska.

629 Korin March 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I always have a fat memo pad with me with a pen through the spine in case I need to write something. I much prefer physically writing rather than digital. A keyboard and screen can’t compare to the feel of paper, the smell of fresh ink.

630 Nate March 9, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I used a PHd until it finally “died” for work. Currently I use the Zebra 701. Its much better to jot down daily notes than trying to type it out. I use the Parker Jotter (ballpoint) for scripture review and sunday school notes. Finally I just purchased a Sheaffer Fountain….I’m still trying to get used to it, but Its how I separate from the digital “traps”

631 Joseph S. March 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I use a lamy safari fountain pen and a moleskine medium sized notebook. I journal in it everyday. It’s a great way to relax at the end of the day.

632 Deep March 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Travelling around a lot I make friends and am not able to see them for months at a time. Facebook is good to keep up to date with the little things in life, but I write letters to keep the nostalgia going and to update everyone with big life events. Makes people feel special and appreciated, and my brain gets a good workout.

633 Alexander March 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I find that a moleskine notebook has made for a good pocket-sized notebook. That combined with a fountain pen is the perfect excuse to write by hand.

I managed to damage my fountain pen though. It’s probably time for me to invest in a better one.

634 Terry March 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Writing friends letters by hand or keeping a hunting journal are great ways I’ve found to break the digital writing block.

635 Tyler March 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Whenever I fall into a rut of “digital writing” or find my handwriting consistency slipping a bit, I like to take out a notebook and just start jotting down ideas and drawing diagrams. I have found that by taking a few moments of time to literally put ideas down on paper, the quality of information I create will actually improve.

Plus, even though you can use certain software to “draw” on the computer, I find it’s much easier to brainstorm and create charts and diagrams the old fashioned way. Nothing can compare to handcrafted content, so if I feel that I’ve gone a while without actually writing something, I reassure myself that the end result will be far superior if I just close the laptop and pull out a notebook.

636 Mike H March 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I have several Fieldnotes notebooks for various subjects. I keep them in Renaissance Art leather covers. I like to use a Fieldnotes pencil because pencil does not face or wmear like ink does, especially in damp conditions.

637 Tyler March 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

For me its a moleskin pocket notebook and a Pilot Precise V7 pen. I like taking notes and jotting down ideas as they come to me. I have old notebooks from over the years that have notes from trips around the world.

638 William C March 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I don’t use anything fancy. A simple dollar notebook and a random pen in my house will do fine compared to all the energy and emotions i let out in the minutes to come.

639 Seth T March 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm

You might think I’ve gone a bit overboard, but I keep three “journals” of sorts: one is a journal I use at the end of the day to record thoughts and impressions, one is a moleskine in which I write quotes and thoughts that strike me in my reading, and one is a small leather bound notebook with a long strap that I use as an idea book and a wallet all in one.

640 Nick March 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I like to get some nice 80 lbs paper and matching envelopes to write letters to my friends. I feel like in our fast paced technological society a letter really holds some weight and conveys how important a person is to you. I also carry with me a sketch book for ideas, I’m a designer, and a smaller notebook to write to-do like things and reminders in it. I always take all three. I also use Micron pens. If sharpie is the BMW of pens, Micron would be the Ferrari.

641 Ben March 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I am always using different kinds of notebooks and pens. Lately I have found that I am fond of very fine point pens from pilot and notebooks with college ruled paper. I like notebooks that are bound so as to add substance both to the experience and the thought that goes into my words. I also carry a “quote book” to capture sayings or thoughts that I encounter that arre worth saving from those whom I have encountered.

642 Alexander Lohn March 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I keep a pocket size moleskin notebook on me to take notes about anything and everything. I have definitely found that this aids in my memory of thoughts and ideas I have throughout the day as well.

643 Tim March 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I write in my journal everyday, even if it is a short line. I always us my fountain pen to do this, just because I like the way the ink flows onto the page.

