I've been using fountain pens for a year or so. They're not perfect, but they're my favorite.
After my travels piqued my interest in stationary, I became addicted to mechanical pencils. However, I promptly discovered that these instruments are still uncomfortable to write with. My hands quickly became numb after using pencils - I have a nasty habit of gripping too hard, resulting in pain to write. I had to find something else to help me.
As I continued down the stationary rabbit hole, I became acquainted with fountain pens. At first, the thought of using one repulsed me. Why would I use something belonging to the last century? We have newer, cleaner technology, such as excellent, smooth gel pens. Why not use those?
It wasn't until months later that I purchased my first fountain pen, the Opus 88 Demonstrator. It was hard to justify spending nearly a whole high-school-worker-minimum-wage-paycheck on the pen, but I saw it was on sale for 40% off, so I bought one anyways.
What persuaded me to try out fountain pens, especially ensuing the poor first impression I've had of them? I think it resulted from my discovery of the nuances of the fountain pen. Their various options enthralled me: What nib size should I choose? Is it worth it to go for a gold nib? What is the difference between a cartridge converter pen and an eyedropper pen? What ink should I buy? How much of it do I need? There were so many questions, and I didn't have any answers. I was astounded by the subtle differences each choice brought. I wanted to learn more.
So, I went online and ordered my pen. After thorough research, I concluded that the Opus 88 Demonstrator was best for me. It had everything I could have wanted - a 2ml ink capacity, a fine steel nib, a transparent body to view the gorgeous ink inside, and an easy way to clean it. It was perfect.
When I received the pen, I was amazed by its intricacy. I did expect a quality product for the hefty price, but the solid feel of the pen was surprising. The process of filling the pen was also satisfying. This analog process felt liberating. Instead of placing a cartridge into the pen, I had to transfer ink into the tube via a pipette. This extra step added a special touch of personality to this inanimate object. It sounds silly, but it truly made me appreciate writing more.
On a more practical note of fountain pens, my handwriting improved after using them. Their shape prohibited my habitual action of pressing too hard on the page. Their easy-flowing nature didn't require hard presses to expel ink, so the adjustment was also easy. My hand cramps disappeared.
However, it wasn't all pretty. Fountain pens are messy. I was shocked by the mess created when I dropped my pen on my page. Oh, and also, they need to be cleaned regularly - many people recommend at least once every few weeks. Want to change your ink? You have to clean it again too. Cleaning your pen can take a day to finish. When I got into fountain pens, all the online resources emphasized the fulfilling parts of a fountain pen, glazing over the unpleasant cleaning process. Learning how to clean the pen correctly took quite some time, and it was not fun.
Luckily, there's a great community of fountain pen enthusiasts of all ages. I found excellent, community-driven guides to help me through the perils. Fountain pens, like many other hobbies, create opportunities for connection. Many people are passionate about these pens and can share a common bond with others.
Even though my fountain pen journey has been arduous, I would easily pick fountain pens over anything else. Besides, these instruments are also a way to express yourself. Fountain pens exhibit all parts of your handwriting, and the customizability enables experimentation to find what fits your taste. While other writing tools are excellent for convenience, they can't match the fountain pen in elegance and enjoyment. Many people into fountain pens personify their pens, and I see why - this hobby is diverse and has an endless rabbit hole of options that make every pen unique.