Unless I have no choice, I only really use one or two brands of pens and pencils—for pens, it’s Pilot G2s, preferably the 07 thickness, or else I’ll use a Papermate felt-tip. For pencils, it’s pretty much always the Papermate ClearPoint mechanical ones.
I also use a fountain pen that I’ve had since I was in middle school.
the nice thing about being a little attached to said writing utensils though? You are forced to get to know them. it wounds weird, but you also end up really loving writing longhand, or at least by hand, which is a skill that is rapidly growing less and less important to high schoolers, as computers become the educational tool of choice.
I prefer writing freehand, but if I’m really honest, I often choose to use my laptop instead. For me, though, it’s a matter of convenience. When you’re writing a novel—or anything that needs to be saved carefully and/or often—the ability to save it, and edit before saving another draft, is incredibly helpful. I certainly don’t want to have my only copy of something like one of my novels stored in a notebook.
That said, nearly every single one of my pieces starts out handwritten. I outline on paper, I plan on paper, I use bullet points on paper. Every time I do anything, it’s on paper first, and then online or in a Word file second.
My favorite fountain pen feels personal. My Pilot pens feel good. My Papermate pencils feel right.
I probably sound like a lunatic, talking about these brands like this. But I doubt that I would sound as irrational if I were a guitarist or a pianist talking about my favorite instrument manufacturer or brand. Right?
Because for someone who writes as much as I do, the pen or pencil is an instrument.
I love writing. I love handwriting. But for those who do not, I recommend buying and getting attached to the right pen for you. It might not be the same as the ones that I’ve listed. I do suggest that it be black, or at least a very dark blue, just because it’s easier to be taken seriously by teachers and assorted authority figures when you’re using that then it is when you have a giant sparkly purple-and-green-swirl-glitter-crayon (I probably have a few of those sitting around my house, actually). But really, it’s whatever you feel comfortable using.
I know it sounds a little strange, but it can help make something like a school assignment significantly enjoyable, and can even lead to more personal writing as well.
It won’t solve all the creative problems in the world, but it can certainly help.
And that’s worth something, right?