644 Jared March 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Sometimes I find that the simplest way to focus on writing is to turn off my computer. When the computer is on, it’s too easy to get distracted by “Oh, did Bob e-mail me back yet? I should go check!” And before I know it, it’s two hours later and I’m deep in TVTropes. When the computer is off it takes a much more conscious effort to turn it on, and gives me time to reflect and say, “No, Bob can wait. I can see if he’s replied later.” Just my two cents worth.

645 C.T. Jones March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Simple Molskine with a Bic ClicStic. Lightweight, dependable, classic.

646 TJ March 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Dear AOM,

I love writing letters. There’s something to be said about the integrity and aesthetic of a hand written letter – something I deeply enjoy and appreciate. One thing I do to letters that I write my woman, is burn the edges with my zippo lighter. Is adds sincerity and uniqueness to the letters I send her, and she returns the heat (if you know what I mean).

Keep it up guys – this website is making the world a better place,


647 ExBankerJ March 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm

While I LOVE gadgets (iPad 2 this Friday, anyone?), I am a huge proponent of fountain pens… Aside from the almost infinite combination of pen, nib, ink, and paper, the ability to write forever (no need to try to drive the ball through the desktop), and the benefits mentioned above, writing by hand, with a fountain pen, is way cooler.

The experience, aside from the tactile joy it can bring, (okay, maybe joy is a strong characterization) of using a fountain pen is somewhat akin to the well being provided by any activity where the routine is what matters – think smoking, walking for a coffee, etc…

648 J. Miller March 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I just use an old ballpoint and a notebook. That journal looks amazing.

649 Jared March 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I am in the middle of writing my Master’s thesis. When I get writer’s block, I just go to bed. My mind seems to work things out over night and when I wake up, I quickly jot down my thoughts in my notebook before I forget them.

650 David Chew March 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm

The pen I love to write with is the Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point. It is a fountain pen with a push button mechanism that keeps the nib inside the barrel sealed off till it’s needed. Push the button at the base of the pen and the nib comes out. The opening for the nib is at the clip end, so the nib is pointed up when in the pocket. I use the fine point (the Japanese nibs are finer than American/European nibs so it is equivalent to an extra fine) to take notes at work, notes at church, and for fine work.

651 Mark March 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Moleskin notebook and Pilot G-2 pens.

652 Rich Santinello March 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I am an onsite truck mechanic, I am outside all day and on call all night in ALL weather. When the weather is TOO wet, I use a pen or marker to write truck numbers and mileages on my hand. The problem is that I forget them and they usually wash or rub off from working in these conditions. The Embassy Pen and Rite in the Rain notebook would be a lifesaver. Pun intended.

653 Seth B. March 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Unfortunately I don’t have any tools to snap me out of my digital writing routine. I am inundated with technology all day long (I work in a Helpdesk), and then again, when I’m home.

I have found, though, that writing on even regular lined paper from time to time helps me collect my thoughts.

654 Ben March 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Write a letter to a women.
We used rite in the rain pads in college bio class- be sure to use a pencil or the ink will run off when the page gets wet. They can also be used underwater.

655 Ben March 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

typos…another reason to use pencil

656 Barry Huddleston March 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Excellent I loved the journal.

657 Henry Cesari March 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I’ve been using “field notes” pocket notebooks, though I have a “rite in the rain” grid notebook for taking notes while tracking. I do think better when writing by hand and it’s nice to see some scientific evidence supporting this. Because of this I bought a tablet laptop but found the technology inadequate to replace my notebook. I’m currently looking into a digital pen which records all my scrawlings so I can convert them to text once I upload them to my laptop. Livescribe has an expensive, unwieldy pen with more bells and whistles than I need. It appears iogear and dane-elec have simpler models. Have any of you gentlemen tried these? Are there specific pens you would suggest or tell me to steer clear of?

658 Peter Thurston March 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I find that my trusty pocket notebook [basic moleskine] gets plenty of play from me. However, I think introducing a proper journal to my daily routine would do me plenty of good. I hope to introduce it this year for sure.

