REMINDER: Everything here is my personal opinion for my own personal style of working as of this date. My process is constantly changing and evolving and I don’t ever EVER expect that what works for me will necessarily work for anyone else. I only write my experiences because I’ve found the experiences of others to be useful in developing my own process.
An unforeseen side effect of doing these posts is that I end up putting ink in one new pen a week. Well, I need to use up the ink in some of those pens before I fill any more right now. So this week I’m going to talk about my inks and notebooks. I pick my inks on one quality – I like the color. That’s it. The whole thing. Do different inks behave differently? Sure, a little… but so far I haven’t run into any that were a major problem so I pick based on color. I try to use colors of ink totally unlike the ones I write in at work so there’s a differentiation of visual inputs. I’m a very visual person so it helps me switch brain gears.
I like Noodler’s Ink quite a bit. It’s a good value. They fill the bottles REALLY REALLY FULL, so always set them on a flat surface to open. Even in my most used colors I haven’t managed to put a major dent in the bottle. I own one “bulletproof” color and I don’t like it quite as much as the regular ones. It seems to stain ME worse than other inks and you only get a 1/3rd as much ink. I mean, it’s nice that it doesn’t wash off the paper once dry… but I’ve found that isn’t a major thing for me. It also tends to bleed through the paper more than the regular ink. The Apache Sunset came through the paper because I used a lot of it to show the gradient in the color, but I barely swabbed the Hunter on there.
I own a bunch more J. Herbin colors in cartridge form, and I find it a well-behaved ink that comes in pretty colors. I swabbed the Anniversary Red pretty hard because supposedly the hematite flecks in the ink show up on paper, but I can never get them to. It is, however, a really gorgeous red. Pelikan Turquoise makes a really consistent color on the page. I keep meaning to try it in some of my finer nibbed pens cause I think it would work well for them. The bottom color there is the most expensive ink I own and it has one of the neater bottles (its the wide one in the middle up there) which has a little pen-tip reservoir in the bottom so you can get at every drop.
I like small notebooks. I do have some larger notebooks but I mostly use those for research and private journaling. Stuff I don’t want cluttering up my writing notebooks with. The extra small notebooks up there are for repetitive things I like to keep track of in one place. The Evernote notebook has been my main notebook for the last umpteen months and has a sticker on the cover to symbolize that it has no room for new things. I still have a couple stories I’m working on in there, but I can’t start any new projects in it. The Pen and Ink is probably my favorite pocket notebook (I’ll talk more about that in a bit as that’s my new notebook right now). The slightly larger 5×7 notebook I have kicking around is the one I do most of my pen tests in and I try to sit down and write out things that are cluttering up my head before I start to write.
Adding flag markers to my in-process notebook has been a recent thing. I quite like it and suspect I will continue doing it into the future. Especially since I already employ this method at work in my accession catalog, so it feels quite natural. I’m a huge fan of color coding, so each story is a different color.
Since I write all my drafts longhand, I have to transcribe everything. I found this cheap stand somewhere and it has been a lifesaver.
While I’m actually composing I’ll use my lap desk or this handy dandy mini-clipboard I found in the $1 bins at Target one time.
When I open a new notebook, the first thing I do is number the pages (unless it comes pre-numbered). This allows me to keep a table of contents of where everything is. It also helps me track my word count and keeps me accountable. I know that each page in a pocket notebook is about 100 words in my handwriting. So I can count ahead for what will be the minimum word count I need to do for that day and circle that page number so I know that I’m keeping pace. I have a couple super super fine tipped gel pens I keep specifically for numbering notebooks. This is partially so the numbers don’t take up much room, and also so the page numbers are a different color that I’ll be writing with.
I don’t remember how I found the Pen and Ink Lined Journal. Probably I was looking for Moleskine and found this instead. It is pretty much entirely comparable with the Moleskine Pocket in every way INCLUDING price (sometimes it is even cheaper). There are some other notebooks that are just as nice, but are several dollars more expensive. I am a cheap bastard. I want the best product for the lowest price. This notebook is it, as far as I’m concerned. There are cheaper notebooks with less pages and good paper, but I like this size.
In summary: I like non-standard colored ink. Pocket notebooks are where it’s at. I continue to be a cheap ass.