The Art of Journaling: Reasons Why You Should

Image courtesy of James Mercer jmercer on Instagram

Image courtesy of James Mercer – jmercer on Instagram

Aside from keeping a diary when I was a pre-teen, I didn’t really start putting pen to paper until mid  September of 2005. I am able note the exact moment in time because I remember making a special trip to Blick to purchase a fancy notebook and pen just for this purpose. (And then there’s this: The day after I bought the journal, I sat and talked with a psychic woman at a local holistic expo who distinctly told me that I needed to get myself a journal and and ink pen and start writing. <– Not making this up.) 

The first entries in that book listed crazy dreams, noted the end of one creative phase (jewelry making) and the start of another. (hand drumming) I wrote about the decline of my dog’s health and a job promotion that wasn’t working out for me.  That journal quickly became a trusted friend. The action of writing in it about whatever was important to me in the moment, became my therapy.

If you need any encouragement on why it’s a good idea to put pen to paper, check out the articles at the links below.

26 Reasons Why I Keep a Journal (And Why You Should, Too) at Huffington Post

“I can yell in my journal and no one will hear me raise my voice”

How to Journal in 10 Simple Steps at Journaling Saves

“Words, on a page. It’s really that simple.”

30 Days to a Better Man Day 8: Start a Journal at The Art of Manliness

“Why Keep a Journal? Your children and grandchildren will want to read it.”

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary at Brain Pickings

“Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives.”

How to start a journal – and keep it up at The Guardian

“You don’t need to create a masterpiece; you just need to write or draw something in the journal every day to get into the swing of it.”

10 Famous Authors on the Importance of Keeping a Journal at Flavorwire

“Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it?”  - Joan Didion

Keeping a Journal Can Change Your Life at The Change Blog

“You will get better if you practice, and your journal is an ideal place to do so – no-one will laugh at clumsy phrases or failed experimental pieces, and you can write about whatever topics inspire you the most.”

Friday Link Love: Special Giveaway Edition

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Pointing you in the direction of a few giveaways of cool stationery and art supplies:

Sheaffer Giveaway – 100 Year Coin at Pen Chalet

PanPastel Giveaway at Altered Pages

LePen Giveaway at The Well-Appointed Desk

Fountain Pen Love Giveaway at JetPens

Chalkboard label giveaway at CakeMom

Beautiful pop-up thank you cards at Blushless.com

Pigma Micron Giveaway via Liza Sylvestre on Instagram

Stay tuned for our Rhodia Anniversary Giveaway in October! 

Fountain Pen Friends: Ever order ink samples?

Image courtesy of emraher on Instagram

Image courtesy of emraher on Instagram

One of the big draws to writing with a fountain pen is the ability to choose your ink. With literally hundreds of colors available from a wide variety of brands, chances are you will be able to find the exact shade of blue or violet that you’ve been searching for.

Aside from color, inks have additional properties that may be of interest to the user such as:

  • Viscosity. Some pens that have a tendency to write dry, might benefit from an ink that flows more freely and vise versa.
  • Saturation. Some inks contain much more pigment than others. This would likely be an aesthetic choice, as would be an ink’s ability to show shading.
  • Scent. Depending on the materials used to create the ink, some may emit a stronger scent than another. Some inks even add fragrance to their chemistry.
  • Waterproof. As fountain pen inks are water based and do not contain shellac, there are options for people wanting or needing their inks to be water-resistant on the page.

What is shading? Lapis on the Fountain Pen Network offers this explanation: “…shading is an easily observable increase in intensity and/or darkness in certain parts of the handwriting on paper. … The easiest place to see shading is basically on the downstrokes of your hand, where the nib usually gets more force down onto the paper. Then the line is usualy wider, slower and thus more ink gets posted onto the paper. Shading is best (not exclusively) done using a broad, especially flexy or, to a certain extent, springy nib.”

If you’d like to try some inks before you buy, check out the forums on the Fountain Pen Network to see who has what that they’d like to swap. Popular retailer that sell ink samples include Goulet Pens, Anderson Pens and isellpens.

Favorite Ink Colors: Summer of 2014

Herbin Inks

I know that many of our fountain pen friends enjoy switching out their inks to mark the changing seasons. Did you have any favorite brands/colors that you used or discovered this summer? Did you make any recent purchases that you are looking forward to using this fall?

