Every writer has their medium of choice, the keyboard, typewriter, pen, or even sharpies for the bold ones. However, I stand firmly against the pencil. As a chronic notetaker, I like to write in pen. Later, I’ll move to the keyboard when I’m ready to refine my thoughts. Starting in pen allows me to see where my mind wanders. I may cross things out, draw arrows, make quick sketches, scribble, but I don’t use pencil because I never erase.
Why I don’t erase my notes
When I take notes or free-write, I don’t want to erase my previous thoughts. I don’t want to get bogged down in the lower order concerns like grammar, word choice, or even spelling. I choose a pen with a comfy grip and easy ink flow, and I let myself go.
Pencils are great for drawing and sketching or practicing math, but for me, they have no place in my writer’s toolkit. Pencils also glare in the sunlight. If you ever expect to write a poem about the sunshine, know that you’ll need some shadow to see your pencil scratches.
Avoid straining your hands.
I prefer pens that don’t require much pressure to write. One of my personal favorites is the Pilot G2 Gel Pen. I can create thin, smooth lines or bold ones by writing more slowly. The ink is wet enough that I can actually see the dots over i’s or periods between sentences. I can also write small enough to make notes or corrections between lines if I need to (and I often need to). However, the G2 isn’t great for lefties who may a hand through the ink and smear it before it dries. The G2 also isn’t perfect on thin paper or waxy, shiny surfaces. It may bleed to the other side or transfer.
I also like the Paper Mate Retractable Ballpoint Pen. It’s not as thin as the G2, but it dries quickly and glides along the paper easily. It doesn’t bleed or transfer, but I do find these run out of ink much more quickly than other pens, given that I don’t lose them before they run out of ink.
My next favorite pens are honestly just any free ones I can find. In the end, the pen doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you do with it. Remember that the pen is mightier than the sword, so use whatever pen feels right and don’t forget to have fun.