659 Phill S. March 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm

The value of these tools is undeniable. A good journal, pen, and pocketbook open up the door to a myriad of benefits (both foreseen and not). To reap these benefits, however, one must actually put the tools to good use. The trick to this is accessibility. Do not simply purchase these items only to store them away in a drawer to be forgotten. Keep them on your person or within sight at all times. I found that 9 times out of 10, I would forget to write in a journal I do not see. If it is sitting on my nightstand or desk, though, it is seldom neglected. So remember men, accessibility is critical.

660 Julian March 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I find that a pocket notebook is the most useful, because it allows you to write as soon as the idea hits, delaying any sort of time you would wait for a program to load.

661 Edward R. Wilson March 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Pen and paper is still the best. They are my constant companion in every meeting and when i really want to remember something. Pen and paper is not really about the medium as much as the discipline of thinking and capturing the thought. When I use pen and paper there is a connection which creates a memory so I rarely need to look back at my notes. I remember them. This is not the case with digital mediums.

662 Justin C March 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I really don’t do any handwriting in English anymore unless is homework, so what I’ll do is grab my french dictionary and paper and a pencil and go downstairs to my coffee table where I’ll plop myself down and write.

663 GTPowers March 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I have a Uniball micro Super Ink and an extra large Moleskine journal paired a wonderful and inspirational wife, city, and life.

664 Andrew Miller March 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I use a Moleskine lined journal paired with a slimline wood pen that I crafted on a lathe (Honduran Rosewood; it’s a beauty!)… I carry that thing with me everywhere; it lets me write down inspirations or to do lists, it rocks!

665 Floyd March 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I have found that my Waterman fountain pen is the best printer for my personal word processor.

666 David March 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Right now I am just using a simple Moleskin to get me writing more instead of always typing on the computer. I find that it is nice and relaxing and a great time to write down the days thoughts are right before bedtime.

Thanks for the opportunity!

667 Fabio March 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

As an art student who mainly works on the computer, I’ve found that sometimes the best way to find ideas that you had no clue you had is to pull out the sketchbook and pencils.
The same applies for writing–a pocket notebook for day-to-day reminders leaves me feeling more in control of my life than when I use a digital solution, and putting down thoughts into a tangible journal gives more freedom than a keyboard.

I love the digital revolution, but analog is personal.

668 Mike March 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I recently got into journalism and I love it. I bought a leather back journal from Barnes and Noble and have been using disposable Bic fountain pens to write in it. I have also started writing letters again. It feels really good to put all of your thoughts down on paper.

669 Robert March 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I deal with using a PC on a daily basis as a part of work, I am a programmer, but constantly I am needing the freedom of paper in order to figure out and reason the problems I have been tasked with. I have about 3 notebooks dedicated to various work tasks and logs and one for free hand diagrams and rough drafts of code files. I couldn’t imagine trying to use a mind mapper program to accomplish the same goal even if it was faster, I just like hand writing everything too much.

Speaking of handwriting, I feel that if you are going to take the time to put it down then it should at least look good. I really prefer cursive to print any day of the week. It just feels more cathartic to give a couple of swirls around the page then to try and regimentally put print to the same paper. However, I realize that good cursive writers can be hard to find (I am not one of those numbers I am sad to say; depends on who you ask truly), but we are seemingly becoming a dying breed. Not without reasons obviously, but I will certainly be writing cursive until the day I die!

670 Joshua March 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Thanks to AoM, I’ve recently realized the utility of carrying a pocket notebook for a whole spectrum of purposes. Thanks for the continual delivery of useful articles.

671 Tory March 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

A brand new Sharpie is the finest thing for getting back to my writing roots. There’s nothing like a crisp felt tip for lettering a stern admonishment to your roommate after he’s pilfered your hot sauce.

672 Justin March 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I would say one of the tools I use is carrying around some note cards and stamps in my bag and writing my wife a note every now and then.

673 Cicero March 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I’ve got a few Field Notes memo books, and I always carry one with me, but at home, I get out my notebook and Parker 51 fountain pen and just write.

674 Kevin March 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I use a regular old Moleskine to snap myself away from the digital realm.

675 Christopher March 9, 2011 at 9:30 pm

In any given I make a concerted attempt to print as much as possible. Whether its jotting down ideas for future home projects, taking notes on the job (Firefighter/Paramedic) or doumenting the trials and tribulations as an apiring Home Brewer.

