Everyday Carry

How to Make Writing a Part of Your Daily Routine

We’ve given you several ideas involving the whys, hows, and whats of carry a notebook and pen. Now it’s time to take a look at some of the more premium pens, notebooks, and accessories. This installment of Carry Smarter touches on fountain pens, full-sized notebooks, some nice desk accessories and planners to wrap up our 3-part guide on writing analog. While each of these items may not exclusively be EDC’d, they are certainly useful on a daily basis and can easily become a part of your ritual.

Ed Jelley

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While you may be more comfortable leaving your expensive fountain pen and full-sized notebook on your desk, that doesn’t mean that analog writing cannot be a part of your every day ritual. Extending their use beyond being in your pocket, you can use your analog writing tools for journaling, work notes, planning, and much more.

What’s next after pocket pens and notepads?

We’ve previously mentioned the advantages of carrying a smaller pen and pocket notebook, but the world of analog writing doesn’t have to be confined to your pockets. Reap the benefits by taking the experience to your desk with these more premium, full-sized options:

  • Fountain Pens: Getting into fountain pens can seem like a daunting task. At the end of the day, there’s really nothing to be afraid of. The barrier to entry can be as low as $8 for a non-disposable pen. It’s nice to have something permanent that you will enjoy for years to come as opposed to a disposable pen that gets thrown away when it’s empty. Not only does writing with a fountain pen force you to take your time, but they are also a pleasure to write with, and can be customized to your personal preference with thousands of different colored inks.
  • Full-sized Notebooks: Uses for a notebook are endless, whether it be pocket- or full-sized. They’re a great way to stay organized. Many professionals prefer to write in a notebook to keep thoughts relevant and close by each other. It’s easy to flip a few pages back to see your thoughts than to go through loose papers. For personal use, keeping a full-sized journal has its benefits. Pocket notebooks are great for short, quick thoughts, but a full-sized notebook will make it much easier to record your day in detail. Write down your thoughts, your feelings, what you did that day, what you enjoyed and what you didn’t. Don’t forget to include what you would like to focus on tomorrow.
  • Planners: An offshoot of notebooks, a good planner can mean a more organized life. The added bonus of handwriting as a tool to remember will keep your mind on what you have coming up during the week. You’re less likely to miss appointments, meetings, and important dates if you write them down by hand.
  • Storage: It is great having a pen, pencil, pocket notebook, and journal that you like, but it is even better to keep them all organized and nicely displayed. Desk trays and pen holders are just a few ways of doing this. Having a special place for your favorite pen ensures you’re less likely to lose it.

Where to go from here?

It’s hard to describe the feeling of putting pen to paper. To some it may seem old fashioned, but it is just one of those things that you won’t truly appreciate until you try it yourself. As explained in part one and two of this guide, there is no shortage of options when looking for the perfect pen and paper combo. There really are enough choices so that everyone can find something that they like. It’s a great feeling to find your perfect pen and paper combination and a way to use them that benefits your every day life. Here are some great selections that can help you build your writing routine:

The Design Icon…

Lamy 2000

Lamy 2000 Fountain / Rollerball / Ballpoint Pen

Designed in 1966 by Gerd Mueller, this ultra-popular fountain pen still maintains a modern look today. It is on permanent display in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and for good reason. The ergonomic pen looks sharp, writes well, and holds a ton of ink to get you through the work week and then some. Durable makrolon resin and stainless steel make up the sleek, slightly textured body that seems to disappear in your hand while writing. If fountain pens aren’t your thing, the 2000 is also available in a ballpoint ($60), multipen ($59), rollerball ($74) and pencil ($48). This is a pen that will last a lifetime.

BUY ($126)

Get your feet wet…

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

Comprised of a metal body and fantastic Japanese nib, the Pilot Metropolitan is a great way to get your feet wet with fountain pens. At only $15, this pen is durable, ergonomic and affordable. The steel nib effortlessly glides across the page and you can fill the pen with any color of fountain pen ink that you choose. If are looking for something with a more modern design, consider the Lamy Safari as an excellent alternative.

BUY ($15)

Start writing…

Maruman Mnemosyne

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook

The Maruman Mnemosyne are an all around excellent line of notebooks. The B5 size is 6.9”x9.8” and fits perfectly on any desk. Not too large, and not too small, the 7mm line spacing is great for any size handwriting. Each page features a title block, space for the date, and is segmented into three 10-line groups to help you stay organized. The off-white paper is very smooth and easily holds up to ballpoint, fountain pen, and gel ink without any messy ink bleeding through the page. They’re also micro-perforated for clean and easy removal. The thick plastic cover will keep your thoughts safe from accidental spills and the double-o wire binding insures that your notebook will last a long time bouncing around in your bag. The Mnemosyne line is available in several sizes and rulings if B5 and lines aren’t your thing.

BUY ($12)

Premium paper in a larger format…

Rhodia Webnotebook

Rhodia Webnotebook

The Webnotebook by Rhodia is a great alternative to the extremely popular Moleskine. Its black leatherette cover maintains a professional look while protecting the off-white pages inside, which are far better quality than that of their competitors. The paper is some of the smoothest and thickest on the market, making it ideal for fountain pens. Keep it closed with the integrated elastic band and store notes in the built in pocket that’s located inside the back cover. 5.5” x 8.25” is perfectly sized for journaling or work notes, while not taking up too much valuable bag space should you decide to take it off your desk. Available in black for the professional, and orange for those who want an added pop of color to their carry and an easier time finding it inside a bag.

