Writing about writing
I have been writing and enjoying pens since I was 5 years old. When my family left England for the United States, my dear grandparents gave me a Parker pen with my name engraved on it. For years and years, I used that pen – mostly for writing letters to England, but also for some school work. I still have that pen.
I won some writing competitions in elementary school and I even won a fountain pen. When I graduated from university and joined the work force, my aunt and uncle gave me a really pen that I carried in my briefcase for years. I have that pen today as well.
So I have always been enjoying writing, in one form or other, ever since I was a little boy. You may already be familiar with my blog here on WatchPaper. But things escalated about two years ago. A fellow watch enthusiast from our partner forum got me into pends after an online discussion and I bought my first “luxury“ fountain pen. Just like buying your first mechanical watch, your first fountain pen is likely to lead you down a rabbit hole. A whole new passion was ignited.
My wife and daughter gave me a beautiful notebook which I began using to keep a journal about my daughter. I also started using my fountain pen(s) to keep logs and journals at work. And then I got the idea to start writing my blog posts in pen prior to typing them. Now this really took things to a new level.
I began carrying a notebook and fountain pen everywhere. I would stop at a favourite coffee shop and write down thoughts for a blog. I would take a pen on vacation and start each day with a coffee, and ocean view, and some writing. On weekend getaways, I would sneak away for some quiet time to listen to indie hipster music and write down my impressions of a new watch. Inevitably, new writing projects were born, including one that I feel could become my life’s work. This special piece is actually being illustrated by a childhood best friend who is a talented artist. He was part of the real life story that we plan to record in words and art.
I am writing this in the middle of the global pandemic. The current terrible situation has highlighted the importance of writing for me. It relaxes me and helps me feel good. It is a lot like a spa….for the mind. Having the right context is key. I always have some music- usually indie hipster music. And I have a coffee, unless I am sipping a whisky. It is all about getting in the zone. The mood. The vibe.
The act of physically writing with a fountain pen is quite therapeutic. Watching words appear on the paper is soothing and the feel of a fountain pen is is luxurious. A roller ball or ballpoint pen can be very enjoyable, but fountain pens are smoother and require less pressure, making them feel like a treat.
The physical act of writing is also great for the mind and memory. Whenever I take lots of notes during a meeting, I recall the details much easier afterwards. Writing down events in a journal helps me to organize and process my thoughts. Writing a blog on paper is longer than going straight to the keyboard. But it makes the writing process much richer, more satisfying and more fulfilling. It is really like comparing a smart watch to a mechanical timepiece. One is easier to use, but the other has more soul.
We spend the majority of our day in front of a screen. Writing in a notebook is a wonderful break from screen time. It lets you disconnect for a while. It feels like getting away from the constant rush of life and drifting away into your thoughts. Whenever I start my day with some writing (including music and coffee), I feel way more relaxed and calm. Cycling has a similar effect- I always said that cycling was therapeutic for me. Writing is also therapeutic. And during a global pandemic, we all need ways to ease our own anxiety.
Writing, of course, requires pens and paper! Like watches, this opens up a whole new world of collecting. Like watches, it can get expensive! It is also part of the fun- acquiring new writing instruments, inks and notebooks. You can really explore so many different products and brands and find writing instruments to reflect your character. And like watches, pens can be proudly displayed in front of you during meetings to project the right image (less relevant for video conferences, of course). I was delighted to learn that I could find carbon fibre racing pens and stainless steel versatile beauties. I actual have a travel pen, a racing pen and a “business“ pen. Just like watches. Because of all this, writing appeals to my collecting nature.
While we post some of my blogs here on WatchPaper, a lot of my writing stays hidden in my notebooks. And that is OK. The mere act of writing down the words is the real satisfaction. Like right now – writing outside in the sun, sipping a Japanese whisky, listening to Duran Duran, admiring my Longines Legend Diver and enjoying the buttery smooth flow of my Visconti Opera Monza ink… this is a wonderful moment to savour and enjoy. Hopefully, this blog gets published and you will get to read it on WatchPaper.