2015.

The months go by, and you order some stuff here, and pick up some stuff there, but what do I really think about all the different stuff I have been buying this year?

Pens

  • Lamy 2000 – Medium Nib. I love more or less everything about this pen. The nib is fantastic, it holds a lot of ink, looks great and is very comfortable to write with, even for long periods.
  • TWSBI 580AL – Medium Nib. This is a newcomer to my collection. I like it – a lot. As with my Lamy, it holds a lot of ink, is very comfortable to write with, even for longer periods, when you get used to how slippery the grip section is. The nib isn’t as smooth as the gold nib of my Lamy, but it is very good in a different way.

Notebooks.

  • Leuchtturm1917. I don’t know why, the paper quality is great, and it looks great; but it never clicked with me, like some of the other stuff I use all the time did. Don’t get me wrong, it is great, but not just for me.
  • Field Notes Kraft Edition. I have kept at least one of them in my back pocket since I got my first three pack. I just use the heck of them.
  • Hobonichi Planner. This planner is more or less perfect. I think that this is the perfect planner for most people.
  • Midori Travelers Notebook. I love this thing. It is so fantastic. It is the perfect thing in between Field Notes and the next thing on this list. I love how great it looks, how good the paper quality is, and how you can trully turn it into something special.
  • Various no-name big A4 Notebooks. I have been using some huge black A4 notebooks with thick paper for a while now. They are great for everything except portability. They are so heavy.

Ink.

  • Lamy Black. I got a bottle of the standard Lamy black ink when I bought my Lamy 2000. I’m not a big fan of the color or how it performs. But I keep to have something for when I run out ink.
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi. I love this ink. The color is amazing, and the bottle is beautiful. The dry time is a little bit too long for my taste. This is the ink I currently ink up all of my pens with.
  • Noodler’s Bernanke Black. This is one of my favourite inks, it was the only thing I used from I got my Lamy 2000 until the bottle was empty. The color is pretty good, and the dry time is fantastic.

What is up for 2016?

  • I’m going to explore more ink colors, especially in the Pilot Iroshizuku line.
  • I’m going to buy one more fountain pens.
  • The main goal of 2016 is to look into accessories for my MTN and to find out what I want to do with it, beyond basic long form writing.
  • I’m also going to get a new bag.

2015: A year in review.

I officially launched this site a month and a half ago. The progress up until now have gone beyond any hope or expectation.

Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict mentioned the site on #186 of The Pen Addict Podcast, and I got some Ink Love from Ana from The Well Appointed Desk yesterday.

The result is that, a lot more people are subscribing and visiting the site. I don’t really care too much about that, the thing I care about is that people I admire and respect actually like what I have started doing over here.

I can’t wait to start the new year, and to publish some of the stuff I have been working on for a very long long time.

Hovonichi Planner 2016

My second Hobonichi Planner arrived almost a week ago. The choice this time around was much easier than it was in February last year, when I decided to get a paper planner. I think I spent two weeks looking at every single alternative available, before I went for the Hobonichi.

I’m going to write a proper review as soon as I get around to it. But there are not many new things in the 2016 versus the 2015 edition. The dates and so on have been updated, the other big thing is that it now features serial numbers.

It is a great planner. My advice is the following: go for the Hobonichi if you are looking for either a planner or a journal, but aren’t sure what to get. It has 99% of what 99% of people need or want.

It is the thing that keeps my live together. There will be a post about my GTD system very soon.

The Midori Travelers Notebook: my review.

The MTN have been on the top of my wish list for a long time. I remember wanting one, when I started to get into fountain pens almost three years ago. But I didn’t have the money for at the time, and forgot about it. Until I saw a blog post with a picture of one, earlier this year. Which made me move it to the top of my list.

I think that there are room for more than one size of notebooks for most people. But what people need is very individual. My personal preference is to have three different sizes, plus a planner.

