Ballpoint for Travel and Office

Maybe you don’t care what you write with–anything at all will do. Chewed wood pencil, give-away ballpoint. If you aren’t fussy, you probably always have a pen with you. I’m fussy.  Fountain pen? Perfect for note-taking and some sketching, but not always good on airplanes. (Yes, I have a ballpoint with a valve for air travel.)

Ballpoint? Reliable and easy. Except I’m not a gel pen fan, want a fine point that doesn’t skid across the page, can cross-hatch without creating a mess, and doesn’t glob and smear.

What I was looking for (this time; I am a pen hoarder collector.) What I really wanted was one pen that worked in the office, and can be tossed in my bag and travel with me. It needs to be light, dependable, easy to use and have refills. Because I am a collector, it also needs to be aesthetically pleasing and feel good while writing.

On Jetpens (an addictive site I will choose over Pinterest any day), I found a Midori ballpoint.

It has a brass cover, a stainless steel end that allows you to post the top of the pen, and a place for a keyring or a lanyard, if you like to wear your pen.

On the aesthetic side, the pen itself is wood, which will darken with age. It’s small, but light, which makes it comfortable to write with. And yes, it is refillable. The refill comes in fine (only, so far) and in black (only, so far.)

The clip holds it in my Travelers Notebook, so it doesn’t get lost in my bag, and the quality of both the pen and the ink is wonderful. No smearing, no globbing.

It’s an inexpensive pen ($19.90) with an inexpensive refill ($1.60). How does it write?

It puts down a smooth, even line and can be used for cross-hatching and tiny lettering. It’s a crisp ink and holds up well. You can see the sample that shows other pens and a pencil for comparison.

Are you a Travelers’ Notebook fan? So are millions of others. I’ll write about that in a separate post.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, writing program developer, and creativity coach

Theme Thursday #5: 6/11/09

This weeks theme is pen and notebook reviews, with a bit of thrift store fashion and studio-mixed ink tossed in to make it interesting.

Last week, I introduced Pen Addict. Little did I know he has another blog,



Notebook Addict. In today’s blog he quotes Murderface and his Reciprocral Crap Exchange on Quo Vadis notebooks, which I mentioned last week. Both of these writers have a clear, easy-to-understand manner and keep you from buying lots of stuff you don’t need and just the fine stuff you must have.

You might think a cat of an impossible color is a fashion site, but the blog’s author is writing a book and the blog contains excellent links for writers. The author does make the most of her thriftshop expertise, which makes for some great pictures. She’s a Zimbabwean living in New Zealand, so don’t skip this blog.

Unposted reviews pens he’s used, but he also mixes his own inks. The link is to the contents of his backback—pens, notebooks and notes. I’m relieved that I’m not alone in taking three or four pens with me as well as a journal or two when I leave the house.

Theme Thursday is a post I create every week for creative play. You can join, too. Simply post three (or more) links on a topic you are an expert on or one that delights you. You can post them on your blog and leave a link in the comments.

Below are previous Theme Thursdays.

Creative Play 6/4/09

CreativePlay 5/21/09

Creative Play 5/14/09,

Creative Play 5/7/09

—Quinn McDonald is a life- and certified creativity coach. She teaches people how to write and give presentations. She also  manages four journals that travel the world.