If you have some extra free time on your hands lately due to Coronavirus-related closures and cancellations, for many that means more time to enjoy using your fountain pens! Unfortunately, many people have a hard time figuring out what to do with their pens, so I’m here to give you a few suggestions. While hopefully not everyone reading this is in any type of quarantine, I’m sure some people will be spending more time at home than they’re used to and will still find it helpful.
How To Use Your Fountain Pens More Often
First off, if you haven’t done it yet, take a look at my series of blog posts that cover different ways to use your fountain pens more often. Some suggestions include writing in a journal, writing letters to penpals, doodling and stream of consciousness writing.
Journaling can be an especially effective way of dealing with thoughts and emotions that you may be having lately. There is quite a bit of confusion, frustration, conflicting information and general uncertainty going around. Getting it out of your head and into a journal may help when you just need to let go for a while.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Another great way to spend some quality time with your fountain pens is to work on improving your handwriting. This is one of those things that definitely will not happen overnight, so having plenty of time to practice is essential if you want to get results. If you’re already happy with your handwriting, you could always mix things up and try learning a new writing style.
Start An Ink Journal
If you’re like most fountain pen users, you’ve got a lot of inks. Maybe you should think about creating an ink journal. I created mine years ago and refer to it fairly often. Every time I get a new ink I create a page for it and every time I ink up a pen I create a writing sample so I know how that particular pen and ink combination look together.
Cleaning Your Fountain Pens
Proper hand hygiene is more important than ever these days, so you may be thinking about the surfaces that you touch more often as well. While cleaning a countertop, doorknob or even computer keyboard may be fairly straightforward, cleaning the outside of a fountain pen requires a bit more caution. Fountain pens come in many different materials, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but I can offer some pointers that will work for almost any pen you may have:
- Do not use bleach, alcohol or bleach or alcohol-based cleaning products (such as hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes), as these can severely damage the materials and finishes of fountain pens.
- Avoid prolonged contact with water for sensitive materials such as hard rubber.
- While washing your hands for 20 seconds is recommended, I’d suggest avoiding washing your fountain pens under a running faucet.
- In general, a gentle wipe with a damp cloth (water only) should be the most you want to do for your fountain pens.
- If you are concerned about pen cleanliness, the best thing you can do is thoroughly wash your hands before handling your pens.
A Shameless Plug
If you’ve got some spare time on your hands and want to try out some new papers, consider picking up one of my fountain pen friendly paper sample packs. These are full of various papers that your fountain pen will love (and hopefully you will too). There’s nothing much more exciting than finding some paper that you’ve never tried before and absolutely love writing on.
To close, be sure to stay safe and keep those hands washed. None of us have ever experienced anything like this before, but if we all do our part, we’ll get through it together. Have fun with your pens!
I like to use my fountain pens to record vivid memories in a notebook. I use a different color for each small story. Later I read through these memories to see if I can develop it into a story. Some work; some do not, but no matter they are an interesting record of my past.
That’s a great idea, Joy. I often find myself wondering why some memories recur so often and are so vivid and have thought I should write them down. This is good inspiration to do just that!
I draw a lot with my fountain pens. Fine lines, variable lines, stub italic lines… blend with a waterbrush for more fun. Create patterns with geometry or make a random ink blot and develop into a doodle.
Great suggestions, Elaine! Water and ink are so much fun to use together.
What notebook do you use for your ink journal?
Hi Martha, I use a Taroko Enigma notebook with Tomoe River paper for my detailed ink journal. You can find out more info here: https://fountainpenlove.com/fountain-pen-ink/creating-and-keeping-a-fountain-pen-ink-journal/
Thanks for the link!
Just got gifted a Scriveiner fountain pen & ball point pen.. Love, love loveee the fountain pen!! What “free ink” would you recommend for a beginner ink user?? I’ve used fountain pens for years but never brave enough to use free ink, I always buy cartridges.. Thank you..
Welcome to the world of fountain pens! As for which bottled ink (or “free ink” as you say) is best for a beginner, I’d suggest any ink made by Waterman, Parker or Montblanc. Iroshizuku and J. Herbin are also usually fairly safe choices. I’d suggest going to one of the major online retailers and buying some small samples of various inks before committing to an entire bottle. This way you have a variety to try out and see which you like best. Good luck!
It is truly wonderful to read such beautiful words describing the passion and joy of penmanship by each of you. I collect fountain pens because it makes me feel happy to hold and to see my beautiful fountain pens. I also feel utterly joyful to see my thoughts taking shape in those words and depending on my state of mind, my handwriting expresses just so well. I am happy what I see on the paper but always want even better. Thank you 🙏 all for sharing your lovely thoughts about the Fountain Pen & penmanship!!
Thank you for your kind words, Paras. I am glad that you get so much enjoyment from fountain pens and hope that you get many years of happiness from your collection!
I just discovered this site 🙂 I like it 🙂 nice ideas on how or what use your fountain pens on awesome 🙂
Thanks for the comment! I hope you get some good use from your pens. 🙂
Thanks so much John 🙂