Did you discover any new all-time-favorite ink colors at any of the recent pen shows?

Creative Prompt: What I did on My Summer Vacation

IMG_0798

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.

Doodle Power!

marianmachismo

My ferocious appetite for doodling kicked in about ten years ago when I worked in a cube. (Technically more of a triangle…) Doodling while sitting in on seemingly endless conference calls, my focus and recall was always better than if I sat there and just “paid attention.”  My belief is that the benefits of doodling are similar to any other focused meditative practice; calming both to the mind and spirit.

Image courtesy of marianmachismo on Instagram.

The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory

Doodling in a meeting? Maybe you’re just drawing inspiration

Why Doodling May Help Improve Your Memory

Doodling Increases Focus and Recall

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

Throwback Thursday: Favorite Vintage Pens

Parker 51 Fountain Pen

I love a lot of things vintage for their classic design. Classic, as in that sweet combination of simple, practical and durable.

When I first started writing with fountain pens, I wanted nothing more than to exclusively use vintage, but it never seemed to work out for me. One after another I’d buy a vintage piece (typically  on the cheap) that would work for a while then ultimately, a seal or sac would break, the nib would bend or get scratchy, or the ink would stop flowing properly. I began to see vintage pens as fragile creatures and became reluctant to invest in their restoration. As much as I love vintage, there was a part of me that didn’t like knowing that a favorite tool would be difficult to repair or replace and so I began to favor more modern designs like Lamy’s Safari, Pelikan’s M200 and the Sailor Sapporo – though I can’t tell you how many times I’ve poured over the offerings on sites like Vacumania, longing for a silver celluloid Parker Vacumatic, or a fully functional Parker 51. (Mine has a cracked front section and needs a new seal/sac) 

Do you have a favorite vintage pen? If you take a picture of it and send to to me at stephanie@rhodiadrive.com I’ll include it on our Favorite Pen Fan Photo Page.

 

Doodle Pads: What is your surface preference?

Photo: Kaweco Pencil, Rhodia R Pad and Clairefontaine Graf-It Pad

I am the type of person who will literally doodle on anything and everything because mark making is a necessary part of my human existence. When offered a preference, I’ll take a paper with a slight tooth like the Clairefontaine Graf-It tablet shown above because I find it pleasant to use with just about any type of writing or drawing implement.

Do you have a preference for the paper you like to doodle on?

 

A Brief History of Writing Implements

Writing Implements

  • 4000 BC: Clay tablets are etched with metal or bone tools
  • 3000 BC: Egyptians use reed pens on papyrus
  • 1300 BC: In Rome metal styluses are used to write on thin sheets of wax
  • 600-1800 AD: Europeans use quill pens
  • 1790: Pencils are invented in both Australia and France
  • 1800-1850: Dip pen nibs are made of steel and tipped with Iridium, Rhodium and Osmium
  • 1884: Waterman invents the fountain pen
  • 1888-1916: Ball point pens are invented
  • 1940: Ball points become popular with the British military during WWII.
  • 1945: Ball point pens are introduced to the US market
  • 1960s: Felt tip pens invented
  • 1980s-90s: Roller ball pens invented
  • 2000s: Fountain pen revival! 

Friday Link Share: July Edition!

Rhodia LeCarre

Notebooks Explained at JetPens Blog

The Oxford Comma Controversy at Writer’s Relief

Brilliant Summer Inks And Watercolors at Inkophile

The Tiniest Fountain Pen at The Well-Appointed Desk

J. Herbin Bouton D’or Ink Review at Write to Me Often

Review: Rhodia Ice No. 16 A5 at Gourmet Pens

Episode 10 of Erasable: “The Graphites of Wrath” at Woodclinched

Hey Mr. Postman! at Rad and Hungry

Rhodiarama Notebook Review at Office Supply Geek

Bic Brite Liner Grip Highlighter at A Penchant for Paper

Guilt-Free Creative Work at Daisy Yellow Blog

Art Journal Every Day: Sketching at the Beach at Balzer Designs

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Unblock the “Spiritual Electricity” of Creative Flow at Brain Pickings

Journaling Exercise: What Are You Putting Off? at Kaizen Journaling

Creative Writing Prompt: Foods you’ve loved.

carrotta_yeon

Who doesn’t love food? Whether individual ingredients, meals you’ve been served, or something you’ve cooked up on your own, today’s creative writing prompt encourages you to make lists of the foods you love. You can list favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs, or spices. Favorite brands of a particular food item, as well as the shops where you bought them may also be included.

