Amateurs versus Nerds on Writing

Ice Cream day. And falling (as opposed to scattering) dihydrogen oxide being absent I assayed the park for a constitutional, which was essentially at my wanted, model rate. I was also able to listen to an episode (partial) of “The Pen Addict” [Link] where they were discussing made-to-order pens in terms of some pros and cons that I found inadequate. Hence this morning’s commentary.

The downside of special made pens are twofold. First, if it doesn’t work right, it never will so all is wasted. Hence there is a significant probability of not only wasted monies but crushed expectations. Not as badly as a child who becomes a justicer or used car salesman but close. The second is that if it works and works well it will be a great disappointment in future when you discover it cannot be replaced and when it dies, as everything except perhaps protons must, you have lost a valuable part of your existence. Rather like having a child discorporate before you. So getting a special made pen is rather a bigger gamble than the podcast protagonists indicate.

This consideration also led me to consider – again – the nature of NERD STEM writing. Writing is, and continues to be, a crucial and fundamental part of my daily activity. It is that way for most of my colleagues. And there are some characteristics that I have noted. 

  • Those who write as part of their professional activity eschew ballpoint pens.
  • Most use some sort of gel or roller ball pen but the truly serious use fountain pens and almost all of those eschew cartridges for bottle.
  • Pen appearance is the least important feature; comfort of writing, ease of mindlessness, and inking are crucial. 
  • Quality of pen is important, as measured by longevity and reliability. The ideal pen should last a lifetime. 
  • Ink is selected primarily for its mechanics – flow, cleaning – and optical contrast. Brightly colored inks are almost only used for grading student papers, not for serious writing.
  • Notebooks are gauged on how well they take writing with the preferred pen (or pencil in a few cases.) 
  • Serious writing is first done by hand and then transferred to computer. Some write complete manuscripts, others outlines only, before transferring and some delegate the transfer to students or staff (if trusted.) 

Probably more but I am sagging. Selah. 

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