Ohto Rook

You know when the “for size” picture features a dime the pen is going to be small. The Ohto Rook is the smallest pen I own.

It's even smaller than the Pilot Petit1
It’s even smaller than the Pilot Petit1

I bought this pen specifically because I like small pens. I’ve been hauling it around as my new purse pen and other than it tends to fall to the bottom of purse pockets, it is doing quite well for that.

Rook and Petit1 without caps
Rook and Petit1 without caps

I’d previously bought a Kweco squeeze converter and thought it might fit this pen too. Nope. This pen is too small to use even that converter.

Rook with Kaweco sport converter attached. Doesn't fit.
Rook with Kaweco sport converter attached. Doesn’t fit. Too long.

It really doesn’t have much for threads so I wouldn’t even attempt to do an eyedropper conversion on this little guy. It looks like it’s cartridges or nothing, but that’s OK. I’m using this as a travel pen.

standard cartridge attached
standard cartridge attached

The pen body is a very light aluminum and it is by far not only the smallest pen in length but in girth. It feels more like holding a pencil than a fountain pen in that fashion.

In hand with cap on back.
In hand with cap on back.

I’m not a fan of using pens with the cap on the back and this pen is no exception. It is super super tiny all by itself.

pen in hand no cap
pen in hand no cap

It’s almost too small, even for my hand. On the plus side it is even lighter than the Petit1 and being so small around I don’t seem to grip it quite as hard.

Writing test
Writing test

There’s nothing remarkable about how it writes, but there’s nothing wrong with it either. It’s a great little pen.

The Good

  • tiny
  • light
  • very narrow grip
  • standard cartridge

The Bad

  • very short without cap
  • not convertible in any way
  • easily lost
  • nothing to stop it from rolling off tables

Overall grade: B

I like it, but I don’t love it. I think the Petit1 beats it out on a practical (and cost) level, but the Rook’s narrow girth and lighter weight makes it have its own charm.

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The Pen is Mightier (or at least works better for me)

I took a math class where the professor required students to write the equation in one ink color, do work in a different color, write the answer in a third, and then circle it in a fourth. It took a long time to do assignments this way and was generally irritating. The prof’s reasoning was based on a study that said forcing students to switch writing implements helped us learn better. I wouldn’t take a class from that professor again because of the aggravation, but I did best in that class of any math class I ever took. The act of switching pens allowed me to shift my brain over to a more mechanical step-by-step process. I could imagine myself as a computer taking the instructions from the equation and applying processes to get the answer.

When I write fiction, I write notes and first drafts longhand on paper with a fountain pen. I don’t use four colors to write with, but I do write in non-standard colors and write different stories or different POV (point of view) characters in different colored inks to help my brain switch gears. In my current project I label one POV character’s scenes in red and one in yellow in Scrivener so I’ve split the difference and draft in a pretty orange color. Picking a color I don’t see when I’m doing other kinds of work really helps put my brain into the right mode and allows me to focus.

I don’t revise as I write in pen. On the computer I can backspace 10 times faster than I can type. Writing in pen is the only way I can give myself permission to write badly. I cross stuff out, sometimes write the same few lines 3-5 ways, but every word I write is still there on the paper at the end of the day. Seeing my true word output goes a long way toward a sense of accomplishment. I measure my first drafts in an estimated word count based on 100 words per pocket notebook page. My actual word count is 110-120 per page, so I purposefully under-estimate because that 10-20% is what I lose in the first typing. I am a terrible over-writer. My edits cut words overall even if I add sections. A recent short story drafted in at around 10k. The first typed version was around 8k and the second pass dropped it under the target of 6k.

I have a tendency to stare off into space when I’m writing. If I do that on the computer, my ingrained tendency from data entry work is to tab over to something else to regain my focus, which I do, but not on the thing I was working on. Working on paper removes that possibility. Sometimes even when I’m typing up work I have to put Freedom on so I can’t get too distracted. If I need to look something up, I write myself a note to do it when I type it up. If I can’t continue without looking something up I’ve probably done something terribly wrong in the story.

My equipment for writing is totally analog. I can work anywhere, anytime. I don’t need a power outlet, wifi, or even a table or desk. I often drive to a pretty ocean vista and write for an hour or two.

There’s a distinctly tactile feel to writing on paper (especially with a nice pen). I can literally feel the words take shape. I am a very spacial and tactile person. I love sculpting with clay, but can’t get my brain to grok the same techniques in a digital sculpting program. I utterly fail at any sort of flying game that gives me an x, y, and z axis to control… cause I can’t feel the movement and get turned upside down and backwards within seconds. I need that tactile feel of ink flowing onto paper. It’s just how I’m wired.

This is what works for me. I’ve experimented and flailed around with lots of different things.

Sure, some of this is just because I love buying pens and different colored ink– but it works for me. Every so often I’ll get it in my head that I’m going to start drafting on the computer because I type 80-120 words per minute. I type MUCH faster than I can write. Every time I try it… I’m ten days into things, struggling with every word, and have little to show for my efforts.

My battle cry when writing is: “We’ll fix it in post!” I used work in video production, and it’s something you say when there’s a snafu but for whatever reason you’re not going to re-shoot it. It’s a more professional way to urge people forward to the next task. If you want to finish a project, you have to move forward to then end– then you can fix it. It is A LOT easier to cut the path you want in a mess of words that aren’t quite right than it is to lay them like tile. Unlike four hours of footage no one had a mic plugged into the camera, you really CAN fix everything in post in writing. For me, writing in pen is the way I keep kicking my own ass forward.