You Win, Pilot Metropolitan — The Pen Addict

You Win, Pilot Metropolitan — The Pen Addict

Ever since it was released, the Metropolitan has been gaining steam. I liked what I saw when I reviewed the original medium nib model, and now that the fine nib model has hit mass release I think it is the fountain pen to choose for beginners over my previous favorite, the Lamy Safari.

I have not tried one personally, but who am I to argue with the astute and experienced Mr. Dowdy. I know many folks that would like to get into writing with fountain pens but are unsure where to start. Now, you know.

Analog Markdown — The Newsprint

Analog Markdown — The Newsprint.

Most recently, my written notes have been marked up in Markdown too.

The reason for this is simple: Markdown is so easy to use, so easy to read and so easy to implement that it was a natural progression to transfer the system to analog notes. Obviously, analog notes aren’t actually styled with italicized and bold letters. But the small syntax additions help add context that is otherwise hard to convey.

I often do this as well. Especially to denote italics and bold.

Typewriters in Movies

Typewriters in Movies

If you’ve ever wondered what Geoffrey Rush was pecking at in The King’s Speech, or what Colin Firth was writing his novel on in Love Actually, this website should shed some light on your questions. I know I’ve definitely added some of these to my “must have” list.

New Page: Site Notes

I have added a new page to the site titled Site Notes. I’m using this page to build an evolving set of rules and recommendations The Cramped. A philosophy.txt as it were. This is what constitutes an operating manual for this site. It is also, more than anything, a promise to the readers. As I say on one of my other sites, this is “What we believe in…”

Check it out.

To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand – Technology – The Atlantic

To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand – Technology – The Atlantic

“We don’t write longhand as fast as we type these days, but people who were typing just tended to transcribe large parts of lecture content verbatim,” Mueller told me. “The people who were taking notes on the laptops don’t have to be judicious in what they write down.”

She thinks this might be the key to their findings: Take notes by hand, and you have to process information as well as write it down. That initial selectivity leads to long-term comprehension.

‘Authors Should Just Write’ – Or, Maybe They Shouldn’t | James Shelley

‘Authors Should Just Write’ – Or, Maybe They Shouldn’t | James Shelley.

So, aspiring writer, I propose that the quality and meaningfulness of what you and I do correlates with our willingness to consume, ponder, critique, and contemplate the thoughts of others. We are not little blobs floating in some sterile vacuum, and neither are we sitting at a typewriter in a whitewashed isolation cell. We only nurture our capacity to say something constructive about the world if we let the world in.

A reminder that, in order to be better writers, we must be better observers. It is essential that we disengage from the blank page regularly so we might go out and have the experiences required to return and fill it.

As an aside, James Shelley’s subscription newsletter, The Caesura Letters, is one of the best things I read daily. It’s smart and challenging. You should check it out.

The joys of screen-free thinking. — Writers on Writing — Medium

The joys of screen-free thinking. — Writers on Writing — Medium

I have been writing, but if you follow me online there’s no way you could have seen it. In December, as part of my quest to cultivate one habit per month, I journaled every day: quietly, consistently, prolifically. I didn’t mean for it to be a secret, but the deeper I got the further I drifted from the Internet. My tumblr went stale. Old articles of mine resurfaced on Medium, but I didn’t pick up the conversation. I disengaged from industry conversations I normally would have participated in. I didn’t tweet once in three whole weeks. Online, it looked like I didn’t exist. (Or perhaps was on vacation.)

To the Internet, Something Was Up! And I confess?—?something was up. The truth is, I was writing: I was writing by hand. Writing with ink, pen and paper (not the app). And it felt?—?and “felt” is precisely the right word here?—?it felt great.

Beautiful read. And it’s not just about the joys and benefits of writing on paper but also reading as well. This part especially resonated with me:

Writing?—?by hand?—?makes me a better writer. And reading?—?on paper— that makes me a better reader, too.

Me too.

via Chris Lovie-Tyler

An Exact Man

Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.

– Francis Bacon

The Joy of Daily Logging

by Mike Rohde

This year I decided to try keeping a logbook after being inspired to do so by Austin Kleon and his logbook idea.

At the end of December, I ordered a large single page per day Moleskine diary in bright yellow, and couldn’t wait to start the process of logging my days on January 1st.


I’ve never been one to do well keeping a regular diary in the traditional sense. When I’ve tried in the past, I’d start hot and fade after a few weeks of writing diary entries.

Digital tools haven’t solved this issue either. I love Day One, but have been off track for over a month in that app.

Yet, despite my issues keeping a traditional diary, it isn’t dampening my enthusiasm for keeping a logbook. This alternative approach to documentation fits me. It remains something I look forward to every day.

The difference? My logbook is a living document. I add to it as the day progresses, rather than trying to recall past activities and thoughts at the end of the day, in narrative form. I’ve shifted to capturing atomic bits of the day as they happen, rather than working to create a narrative of the day from memory.

I track my tasks with hand-drawn checklists, add icons with notes and comments about what I’m doing or should do, and if I have time or the inclination, I can add a short narrative from the day’s activities. But recall narratives are completely optional to the logbook pages.

I’ve made use of empty pages to sketch out concepts and ideas. On one occasion, I sketchnoted a TV documentary as an experiment for the book I’m working on called The Sketchnote Workbook.


I’ve also jumped back to past days, adding detailed narratives and notes to the pages to fill them in. Oddly enough, because my daily log is already on the pages somehow encourages me to fill in the details on memorable days.

Overall, the active nature of a logbook fits me much better than a traditional diary. I can verify it scientifically by the 4 months of entries in my yellow logbook. Now I feel incomplete if my logbook isn’t in my briefcase, and the desk seems empty if my logbook isn’t on top of it.

Exploring, experimenting and pushing my logbook has been an enjoyable and valuable experience. Why not consider starting a logbook of your own? It doesn’t have to start at the beginning of the year, nor be captured in a fancy logbook.

Learn more about Mike Rohde and his books, The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook at his site, or follow him on Twitter at @rohdesign

Bleed Out on Blank Pages — Hack / Make

Bleed Out on Blank Pages — Hack / Make.

In notebooks, I’ve found it a unique way to see the ink of my life spill together on the pages. Mundane lists, sketches you can’t decipher anymore, phone numbers you can never call again because of the pain on the other end of the line, meeting notes from an hour of your life you won’t ever get back. They flow together on paper in a way that matches our bleeding lives.

Beautiful post by Nick Wynja on why he prefers notetaking and journaling on paper.