  • Field Notes(or anything in the “passport” size would work) for tasks, and short notes.
  • Large A4(similar to the letter size in the US) notebooks, preferably with many hundred sheets for journaling, studying and taking notes at home, in meetings and during lectures / seminars.
  • The thing in between. Field Notes are a excellent tool for keeping track of tasks, and to write down stuff you need to remember. But they are too small to be efficient when it comes to either journal, writing or taking notes. The huge A4 notebooks are great, but they are heavy, and is therefore not something I want to bring everywhere. I have found the MTN to be the perfect thing in between the two.

Format. I have tried many different notebooks formats over the years. My personal preference is as stated above: a pocket sized for capture and organising tasks and projects; the biggest notebook I can get my hands on for hardcore studying or writing; and the thing in between for when you want to write a little bit when waiting, or traveling, or just want to get a beer and write a little bit.

The format of the regular version of the MTN is perfect for this. You have enough room on the page, while you still at the same time have a format that is compact enough that you can fit it in the inner pocket of a winter jacket or you can put it in your bag without noticing it.

Flexible. The thing that really sold my on the MTN was how flexible the system is. Mine is currently extended to have three refills(lined) and a pen holder.

One thing that always drive me nuts with various other notebooks I have used, for example the Field Notes Arts and Sciences Edition is that: I usually need lined paper, that is 90% of the time, but there are times where blank or grid paper is nice; I like to have the option, but to alternate between the two of them doesn’t really solve anything.

This is the cool thing about MTN. You can fill it with one blank, one lined and one grid refill if you want to. Or two lined and one blank. Or you might want a planner refill. You have many first party option, including pockets and all kinds of other cool and weird stuff.

And a added benefit of the flexibility of having different kinds of refills is that you can alter the content of your MTN as needed.

Paper. The paper quality of the refills are excellent. I haven’t seen any bleed through or feathering this far.That includes writing with my Lamy 2000, and that pen is a wet mother fucker. I have written in it with both my Lamy 2000 and my TWSBI 580AL(medium nib on both) with Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi and it takes a few seconds to dry. One of the advantages with the narrow page width is that you don’t have to move your hand that much back and forth.

My only problem with the current line up of refills for the MTN is that I wish they had more than one lined refill. Some people like tiny lines, some like something in between, and some of us like bigger lines.

Design. There isn’t much to say about the design; you have four options: black or brown leather; passport or regular size. The thing I like about it is that it is as simple as you can get away with. It looks cool and works great.

Number of refills versus writing comfort. A MTN have two bands that you can use to attach refills. This means that you can extend it to hold up to six(!!!) refills, if you buy the pack of rubber bands. I have tried using it with different configuration during the weekend to find out what the ideal thing is for me.

Six refills are too much in my opinion. The sweet spot in my experience is two, but I think it looks much better with three. So, three it is.

Conclusion. I think it is a fantastic notebook, and it will without doubt be something I bring everywhere from now on. It is the thing I just grab when I want to write something.

The next thing on my list is to find some extra accessories to make it even more useful. I’ll write more about it when I publish a follow up to this post about how it was to travel with it.

Wreck This Journal’ by Keri Smith — Tools and Toys

Tools & Toys::

Enter Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal. This journal literally commands you to “destroy” it in various and interesting ways, whether it’s ripping or poking holes in pages, painting on pages with coffee, flinging the book at walls, showering with it, drawing on it with glue, etc. The point is to get you out of your comfort zone so you can experience what the true creative process is like

I don’t have the problem at hand. But this is a fantastic book for everyone that thinks that their fancy notebook is too nice for their crappy writing.

On Keeping A Notebook

Laurel Keck:

I’ve been keeping a notebook for over 14 years, and one of the main things I’ve learned is that your notebook is exactly what you put into it. If you pour yourself into it, it will be a patchwork quilt of your life, thoughts and ideas. A timeline of your progress as an artist, a writer, and as a human. The more you use your notebook, the more it will become an automatic response, rather than a deliberate one. Something happens or you have something to remember? Make it a habit to jot it down, and it’ll become a part of the story your notebook is telling (which is of course your story being told and drawn as it happens).

