I've used the same brand of Pilot G-2 to do the bulk of my writing over the past 5 years. It was a long time coming trying to find the right combination of smooth writing and quick drying ink to work with my Moleskine notebooks. My writing process is exceedingly quick. To give you an example I have often written so fast that turning pages would cause those pages to bleed into the previous page as I continued on. For a writer to pause in the midst of a thought causes loss in momentum.

Not sure how this process might work for other writers, but to lose momentum during a writing high could be devastating if you have to wait for the ink to dry. With ink smearing and causing blotched pages I had kept my distance from fountain pens for years, but recently decided to take a second look.

First Fountain Pen

Walking into a local Staples store I picked up a pair of disposable fountain pens to test them out. Given the fact that I had started working on my new book I figured this would be a good time to give fountain pens another try. Since I was not using standard lined notebooks I assumed that the thicker Moleskine paper would be able to stand the test I needed. Bleed through was not too bad. A few words were partially visible through the page, but nothing more than other pens I had used.

I started with a fresh Moleskine notebook as I had just recently finished my last one so I felt it was the optimum time to start using a fountain pen. At first there was a sort of elegance to using a fountain pen while the pens themselves were relatively a cheaper alternative to their more pricey counterparts. When I got into a nice flow of writing, feeling the nib against the surface of the paper was the best. It would scratch ever so subtly, but not to the point where it was laborious to write. The pens I had bought were keeping up with my quick writing flow and from what I could tell did not bleed much at all. The ink in this brand of disposable fountain pens bonded with the paper, rather than stayed on top, which is what happens with most gel pens.

Issues I Found

There were a few downsides to fountain pens, which I had known but didn't think would cause too many problems.

  1. The first being that if I left the cap off less than a minute without using the pen the ink tended to dry leaving the first few words I wrote thin before the ink started flowing again. However, most of the time I ended up having to write the words a second time because the pen only scratched the words into the page. A little annoying at first, but it was an aspect that I had grown accustomed to since I was now writing with liquid ink.
  2. The second was the pen leaking if stored or handled improperly and in the when I did tend to accidentally cause the pen to leak I managed to keep it off my clothes and fingers. Though I could see how this would be frustrating for writers if it left a blob of dark ink on the page they had so painstakingly been writing for the last few hours. That would be the moment where I would probably throw the pen into the trash, grab my hair and try to figure out a way to fix what I had done. Needless to say that never happened, but those thoughts of catastrophic failure cross my mind far more often to keep me on my toes. Besides I know my wife would have been angrier at me if I had written in bed and left an ink stain on our nice, new sheets.

I'm curious to talk to other writers who use fountain pens in their daily writing to see what best practices they might have for these wonderful or harmful creations. Personally my next step is to ditch the slue of pens that litter my bag for a nice LAMY fountain pen to write with a little more distinguishing character.