Five years ago on Nov. 17, 2009 my wife and I received our first shipment of Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and J. Herbin products from Exaclair to sell on our website, GouletPens.com. This was our first foray into fountain pen retailing, and we had a whole new world to discover.
We were new to online retailing, and brand new to the fountain pen world. We had our website that we’d been using to sell our hand-turned wood pens for the previous three years, in a failed former version of our business. We’d devoted three years of our lives trying to build up our company with wood pens, and we simply treaded water.
It wasn’t until I’d discovered fountain pens and the amazing community of folks that are into them that I found my new home. Attending the DC Fountain Pen Supershow in 2009 opened up my eyes to the fact that people are actually into this fountain pen thing, and my discovery of online communities like the Fountain Pen Network showed me that the internet was bringing us together in a way that wasn’t possible even just a few years before. Fountain pen users were no longer isolated from each other. Yes, maybe geographically we are spread out, but online we’re all together sharing with each other. I immediately recognized that this is what had been missing from my wood pen experience, and I dove in head-first to learn everything I possibly could about fountain pens and then turn it around and immediately share it back out freely on my own blog and in my YouTube videos. This laid the groundwork for my company today, and I’ve put out well over 1,000 blog posts and 600 videos with many more to come.
It’s very appropriate that the GouletPens anniversary falls right around Thanksgiving every year, because each year I’m thankful to have spent yet another year doing what I love. The pens, ink, and paper that make up this hobby are great. Though for me they’re not the most satisfying part of being “in the fountain pen business” after five years. It’s the people. Those of us who are into fountain pens have a connection with each other, one that’s hard to explain and even harder to find outside of this community. Because of the internet, blogging, and social media, we are able to find each other and share our knowledge and passion with one another in a way that was difficult to do even ten years ago. I consider myself to be unbelievably fortunate to have discovered fountain pens when I did, with the opportunity that was there for me to participate in the writing community like I do.
It’s no longer just about me and my wife, either. We have had two children since starting our company and been able to build a future for them. We have a team of amazing people that help us do what we do every day, twenty-four of us all working hard to share the fountain pen love. This is something I could not possibly have conceived when I wrote on my first Rhodia pad in 2009, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the community that has taught me so much.
I’m thankful for Exaclair, for allowing a once no-name online retailer like me to start to carry their products and represent their brands. I’m thankful to Stephanie Smith here at RhodiaDrive for blogging passionately and being a resource for me as a fountain pen newbie. I’m thankful for manufacturers like Rhodia who make consistent and reliable fountain-pen friendly products that greatly enhance our writing experience. And most of all I’m thankful for you as a reader of RhodiaDrive for reading and sharing your own knowledge of this writing lifestyle. Your passion and generosity of your knowledge is what drew me in to fountain pens five years ago, and that continues to inspire me to this day.
What does it mean to be “grounded?”
The simplest way to describe it, is being fully present in your life as opposed to being distracted by past or future events. When we are “in our heads” and thinking about anything but the current moment, we lose the ability to operate from or with, our fullest mental capacities. You can think about this like the RAM on a computer. Whether it’s a computer or our brain, give it too many tasks to process at the same time and it will ultimately grow sluggish.
You don’t need to take a lengthy or expensive vacation to a remote island or mountain top to do this. One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your full creative self is just by taking a quiet walk in nature.
Try this: First find a quiet place to take a walk. If you have to get in the car or on a bus to get to such a place, do it – it will be worth it.
Next, turn off technology for at least an hour.
Then, start walking. Try to be fully aware of placing one foot in front of the other and not thinking about anything else. Breathe deeply. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If your to-do list pops into your head, gently place it to the back burner while you bring your awareness back to one foot in front of the other.
If you have the opportunity, try taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to touch the earth – if only for a moment.
For this week’s creative prompt, grab a pen and some paper to make a list of all the things you did this summer. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were connected to any specific vacation destination or event, just write down anything that you’d like to remember about the summer of 2014. Think people, places, foods, music, games, sports, nature…
Feel free to write an essay if you like, but individual words and simple phrases will work just as well.
First impressions with J. Herbin Stormy Grey at FPGeeks
First Day of School Pencils, Take Two. at Pencil Revolution
Orange Delights From Ink To Paint at Inkophile
Guest Post: “I think I want to try out this whole fountain pen thing.” at The Pen Addict
Cursive: Is it really that important? at The Well-Appointed Desk
Journaling Exercise: Write A Review at Kaizen Journaling
Traveling pencils at Palimpset
Shades of White at No Pen Intended
How Much Do You Spend On School Supplies? at One Hundred Dollars a Month
Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review at Write to Me Often
DIY Pen Storage V.2! at EdJelley
Flight Delays in My Sketchbooks at Balzar Designs
An Introvert Goes to the Pen Show at From the Pen Cup
Check out FPGeeks on YouTube for videos from the 2014 DC Pen Show
After seeing this post on Buzzfeed: 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading, I noticed that I’ve already read several and will probably want to eventually read them all. Do you have any favorites from this list? #25 is an all-time favorite for me.
3. Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott: Read this a long time ago. Remember it being sweetly encouraging.
4. Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon: Read recently. Good info, but nothing that was really new to me
7. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron: This is a classic. Excellent info to be found here. Do the work if you want to experience transformational growth in your life. (It’s not just about art)
15. Just Kids, Patti Smith: This has been sitting patiently in my Kindle for over a year…
19. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White: Great info. “Omit needless words” is a classic.
21. Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland: I’ve never read it cover to cover, but every time I crack it open and read a few pages I find something totally relevant.
22. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards: Just recently bought a copy.
25. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield: One of the BEST books I’ve ever read. It’s about resistance. You do not have to be an artist to get a lot out of this book. It’s tiny – read it in an afternoon.
29. On Writing, Stephen King: I owned this a very long time ago. Can’t remember if I read all of it. The one thing that sticks with me is his mantra of “Write every day:”
Are you a doodler?
By allowing yourself to be creative in a way that is not dependent on any particular outcome, you can focus on the process itself and simply appreciate your hand moving the pen across the surface of the paper.
The next time you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office, the DMV, or when picking up your children after school, I’d like challenge you to reach for a paper and pencil and allow yourself to doodle. If this is something you don’t normally do, I think you might be surprised at how calming and meditative the process may be.
Image courtesy of butch_gordon on Instagram
Last night, I was interviewed for a segment on creating vision boards for “Save the Kales” – a local TV cooking show hosted by the magnificent Jaime Karpovich. (Keep your eye on this girl – she is Food Network bound for sure!)
Vision boards are used a creative visualization process to manifest some aspect of change in your life. Made simply by collaging inspiring images and words cut out from magazines, these boards can be used to inspire, maintain focus, shift perspective, and attract abundance into your life.
Have you ever created a vision board? What did you think of the process?
This episode will be aired in January and will be able to be viewed online as well.
If you told me that you keep a small Rhodia pad in your back pocket, you certainly wouldn’t be the first. What I’d like to know, is what you use it for. General note taking throughout the course of a busy day? Poetic inspiration? Recording your latest rare bird sighting? Thomas Mann, a well-known jewelry designer has been quoted as saying; “I keep a little Rhodia pad in my back pocket that is where every idea in the form of a drawing or thought goes down as a reference to jump-start the creative back in the studio.”
Image courtesy of masaru85- on Instagram
￼￼Handy sizes and ultra-flexible, colorful covers make the Clairefontaine’s Crok’ Books a unique tool for personal sketches, notes and drawings.
- Stapled sketch notebooks (on the side or on top for larger formats)
- 24 sheets (48 pages) of 90g white acid-free paper sketch paper
- 270g cover with embossed logo (assorted colors)
- 4 available sizes: 6 3⁄4 x 8 3⁄4″, 8 x 12,” 12 x 17,” and the landscape sketch notebook 6 3⁄4 x 4 1⁄4″
Would you like to try one? We are giving away 20 of the 6 3⁄4 x 8 3⁄4″ Crok’ Books!
The contest will be remain open until midnight EST on Sunday June 9th. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on the blog on Thursday June 11th. One entry per household please. If you are viewing this post via e-mail or on a mobile device, you may need to visit Rhodia Drive directly to see the entry form.
Help us to get the word out? Please feel free to Tweet, blog or share this post via Facebook.
Augusten Burroughs (Best selling author of Running With Scissors) motivates me to write without fear. Life coach Tony Robbins motivates me to make changes in my life so I can continue to grow and achieve my goals. People like Oprah Winfrey that exhibit an infectious energy in connection with their passion help me to believe that anything is possible. Books that focus on the law of attraction such as “The Secret” have opened me to infinite possibility, and self -help books like “The War of Art” have taught me to recognize and successfully battle resistance.
Who or what motivates and inspires you? Continue Readering »
Happy New Year everyone! If you like, try starting 2013 with a bit of positive inspiration in your art/journal notebook like the one above – a gentle reminder to “Believe In Yourself.”
Need some additional inspiration? How about:
- Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. – Zig Ziglar
- A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. – Francis Bacon
- Try and fail, but don’t fail to try – Stephen Kaggwa
Need even more? After you check out all of the inspirational sayings on this Pinterest board, I challenge you to pick a favorite- then with your favorite pen and paper in hand, write it out. (Maybe even more than once!) Then grab the Scotch tape and hang it it where it can continue to inspire you each and every day of this new year.
Which saying did you choose?
Image courtesy of Ben Brown – follow ben_brownie on Instagram.
What is art journaling? It is a simple combination of art and writing in the same book. There are no rules except for those that you set yourself. “Art journaling has a long-standing artistic tradition. Artists through the centuries have kept notebooks in which they sketched, practiced, experimented, and recorded themselves.” via Dina Wakley. Continue Readering »
A Plethora of Writing Prompts for Creative Writing and Journaling at Daring to Live Fully
Pencil Review: Dixon Tri-conderoga at A Penchant for Paper
New Rhodiarama Webbies at PENS PAPER INKS…WHATEVER!
Wed. Review- Monteverde Artista Crystal at Ink Nouveau
Rainbow Realities: 18 Everyday Objects Organized by Color at WebUrbanist
10 Tricks to Get the Creative Juices Flowing at Inc.com
Le rouge et le bleu: a special Herbin giveaway at Quo Vadis Blog
One More Month Done… at Water Blossoms
Most Popular Budget Pen: Pilot Pens at Lifehacker
Image courtesy of jadedlotus on Instagram
I am a fan of Sakura Pigma Micron pens for drawing and writing. The ink is permanent and they come in a variety of colors and nib widths. I typically buy the .05 and .08 pens with black ink but I know I also have red, purple, and blue pens around here somewhere… Continue Readering »
Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement with a dash of motivation on the side- (Monday morning grumble grumble) which is why I started subscribing to the daily “Notes from the Universe” at TUT.com.
My message for today is: At any point in one’s life, Stephanie, the greater the uncertainties they face, the greater their chances of “hitting a home run.”
TUT which stands for “Totally Unique Thoughts” offers reminders of life’s everyday magic and our power to deliberately shape the lives we lead.