Posted in Collection, Stories

A Journal of Pens, For Pens, About Pens

I never intended to write this post. I started writing a different but ancillary post; however, as I got into the details I felt there was a back story to be told first. As I began work on the back story, it became evident that the back story had a back story. Yes, I got to chasing that rabbit and down the hole… where is Alice when you need her? An example of my suffering from BSO syndrome (Bright Shiny Object). Anyway….

“And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

—Grace Slick

Let’s begin with a question, do you keep track of your pens? You know, like in a list, or a catalog? Maybe you are using Excel, journals, index cards, or the ever favorite – nothing at all? Thus starts the first of 4 posts about my struggles with pen collection management.

At one point I considered keeping a journal, one with letter indexes – there are plenty available on Amazon. But no. Instead, I opted for a simple journal. Borrowing from bullet-journal discipline, I created an index so I knew what pens I had and the page detailing each. As pens were sold I simply crossed that pen off the index.

The journal came with some benefits, it allowed me to use my pens, plus I could be creative. It also came with the advantage of I could add information as needed, make use of various colors, and maybe add some doodles.

Journals by their nature are flexible, easy to use and enjoyable as long as you don’t take them too seriously. In this case, the page is clearly titled identifying the pen. I’ve added statistics, who I bought the pen from, when, and how much. A section detailing repairs, servicing, and general observations seemed like a good idea. Each page does not need to contain the same data.

I originally, set aside 15 pages for each of the popular pen manufacturers. Deciding this was dumb, I switched things up, adding the index. The index eliminates the need to dedicate a specific number of pages to the letter “P.” Simply find the pen in the index, get the page number, and ta-dah.

Alternatively, I’ve also tried using a journal based on my modified version of the Cornell Note-Taking methodology. The left side or column is usually dedicated to cues, keywords, or comments, instead, I listed the pen and manufacturer. The note section (the right column) associated with that pen contains a paragraph or two detailing the pen.

Since that journal did not contain an index it was difficult to find a specific pen, that solution was short-lived. Yup, long gone into the recycling bin it went. I found the picture above to help illustrate the principle. Do you keep track of your pens, and ink options, if so what means do you manage them?

Next, I will discuss my digital solution transformation (back story #2).



I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

8 thoughts on “A Journal of Pens, For Pens, About Pens

  1. Great post. You have nice handwriting. Thanks for sharing the Cornell Note-taking Methodology, have not heard of that before. Might have been helpful when I was in College. LOL It will be interesting to hear out other people document their pens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found the Cornell Note-taking method after college. I need a way to take note duirn business meetings and this method fit how I think. I too am interested in learning how other document and tack their pens. Some I fear just have them all in a pen cup (LOL).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I only have a couple of pens and a handful of inks, so keeping track of my pens is not difficult. It’s the books that are squirrely. I finally found a solid app that let me scan the ISBNs of everything in my collection and easily edit categories and whatnot. It’s called LibraryThing, and it’s the only reason I can keep track of how many unread books I own.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually write this way too. I start out thinking it’s going to be a post about something else, but when I get into the thick of it, I realise that the story is about something totally different. It’s so nice to have people understand that feeling.

    Anyhoo, I don’t keep a pen journal as much as I keep a pen-ink journal on the back of every notebook, lol. This is to see how certain nibs perform with certain inks on certain paper. I’m sure you do that as well, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve gotten out of journaling with my pens per se. I went on a holiday trip to Mexico to experience Día de los Muertos (day of the dead) and enjoy good tequila. I used an app on the iPad as a travel journal and stuck with it. I use the pens mostly for work, doodling, and drawing. Once upon a time I used to track inks and nib types (steel vs 14k). Same paper, same ink, same nib size different results when using steel vs gold. I’ve had horrible luck with gold nibs. All the best.


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