Are you picky about pens?

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I don’t think of myself as someone who’s picky about pens, but at some point during college I developed a strong preference for the Pilot V-Ball (extra fine), and after that I never looked back. It seemed like an unfussy choice: it was a good pen with good ink in unadventurous colors. It wasn’t flashy. It wasn’t cool. It worked.

Best of all, it used to be easy to find at drugstores and supermarkets. Alas, that’s no longer the case, and I’m not quite sure what to do. I guess never realized how attached I’d grown to my V-Balls until I tried some other pens.

The Pilot “Precise Zing” has great ink, but I’m not wild about that thick silver, blue, and purple plastic case. The less fancy and still ubiquitous Pilot Precise seems like a solid choice, but the nib just feels too thin—like I could bend it if I pressed too hard. Ink from the Sanford uni-ball flows unevenly on the first stroke, and the Pilot EasyTouch does nothing to mitigate my dislike of ball point pens.

Eventually I broke down and ordered a couple of new V-Balls from the Pilot website. It’s now obvious that my “strong preference” has turned into a full-fledged addition, but never mind.

Are you picky about pens?

10 thoughts on “Are you picky about pens?

  1. For about 15 years my pen of choice has been the Papermate click ball point pens that are refillable with Lubriglide ink cartridges. Black, medium point. I like the click ball point because I often write on the go or need to jot a quick note and don’t like to mess with a cap. I prefer ball point so I don’t have to wait for the ink to dry. I like being able to refill the pens, which I have done countless times over the years. I like that the ink is waterproof so if I accidentally get my book wet (which happens sometimes) the ink doesn’t smear or disappear. It’s not fancy, and it’s very utilitarian, but it works for me!

  2. I’m warming to the V5, but as I say, I prefer the sturdier nib of the V-Ball. Maybe I’ll try some of the other uni-ball pens, or the Pilot Dr. Grip.

    I love Staedtler pencils and erasers, but I’ve never used their pens…

  3. I am extremely picky about pens. I’ve known this for years. I am a big fan of Pilots V5. I didn’t realize there was a v7 and how different it was until I, mistakenly, bought a package of them a few months ago. It frustrates me to no end having the wrong pen.
    For colored ink I love Staedtler Triplus Fineliners though. They’re brilliant.

  4. Unquestionably – The Pilot Precise V5 was my pen of choice recently right up until I got into a fountain pen craze. So now it’s Lamy Safaris.

  5. Even before I got into fountain pens, I was picky about what I wrote with: gel pens, rollerball pens, etc. Pilot’s Dr. Grip gel pens are awesome. I recommend those.

  6. Yes, I figured that some of the fountain pen users out there would be horrified! I’ve just never gotten into fountain pens, for whatever reason… perhaps I should give them a try.

  7. Considering I now own upwards of 40 fountain pens with broad nibs, stub nibs, and cursive italic nibs – yes, I’m VERY picky about pens. And I can’t imagine using those cheap plastic sticks you blog about!

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