(Avocados, white nectarines, red pears, cardamom ice cream, and uni are a few of my favorites.) 

Food memories will inevitably prompt additional memories and may even trigger emotions. (Did I ever tell you the story about my friend whose grandfather was a butcher? Years after he’d passed away, they found a long forgotten package of his hot dogs at the bottom of a freezer. Did they eat them? You bet.) 

If you’ve ever thought that writing would be beneficial to your overall health but didn’t know where to start, these various creative writing prompts are designed to help you open up to the page.

No judgments, just write.

Image courtesy of carrotta_yeon on Instagram

Friday Link Share: June Edition

Rhodia R Pads

The Traveling Muse – Inspiring Pocket Notebooks at European Paper

The Epic Refill Reference Guide: Rollerball, Gel and Ballpoints at The Well-Appointed Desk

7 Letters to Write Before You Turn 70 at The Art of Manliness

48 great examples of doodle art at Creative Bloq

Can You Call Yourself A Writer? at Thought Catalog

Rhodia Ice 80th Anniversary Notepad at Office Supply Geek

Lamy CP1: Quick Look at Ink Nouveau

5 Ways to Develop a Consistent Journaling Habit at Kaizen Journaling

Review: The Monteverde One Touch Stylus Tool Mechanical Pencil at Woodclinched

TWSBI Teases with More Eco Info and Images at FP Geeks

The Stylographic Pen of Edith Wharton at Palimpest

Rhodia Ice at A Penchant for Paper

Uni-ball Signo: A Comprehensive Guide at JetPens Blog

A Hand-Drawn Interview With the Man Behind Adobe’s Pen of the Future at Motherboard

The Illuminated Sketchbook of Stephan Schriber (1494) at The Public Domain Review

Mailbox Goodies: Pen Jewelry at Gourmet Pens

Esterbrook Dollar Pen Review at The Pen Addict

Kira introduces Duncan to the world of fountain pens.

rhodia 1

This is Kira’s 8 year old son Duncan, who in in January of this year started using a fountain pen to write thank you notes. Below, Kira recounts the story of how she first introduced Duncan to the world of fountain pens. (And Rhodia!)  Continue Readering »

BeefSkin Leather

Vince Johnson Beefskin Leather

Mancrafted in America by a US Veteran, Vince Johnson is the man behind BeefSkin Leather. Vince sent us this photo of Rhodia on his desk. This image has been added to the “On Your Desk” Rhodia fan photo page.

Mens-Bracelet-01-600x300

Vince offers some pretty cool leather accessories like this Shackle Bracelet. Be sure to keep a lookout for new products which are 100% “made in Merica”.

Friday Link Share: May Edition

augustanissss

The Pen of Maya Angelou at Palimpsest

Ink Review: J. Herbin Vert Olive at A Penchant for Paper

Autopoint Interview at Dave’s Mechanical Pencils

The 2014 Chicago Pen Show Report at Fountain Pen Geeks

You Win, Pilot Metropolitan at The Pen Addict

So I picked up a broad……..nib. at From the Pen Cup

J. Herbin Lie de Thé Ink Review at Write to Me Often

271 Year Old Manuscript Colours and Penmanship at Pentamento

Evolution of the Pencil at Pencil Revolution

How to Get Ink Off Your Fingers – Amodex or Mr. Clean at Office Supply Geek

20 Common Words You Could Be Using Incorrectly at Inc.com

This Is Why Everyone Should Write Poetry at Thought Catalog

The British Library Puts Online 1,200 Literary Treasures From Great Romantic & Victorian Writers at Open Culture

Elizabeth Gilbert: How to Find Your Creative Home at 99U

Journals from Yellowstone. ~ Jill Pendergrast at Elephant Journal

Image courtesy of  augustanissss on Instagram

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Testing a vintage Mabie Swan fountain pen with a lot of flex - on a Rhodia Pad

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Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.