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  • Learn A Foreign Language By Journaling

    languagePlanning to learn a foreign language this year? Then break out a new journal.

    Writing by hand is a highly recommended way to improve your recall and understanding of foreign vocabulary and syntax.

    It makes sense, given what we know about the link between handwriting and learning. Continue reading

  • The World In Pens

    Business 2 Community makes the case that doodling is an effective tool to improve communication, increase productivity and spur creativity in the workplace.

    A Flavorwire article from a couple years ago making its way around social media again shows the hand-drawn/hand-written plot outlines of several famous authors, including J.K. Rowling and Joseph Heller.

    The Providence Journal profiles a doodler who developed his craft into a regular business selling pen-and-ink sketches on the US festival circuit.

    All4Women explains why journaling is good for your mental health in a succinct 12-point list that covers everything from stress management to panic attacks.

    The Sprachen blog explains in depth how to start and organize a language notebook for tracking your progress as you learn multiple languages.

    Seinfeld's "All I said was I liked the pen" holds the No. 1 spot on the Pentel blog's top 10 pop culture references to pens. (On a related note, a few years ago, we rounded up some of the best movie/TV fight scenes that involved a pen.)

    This interview with Swedish poet Emina Gaspar-Vrana on the Memopipwrites blog contains one of the best lines ever about pens and writing: "Who needs a shrink when you have a pen?"

    Kinja asked readers to vote for their five favorite pens and the Pilot G-2 made the top of the list. Maybe their readers just don't know pens.

  • Private Journal May Be An Oxymoron

    Last year, I recommitted to keeping a personal journal and have managed to stick with it so far – which is actually something of an accomplishment, considering how many I've started and abandoned over the years.

    Right off the bat, I decided two guiding principles: One, focus on what I was feeling, not the minutiae of the day; two, never lie to the journal, even if it meant writing down some ugly truths. Exposing my inner life on paper like that made me a little nervous then, and still does now.

    That's why I was very interested when Steve at Recording Thoughts wrote a post on his blog recently asking, "Is Your Journal a Liability?" His point was that our journals should not be self-indulgent spaces where we can be our worst selves, but where we strive to be better. That way, we have nothing to be embarrassed about if someone reads it. Continue reading

  • It's Not Just Journaling, It's Life-Writing

    journalingSo I've come across a term that is new to me: "Life-writing." Apparently, this is an entire field of study devoted to all the means of documenting a person's life, whether it's something as simple as a daily journal, or as detailed as an historical biography.

    And when I say field of study, I mean just that. Universities, particularly in the UK, have built entire departments around the topic of life-writing. For example, there's the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at the University of Oxford, the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King's College London, and the Life Writing Research Program at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

    From the Lingnan program site:

    Life writing is a field devoted to the study and creation of narratives which focus on individual lives. Now a large and vibrant international field, life writing includes the writing and study of autobiography, biography, oral history, journals, letters, journalistic profiles, autobiographical filmmaking and much else.

    Continue reading

  • The 1000 Journals Project & An Update From Creator Someguy

    I know I'm getting to the party really late, but I've just seen a documentary that I'd heartily recommend for every pen enthusiast, sketcher, doodler and journaler who hasn't already seen it.

    It's called "1,000 Journals" and it's about a project started in 2000 by a San Francisco artist called "someguy." The idea was very simple: Someguy sent 1,000 journals out into the world at random, and people made contributions to them, then passed the journals on until they were full. Then, completed journals were to be returned to someguy.

    Continue reading

  • Journaling Keeps You Sane and Healthy

    barI like to think of a journal as kind of like a bar frequented only by me and a sole silent listener who neither advises nor judges. Anyone who uses one knows how great it can be to have a place like that to unload all those emotions, ideas and events that would otherwise overload and overwhelm us.

    If you've ever considered keeping a journal, but haven't started yet, here is a thought that might help motivate you: According to some professionals, journaling has beneficial effects on both body and mind that can help improve your overall health. Continue reading

  • POW camp life - and death - captured with a Sheaffer

    Normally, we save random pen-related stories for one of our Totally Random Pen Stuff features, but this one, about a POW with a fountain pen and a journal, seemed like it deserved its own space, especially with Veterans Day coming up in the US.

    According to CNN, Tony Acevedo was just a kid right out of high school when he was sent to Europe as an Army medic during World War II. He was captured by the Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge and sent with about 350 other soldiers to the Berga slave labor camp, where they were brutalized and subjected to forced labor. Continue reading

  • Telegraph Says Journalers are Cool Kids Now

    Penthusiasts and journalers got a little nod from the Telegraph the other day with a sprawling article about how stationery shops are flourishing, despite the digital revolution.

    In an age dominated by the dizzying proliferation of digital communications, of iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys, Twitter, Facebook, email, SMS and hundreds of other technologies, the simplicity of pen and paper suddenly commands a timeless attraction.

    Ancient communication technologies are current like never before. Boutique stationers like RSVP and The Paperie in Chester are thriving: people haven’t stopped handwriting today any more than they eat lunch in pill form or commute to work in electric maglev cars. Continue reading

  • How to Start Writing a Journal

    If you're a person who enjoys good pens – and really, who doesn’t? – then it's a shame not to do as much writing as possible. A great way to do that: Start and maintain a journal. Continue reading

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