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 — 2024.02.24

  • Fountain Pens — To date, I’ve accumulated 19 fountain pens, all of which see regular or semi-regular use. Right now, my most-used pens are, in no particular order, the Pilot Custom 823, Montblanc Meisterstück Glacier LeGrand, Sailor Cylint, TWSBI Precision, Pilot Vanishing Point LS, and Kaweco Brass Sport (this one comes with me whenever I leave the house—the brass means I just put it in my pocket, and it’s developing a beautiful patina).

  • Kaweco Special Mini Mechanical Pencil — Occasionally, if I get just the right combination of nib, ink, and paper, I can annotate nonfiction books with a fountain pen. But most of the time, I use this adorable little pencil from Kaweco. I bought a clip for it, and it tends to stay affixed to whatever nonfiction book I’m reading at the time.

  • Field Notes — I always have one of these in my back pocket. It’s my inbox for thoughts, ideas, and reminders. 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.

  • Leuchtturm1917 with 120gsm paper in a Galen A6 Notebook Cover — I use Leuchtturm notebooks for a variety of purposes. Right now, I have the official Bullet Journal variant as my, well, bullet journal, where I keep my to-do lists, project notes, and plans. I also have separate Leuchtturms for individual writing projects.

  • Barnes & Noble Brown Monastery Refillable Italian Leather Journal — My grandmother bought me this, and it’s my current personal journal. It’s nice. The look and feel are both classy and pleasant, and the paper takes fountain pen ink well—although it doesn’t show off much in the way of special ink properties, and some, but not all, of my pens act just the tiniest bitty quirky with it.

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.