BUY ($20)

Stay organized…

Hobonichi Techno Planner

Hobonichi Techno Planner 2015

It’s not too late to start a new yearly planner. The Techno by Hobonichi is unique in design in that it has a full page per calendar day. The great thing about this planner is that it has 464 pages but manages to be very thin and light, around 0.5” thick and only 210g. This is thanks to the Tomoe River Paper inside. Each page is impossibly thin, yet it can stand up to any ink while still being some of the smoothest paper out there. Clean aesthetics and a modern typeface/design will make you look forward to opening up the book and seeing what you have planned for the day. The Techno also makes an excellent journal, helping you to make analog writing a permanent part of your daily routine.

BUY ($23)

Store it in style…

The Divide by Dudek Modern Goods

The Divide by Dudek Modern Goods

All handmade by a single person in the United States and crafted from walnut wood, Dudek Modern Goods produces a line of pen and notebook storage that is both functional and visually appealing. With several configurations, the pen holders make a great spot to keep all of your favorite writing instruments and the pocket notebooks that you’re working on. The Divide has room for 12 pens, pencils or markers and can fit 3-4 pocket notebooks in the middle, making a great home for your analog writing tools while making your EDC easy to grab from on the way out the door. No need to store 12 pens? Check out “The Daily” — a smaller block with room for three pens and three notebooks.

BUY ($40+)

Thank you for reading our series on analog writing! Hopefully we’ve given you enough insight and inspiration to start carrying a pen and notebook. They are very useful tools that you may not have known the utility of until you try carrying one. Have we helped shed some light on the many benefits of analog writing? Did you pick up any new writing tools? If so, how do you plan to use them? Let us know in the comments below.

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Discussion (21 total)

Bernard Capulong ·
I love writing! I do it every day. My favorite notebook, EDC or otherwise, is the Maruman Mnemosyne. Right now I'm going between one of my Tactile Turn Mover pens and my Ti2 Techliner (review in bound, which, I write the first draft of in my notebook.) Besides what I need to write for working here at EDC, my favorite use of notebooks has to be journaling. There's something about touching pen to paper, taking your time to write out your thoughts, that really helps with organizing ideas, managing stress, and getting a better grasp of your emotions. Great series, I hope you guys have found the guide useful enough to join us in writing every day.
Robert Rufh ·
Love the Carry Smarter series. I must take notes to keep myself organized and remember things. I have tried going digital but always return to pen and paper. I'm very tempted to try out a fountain pen. I have also been thinking about a planner/Journal. I have started these before but have never been successful at keeping them going. I'll take a closer look at the Techno planner maybe it will inspire me. Keep up the great articles I'm excited to see what's next.
Jeffrey ·
Great series! Very inspirational: I bought a space pen and pocket notebook yesterday! Well done.
Ed Jelley ·
Great combo, carry them well!
Frank Martin ·
Picked up one of the smaller size Rhodia Webnotebooks at the bookstore today and looking forward to using it. Definitely head and shoulders above a moleskine in terms of quality.
Bill C ·
Ed, great series and I have enjoyed exploring your blog as well. Definitely some things to check out, especially the Techno Planner!

One niche that seems to be a bit more difficult to fulfill is a solution with removable/replaceable pages. I've tried a couple of disc-based systems, but those don't hold up to daily use terribly well. Would love to know if you or any other readers here have explored that topic.
Ed Jelley ·
Thank you for the kind words! I have not used anything with removable/replaceable pages yet. There really aren't too many paper manufacturers that make a good three-hole-punch option.
I love that wood block pen holder, it would look great on my aluminium desk!
Ed Jelley ·
Would love to see a pic of the aluminum desk, sounds really cool!
Chris Szaroleta ·
Post it, Glen!
Frank Martin ·
So many shiny new toys. :D I'm definitely in need of some desk organization, though I think I might go for Dudesk's Daily over the Divide, at least for the time being.
Ed Jelley ·
Great choice!
3l3phant ·
I'm looking for a notebook with a line down the middle of each page to use the left for notes, the right to jot down and track tasks without having to draw a line on each page. Anyone have any thoughts/recommendations?
I own a travellers company brass fountain pen. Very nice compact carry but extends to a full size writing instrument, similar to the fisher space pen bullet.
I just don't like the fine nib on it, i'd prefer a medium, but can't find a fitting replacement...
Maybe someone around here has the same problem and could help me out? I'd appreciate it
Nash Azarian ·
I know this is an old post, but desperately trying to find that turquoise pen all the way to the right in the post photo. Thanks
Bryan ·
Did I miss a post on where to find that single pen sleeve? I've never had a problem with my Lamy leaking, but I don't want to chance it.
Kevin McDowell ·
Those Dudek wooden pen holders are super sweet. Wonder how hard it would be to make something like those...
I've never owned a fountain pen, I think I might get one. It will probably force me to start writing stuff down more. It may even improve my kindergarten level handwriting lol
Ed Jelley ·
Fountain pens definitely make you slow down and think about what/how you're writing a little bit at first. They're not guaranteed to improve your handwriting on their own, but having a nice pen that makes you want to write is usually what causes the changes. Good luck!
Chris Szaroleta ·
This is a fantastic write up, Ed! To become a better writer (at least a more consistent writer), I started journaling. It's been very helpful to assist me in getting my point across while reducing wordiness, which is, at times, a problem for me.
Ed Jelley ·
Thank you! It's funny how cutting down is much harder than rambling on and on. Definitely a useful skill to have in your arsenal.