There is only one rule to how you need to use your notebook, and that it that there are no rules. Accidently draw a terrible drawing? Great! Now turn the page and try another one; the only way to get better is keep going. Leave those drawings alone. There will be a time when you look back at these early drawings with embarrassment, and then later on you will look back at them with a sense of pride at how far you’ve come. You’ll remember the things you felt when you made those drawings, then you’ll work on a new thing.

The Pen Haul: TWSBI Vac 700 Review

The Pen Haul:

This pen has surpassed all expectations for me. I had my TWSBI Mini before getting the Vac 700 so I kind of knew what they had to offer, but this hit all of the right notes for me. It’s large, writes well, has a cool filling system, and looks great. There has been some concern about the durability of it, but I have not seen any of those problems myself yet.

I got very interested in this pen, when the Vac Mini reviews started to pop up everywhere. The reason I like is that I love huge pens that have a lot of ink. There is nothing I hate more than the idea of running out of ink in all of my fountain pens.

But the thing I don’t like about the TWSBI Vac models is that you need a special bottle to fill them. And that is also the thing that might stop me from getting one.

50 Used Field Notes

I posted some pictures of my collection(on my [personal site](http://hjertnes.me/2015/06/18/32-used-field-notes-.html)) of used Field Notes back in June; when the number was 32. And I realised yesterday when I finished another one that I now have used 50 of them. So I decided to do the same thing this time as well.

The way I use them have changed over the 2,5 years I have been a Field Notes user; from writing down ideas and notes to my the most important element in my GTD system. Some of them look like new and others are falling apart.

There have been times where I have used a notebook for six months, and there are times where it only lasted two days. But the usual life time is more like 7-10 days.

I’m going to make page, with pictures of all my used Field Notes early next year.

Loadout December.

This is my first loadout posts. I was planning to do one last month, but never go around to it. My daily carry stuff this month contain a few new items.

  • Field Notes is as always the corner stone of my note taking and productivity; I use them for shorter notes and tasks.
  • Hobonichi Planner 2015 is the second and last part of my productivity. I have used this baby since the beginning of March. I use it to keep track of meetings, other events and the most important tasks; in other words: the high level stuff that I absolutely need to complete at any given day. I also use it to write up monthly goals. I ordered the 2015 version a week ago.
  • Pilot Metropolitain(I think it is a medium nib, but I got it back when there was only one kind of nib for it). I’m not using this pen at lot anymore. But it is still the pen I reach for when the two following items run out of ink.
  • Lamy 2000: medium nib this have been the pen that I have written 99% of everything I have written in 2015. I use it a little bit less at the moment, because I just got the next pen on the list. But this will remain one of my go to pens.
  • All of the three pens above is inked up with: Pilot Take-sumi. I usually use one ink until I run out. I got this ink two days ago, and I think it is great.
  • TWSBI Diamond 580AL Silver: medium nib this have been my go to pen since I got it two days ago. And I love almost everything about it.
  • Nock.co Hightower: this thing is just fantastic. I bring it everywhere, it is always filled up with three pens(the three pens above) and three Field Notes.
  • Midori Travelers Notebook: with lined refills. This became my new favourite notebook within minutes after packing it up. I love how it looks, and everything else about it. I use it for journaling, and everything else I write long form.

The Case for multiple pens

I used to be a strong defender of only having a very limited number of pens. My opinion was coloured by minimalism. I have come around, and I see a value in having and carrying more than one pen. It all depends on what you need.

Some people like du use different pens for different things; some use different pens for different things; while others have different fountain pens for different things. I always have three or four pens with me. I have more or less the same ink in all of them, and the nib is also more or less the same.

You might wonder why I have so many pens. I have one non-fountain pen, and three fountain pens. The reason is simple, I want to always have a pen that I enjoy to use available. I write a lot every single day, and my goal is to have enough pens with me to be able to go at least a couple of weeks without refilling.

There are many good reasons to carry multiple pens. But the most important thing is that you use them, and don’t just carry a lot of pens; and don’t just own a lot of pens you don’t use.