I take great pride in my penmanship, attempting to write in the dying art of script as much as possible. I feel a man’s signature should have a boldness and form to it to be respected and admired for leaving his mark is something that may be seen by generations down the road.

676 Jacob March 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I’m a college student double majoring in biology and science. I write reams of notes and sketches each day.

677 Ben W March 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm

A couple summers ago, I found two things that snapped me out of writing on a computer and back to pen and paper.

First, I began to write in cursive again. Though many seem to abandon it after schooling years are over, I genuinely enjoyed the flow it imparts to writing and the attention it requires to handwriting. And when you look back over a page full of cursive, it just looks good and gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

The second thing I did was to take my notebook outdoors. Nature seems to inspire creativity, and so long as you can find a comfortable spot it tends to be much more pleasant than sitting inside in front of a backlit screen. Of course, this requires the cooperation of the weather.

678 Aubrey March 9, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Moleskine notebook with my space pen. The pen is small and fits in my pocket. I used to lose pens all the time and I’ve had this one 2 1/2 years.

679 Tom March 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I record the events of the day in my planner.

680 Bill Gray March 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I started using those green memo books in the military and haven’t stopped. I’ve also found the notepads that my nurse mother-in-law gave me from all those drug reps come in handy if my memo book is not handy. Those I have in the car, at the office, and near every phone in my house.

681 Hollis March 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm

While I’m an IT guy, I do enjoy taking my notes on paper. Sometimes, if it is something I need to keep for a long time, I’ll type it while taking the note but that is rare. I keep several note pads next to my keyboard and that’s where I do most of my writing. Unfortunately, I don’t do much more than short notes and I really need to get into longer writing.

682 michael March 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Love taking and hour or two everyday to sit down and read the paper with a cup of coffee or hot tea. In addition, make sure to always give out hand written thank you notes.

683 Jackson March 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Having a prayer journal that I reference consistently snaps me out of the digital writing routine.

684 John March 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I love an Ohto Take Tori pen and a reporter’s style Moleskine notebook

685 Jerrick March 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I use a Lamy Safari fine nib fountain own with Noodler’s Kingfisher ink. I usually write in a large Moleskine hardcover journal, although I would like to find something similar with more substantial paper.

I go in streaks of writing. Sometime I journal everyday or multiple times a day. Other times I might go for three weeks without touching my journal.

686 Nicolás March 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm

A composition notebook has been the bin of choice for my thoughts lately.

I also enjoy scetching to unclutter the mind from digital congestion.

687 Aaron March 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Fountain pen and personalized stationery, works everytime. A soundtrack of Pavoratti or Sinatra certainly doesn’t hurt either

688 Andy March 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I have a nice journal that’s probably 4×5 inches in size, that I use jot down sayings and pieces of advice I hear that has some meaning.

689 Eric March 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

A simple BIC pen and a Field Notes memo book do the trick for most things, to-do lists, recording thoughts, writing down quotations, &c.

690 Rob Vorwald March 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I have crappy Bic pens everywhere, and I use those fairly regularly when jotting down notes for a research paper or a group project (finally graduating this May). I do have a Cross pen-and-pencil combo I received as a graduation gift, which has gotten me along nicely in the past. I need new ink cartridges and lead, unfortunately, but writing with those gives everything the air of romance and import.
Also, my dad gave me a journal near the end of high school, which I occasionally dust off and use. I don’t use it nearly enough, but every now and again after a horrid day, I’ll sit down and just write for pages.
I wonder if this will help anyone else, but I often find writing in cursive adds an extra level of class and distinction to writing by hand. Nothing’s classier than writing on well-wrought stationery with the flowing strokes of a fountain pen and the soft curves of cursive letters as a finishing touch.


691 Robbie Jones March 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Moleskin makes some great day planners as well. I write my to do list over breakfast in one every morning, and this helps get my day started on a good foot.

