What We Use

Because the tools we use can change frequently — depending on purpose, availability, and mood — this is a dated list of what we are using most recently.

Patrick Rhone — 01.24.2018

This is not the totality of what I use. These are the things I use right now on a daily basis.

  • Morning Glory Mach 3 Roller Ball Pen – 0.38 mm – Blue Black — This was sent to me for review as part of a package of stuff JetPens sent me. Unlike the other items in the package, I had never hear of this brand before. So, I decided to give it a run first. Now, I can seem to put it down. It’s a needle point roller ball with a very smooth flow and consistent line. Perfect for someone who has tiny writing like me. I had not really used much in the way of blue-black inks before but am pleasantly satisfied with the balance this strikes. It’s a good ,inexpensive, everyday, pen.

  • Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pens – Fine Nib — I have 4 of these fountain pens in various colors that I’ve inked up with different inks and switch them interchangeably when the mood strikes me. A tremendously good daily fountain pen and an amazing value for the cost.

  • Frictionless Tools Capture Cards – Red — These are my index cards of choice. More sturdy than the standard variety. I like the grid design. Takes fountain pen ink better too. Unfortunately, they are no longer available. I purchased several packages before they stopped being sold.


  • Hobonichi Techo Planner — I use this as a daily log — recording tasks completed, appointments attended, and occurrences observed. It is the only journal I have ever managed to keep every day, consistently. In fact, I have not missed a day since I started mine on December 16, 2013 (pretty proud of that). The main reason for this success is that it simply is a joy to use. The paper is, perhaps, the best I’ve ever written on. Also, it’s well designed, functional, and has little bit of whimsy thrown in here and there. It just makes me unreasonably happy every time I use it.

  • Slice Planner — I use this as a “daily driver”. I use the chronometer on the left to plan out my day and the dot grid on the right for meeting notes and ideas. I couldn’t care less about the “connected” features and the corresponding app.

  • Baron Fig Confidant — My current “writing” notebook. I actually have a couple of these going in different colors. One for “book writing” and another for general writing (blog posts and the like).

  • Pelle Journal — Unfortunately, these also are no longer made. I bought several refills when they popped up out of the blue about a year ago to keep me going. But it is my current Journal — capitalized because this is the one that contains my inner world.

Shawn Mihalik — 03.14.2018

* Pilot G2 – .07 mm – Black — Old reliable. I’ve met countless writers and notetakers for whom this is their daily driver. The ink flows well, and the pen is inexpensive. I buy large packs of them and keep them all over the place, including in the pen-holder of my Notebook.

  • Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pens – Fine Nib — Like Patrick, I use this fountain pen pretty regularly. It’s always in my pocket, and it’s the pen I pull out to do some serious journaling, or when I don’t have one of the above G2s within arm’s reach.

  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen — Black — Extra-Superfine — I love how fine the nib of this pen is. I use this often for sketching, or for note-taking when I need to fit a lot of information in a small space. I actually own the Pitt in a bunch of colors (red, sepia, multiple shades of blue and green), but only the black is available with the extra-superfine nib. The other colors don’t see nearly as much use from me as the black, but I pull out the red when I have to edit paper documents.

  • Galen Leather 5-Slot Pen Case — I keep several pens in here (sometimes more than the five it technically holds), as well as a Field Notes or other small notebook, and some index cards.

  • Field Notes — I always have one of these in my back pocket. It’s my inbox for thoughts, ideas, and reminders, and I also tend to use it as a daily log. Occasionally, I’ll try other pocket notebooks, but I always come back to these. I keep my Field Notes in this kick-ass cover from One Star Leather Goods.

  • Baron Fig Confidant in a Balabanoff Leather Cover — For me, this is The Notebook. That is to say, it’s my journal, planner, to-do list, and sketchbook. It’s where I take meeting notes, project notes, and where I record my activities and thoughts. While I do keep a separate notepad on my desk, just in case, the Confidant is almost always with me. When I’m at the office, it’s spread open on my desk; when I’m not, it’s in my messenger bag. I’m currently using the Unfinish, but I mostly write over the included blue sketches.

Harry Marks — 05.14.2014


    • 1950s Smith-Corona Sterling Typewriter — With a bluish-green hue straight off a Chevy assembly line from the same time period, my Smith-Corona is the highlight of my home office. I purchased it from a tiny shop across the street from the Flatiron on one of my lunch breaks using money I earned from selling my gen 1 iPad. Yes, I sold an iPad to buy a typewriter. I’ve got a first draft of a novel currently sitting in it and you’ll definitely know when I’m working on it — you can hear the clicks and clacks down the block.
    • Field Notes – Everyone’s favorite pocket notebook. I use it for my to-do lists and various notes throughout the day. Currently rocking one from the “Ales” collection.

    • Extra-Large Ruled Moleskine Notebook — This is what I’m writing a first draft of another novel in. I can’t schlep the typewriter with me everywhere and I certainly don’t want to be “that guy” who whips out an antique at a Starbucks to get his writing done. Instead, I carry the large Moleskine with me and write the draft in longhand. All my first drafts are written in an analog format.

    • Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm — Patrick got me into these pens when he sent me one in a generous care package last year. Since then, I’ve always had at least one on me at all times and I’m using them to write in the large Moleskine. I can squeeze about 500 words on a page with one of these bad boys.

    • Pigma Micron pens — Felt-tip marker pens in varying sizes and colors. I use them for sketching, or color-coding my notes.

    • Nock Co. Hightower Pen Case — The first Kickstarter project I ever backed. These cases are beautifully made and hold three pens and one pocket notebook (like a Field Notes, for example). It is a permanent fixture in my inside-right jacket pocket.
    • Book – I rarely buy eBooks these days. I’ve gone almost exclusively back to paper books. They’re easier to lend to friends, I own them outright, and they look damn good on the shelves in my office. I also have one with me every day when I commute into the city.