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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Do Certain Pens Really Make a Difference?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love pens. Even at a young age, I was always very particular about what kind I used. What I knew for sure was that Bic was not it. They left sticky blots (ink boogers) at the end of your words, and they had a strong smell that made me queasy. But they were always at the top of the school supply list.

I’ve grown to be quite the snob when it comes to buying pens. Yes, my pen game is strong. Some brands will never get my coins, like Bic, while others will surely get them all like Pentel, Uni-Ball, and Tul.

I always have at least two with me in my purse – one that I wouldn’t mind letting someone borrow, and another, like a functional roller-ball, which I reserve for moments when I want to take time to express something.

Currently, I have about 50 pens in my collection. I suppose that’s light. The majority are beautiful and extra special. They keep getting refilled when the time is due. The others are disposable but work perfectly for the job at hand, whether it be writing, editing, or idea mapping. Fine point, Extra-Fine point, Medium or Bold; which one I use depends on what I’m doing.

I like the colorful ones for editing, and will choose a color that matches my mood. And, of course, functionality of the pen is key, too—it can't just be about looks. Often when I go to use one, I find the ink is gone, and I must sadly throw it away, saying goodbye to it like it were an old friend.

Sometimes I would be gifted with a "statement" pen, studded with rhinestones or engraved with my name. Writers should have a statement pen. It’s fancy and makes you smile. It’s your go-to pen and makes others wish they had it.

What are my thoughts about pens?

The crusty, plastic ballpoint. Have you ever needed a pen really bad, and someone hands you one of these? It looks like it hasn’t been used in centuries but you’ve got to make it work. It has not weight to it and usually has a business name and logo. No, thanks.

The roller-ball pen. Remember when these were so popular? So much better than a ballpoint, and so much easier to maneuver on the page. The only problem with the roller-ball is that if you leave it uncapped and lean on it during the day the ink soaks into the sleeve of your shirt, or the skin of your arm, and you're covered in pen juice. Not cute.

The pen that does something else at the same time that it's a pen. A hair-clip pen, or a penknife-pen. A screwdriver-pen. A pen that can open bottles. A pen that tells time. Truth is, they are meant to be gimmicks and don’t really write well. Instead, they are just playful and look interesting in your pen holder.

The highlighter. Teachers and students love highlighters. It’s how they stay organized. Writers love them too – not so much to stay organized – but we refuse to be left out of the fun.

The pen with all the colors. Remember these? The wide-barreled, rocket-ship-shaped pens with the different colored levers at the top? You could press the color of your liking down and the pen would write in that color. Of course, blue and black always ran out first, because those were the colors you were most likely to use, and maybe you only wrote in the weird green color once, because no one could read it if you did.

The pen with erasable ink. Anybody know the purpose of this evil? Just say no.


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