692 Ryan March 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Nothing fancy for me; nor new since most of my writing habits are similar to the suggestions above. In second year of university I started carrying a simple Moleskine pocket book to keep ideas and inspiration when away from my desk. I liked the design of the book, and its portability meant I could keep it in my bag or cargo pocket at all times. To write in it, I started being more selective of my pens. I liked a clearer and crisper ink to really pop off the page that most ball-point pens lacked. Given my resources, I chose the micro-pointed Uni-Ball Deluxe since it writes very clear and makes thin lines on the page (I use them both for writing and sketching in my books). Even my friends commented on how well the pen wrote when I explained that I was very particular about the pens that I carried.

Then, thanks to this website, I started daily journaling on my birthday in December to record my activities, thoughts and reflections. Rather than switching books, I just carried on using Moleskine. It may be a little pricey, but it’s good quality.

693 Paul March 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I write myself reminder notes at work all the time as well as hand write the schedule. I have a blank work schedule saved on my home computer for the few times I have made it that way but I much prefer to sit at my desk at work and create the schedule with pencil and paper. It doesn’t feel right if there aren’t faint markings from where I had to erase my mistakes ;-)

694 Michael Glykis March 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm

For the past 3 years I’ve been using fountain pens exclusively whenever I write. To start off with, I’ve always had the worse penmanship around and I always write so quickly that I can barely understand what I wrote. I took up the fountain pen as a way to force myself to slow down when I write. This allows me to focus on what I am thinking at that moment and not let my thoughts run wild. Usually when I’m typing up something, my little feeble brain makes quick tangents that veer me completely off my topic, to the point that I find myself on Google searching for anything but what I was working on. By turning away from the screen and opening up my notepad, I’ve been able to focus my thoughts and actually get more work done.

The fountain pen has also opened up a whole new world for me. Now I’m obsessed with calligraphy so much, that I am currently taking a class to learn it. This truly slows down my hand and takes me away from the screen. As I’m trying to keep my pen strokes correctly angled and feel the pen glide on the paper, my mind is completely clear and focused on the job at hand.

695 Chadimus March 9, 2011 at 11:40 pm

For the man who just can’t shake his qwerty addiction, I reccommend an old-fashioned typewriter. I can think of nothing more inspiring than the satisfying clack of typewriter keys. They’re heavier than keyboard buttons, so you can feel the kinetics of each letter landing on the page. A typewriter serves as a really nice bridge between digital and paper writing.

696 Patrick March 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Easiest way to snap out of the digital writing routine is to abandon the desk and computer for a few hours (or days or weeks) and head outside with nothing but a pen and paper. Go someplace away from the bustle of life with a great view and just start writing – it’ll flow better and easier than anticipated.

697 IvanR March 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Some Rhodia paper a Lamy Safari and it’s off to write!

698 Jeremy Weathers March 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I change my location, preferring clear, low-motion outdoor views (easier here in small town/country settings).

FWIW, my fountain pen of choice is a Parker 51 that stays on my office desk. I also have a newer Parker Rialto that will likely find a home in my (Saddleback Leather) satchel next to my Moleskine journal. I keep a Fisher Space Pen bullet pen in my wallet for quick/random/stain-free writing.

699 Brandan West March 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I’ve been in the habit of carrying a pocket notebook and pen since the Army forced me to form this habit six years ago, and I’ve not once regretted it. When I was still in I carried a Rite in the Rain and a metal Zebra click pen to jot my thoughts and notes (and used the same pen my whole length of service). Now I’ve changed my tastes a little: as a student I carry a leather messenger bag with me everywhere I go; inside my bag I carry two great Moleskine notebooks: One is a very small weekly planner where I right my every appointment, assignment, meeting, fly-fishing trip, and even open days off; my other Moleskine is a roughly 5″x8″ lined journal in which I jot my ideas for a book I’m writing, as well as for a business I intend to start soon. While I also write my book electronically, I’ve had computers fail me in the past and lost my work, even on backup devices; although I still possess every notebook, journal, and Rite-in-the-Rain I’ve written in for the last six years.

700 Raymond March 10, 2011 at 12:22 am

I have been a fan of the Moleskine notebooks for some time. Also, I cannot remember when I haven’t been happy to have a tablet of graph paper around,

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