Behind the Scenes: Pens!


When I was a kid, I loved going to the grocery store with my mom. Not because I liked food shopping, but because I got to look in the school supplies aisle while she loaded up the cart with food.

This Bic 4-color Pen was my ultimate ideal writing device. I mean, 4 colors! And the clicky, slidey things! Plus, you could take off the cover and write with all four inks at once! WOW!

Admit it. You had this pen too. I still have one, but I don’t love writing with it. Ballpoint pens have a place, but they aren’t the pens I use for work purposes.

Now, I prefer gel pens.

Lots of people love the Pilot G2, including my husband. But I’m going to say it. I don’t love it. It’s a good, smooth-flowing pen with bold colors. It comes in various sizes from ultra fine (0.38 mm) to ultra not fine, otherwise known as 1.0 mm.

However, for my writing style, there is too much play in the spring/tip of the G2 (at least in the pens I’ve tried). The spring moves around within the casing, causing vibration and noise. It totally ruins the feel for me. It’s probably just personal preference. Maybe if you have a different writing style, you’d like it as much as everyone else seems to.

For years, I’ve been a devotee of the Papermate Gel 0.7. The ink is smooth, and there’s no spring vibration that I sense in the Pilot G2s. They are available in 0.5, 0.7, and 1 mm sizes.

Papermate Gels last a long time and are comfortable for me to hold. They come in numerous colors, but I find the pink and orange not saturated enough to be easily legible. The green and red are okay. But I’ve gone through about a squillion black, blue, and purple inks. The ink needs a few seconds to dry before becoming smear-proof, but it’s not an outrageous dry time. The flow of ink is good, but there can be slight ghosting (A shadow is visible on the opposite side of some papers). (Not as much as the Inkjoy 0.7.)

Recently I’ve become fond of the Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens (0.7). These are super smooth and all of the ink colors I’ve tried are legible, including the pink, green, and red. I haven’t tried the yellow or orange, but based on the performance of the pink, I’d be willing to. They come in 0.5 and 0.7 mm sizes.

The company claims the ink dries three times faster than the Pilot G2. I can’t confirm that, but I’ve never smeared the ink (like I have with the Papermate Gel 0.7 above). The ink flow is plentiful, and there can be some ghosting, if that’s a concern. They are comfortable to use, and I want them all.


I use pens primarily for note taking, list-making, journaling, and planning. Recently, I’ve been grabbing Inkjoy Gel pens. I keep a black Inkjoy with my traveler’s notebook, which has heartier paper inserts. But I prefer the Papermate Gels for my Sugar Paper planner because the paper is thinner and ghosting becomes an issue. I also use the Papermate Gel in my sentence journal.

When it comes to publishing, I don’t edit often on hard copy. In fact, I try to avoid it at costs. It’s less efficient and increases the odds of introducing errors to the digital copy. However, if early readers prefer to read hard copies, I want them to use a bold pen and write big. I am not one of those people who freaks out about red ink. Red is actually my favorite color. But I have readers who believe writing in red ink “feels mean.” (Are you feeling traumatized by that color? If so, go find a safe space to calm down.)

If readers refuse to use red, I want them to use a bold blue, green, or purple ink. (Not black. Have you ever tried to find black marks on black ink? It ain’t easy.) The big writing request still applies because I do freak out if I have to spend half an hour per page looking for the teeny, tiny corrections that are supposed to be “nicer.” If that’s being nice, I’d hate to see their version of mean.

I hardcore love office supplies. I could go on forever about pens. I have a modest collection of fountain pens and a not-so-modest collection of artist stuff: markers, Sharpies, Papermate Flairs, brush pens.

Would you be interested in seeing more pens?

What is your favorite writing utensil and why?

4 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Pens!

  1. The Ink Joy are too smooth for me. I feel out of control. I like something with more drag. I’m starting to care more about the circumference of the pen’s barrel than the look of the writing.

    1. I should send you all my reject pens! And you can send me the too-smooth ones. It’s the prefect pen storm.

  2. I love Uniball Vision. I use their purple, pink, and turquoise for my own editing. There’s very little ghosting on printer paper–not enough to be distracting. I have to do edits by hand because I miss things when I read on screen.

    Cosign the request for no black and big writing!

    1. I’m going to search my collection for some Uniball Visions. If I don’t have any, I’ll buy some and give them a go. Thanks for the tip.

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