Journal writing is personal and unique to the individual, as is the choosing of one’s writing instrument. There has been some argument over whether pens or pencils are the superior tool for journal writing. While both get the job done, there are pros and cons to consider based on what your journaling purposes are.
Pens and pencils are equally sufficient for the purposes of journal writing. However, pens typically offer a smoother feel while writing (depending on the pen type) and are more likely to stand the test of time. Pencils, on the other hand, allow for editing and erasing, and when used with a setting spray, can potentially last as long on the page as some pen ink.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of pens and pencils, it’s important to get to the bottom line: what are your purposes when journaling? The reason and way in which your journal will directly affect which instrument you choose to utilize.
Are you hoping to pass down your journal to future generations of family members? Do you hope to preserve any passages for yourself for the sake of remembrance or as a form of art installation? If you have any intentions to preserve and archive your journals, you will want to consider an instrument whose materials are long-lasting, do not destroy or alter paper, and can withstand unique temperatures/excessive handling.
If you have no intentions of preserving, archiving, sharing or saving any of your journaling, then the type of instrument you use does not matter quite as much. For your purposes, you might like to use a writing tool that feels comfortable to hold, feels pleasurable to write with, and which does not leave stains on your hands.
Who doesn’t love a good Number 2 pencil? Pencils are nostalgic, they are a remembrance of our school days as children (prior to the use of tablets.) Pencils have been used in differing iterations for centuries and will continue to be used for a long time still. They are typically made of graphite or charcoal and can be used in a multitude of ways, and allow for correction and real-time editing. Here are some pros and cons of journaling with a pencil:
Pens are often the go-to tool for journaling because they feel so dang good to write with! Not only that, but the use of ink was been formulated in our minds to represent writings that are permanent, important and official. This kind of vibe can install a sense of purpose in your journal writing! Here’s all the things to consider when using a pen for journaling:
In the event that you are looking to preserve your words like they are made of stone, consider using a Micron Archival Pen, like the Sakura Black Pigma (.45mm). These micron archive pens are ideal for journaling (and general every day purpose writing and signing as well.) They are made of felt tips, so they promise less smudging, and use a quality, waterproof ink that is both chemical and fade resistant (and quick-drying!) One pack of these will run you less than $10 (averaging $3-4 per pen!)
The sky is the limit when it comes to your journal. You can write in pen, pencil, paint, invisible ink. It’s your journal! Some people find switching between using pens and pencils irksome, due to the displeasing feeling of inconsistency. However, some people don’t give the slightest hoot! If that’s you, mix it up baby!
If you like writing in pen, but want to add a little color and flare to your journaling, try using colored pencils to create backgrounds. Use the colored pencils first, drawing pictures, outlines or coloring an entire page, and then use your pen to write over it. Sometimes the addition of color can also help to express your current mood or emotions, and that in turn can really enhance the experience and effectiveness of your writing.
Both pens and pencils have their perks when journal writing and neither are necessarily superior to the other. The choice to use a pen or pencil is entirely up to you! If you want to use a tool that won’t drag and bleed onto your palms, you might opt for using a pencil! If you want something more permanent and long-lasting, you’ll probably want to use a pen!
At the end of the day what’s important isn’t so much the instrument used to journal write, but the act of journaling itself. However, if your instrument of choice makes or breaks your writing, we hope we’ve given you enough pros and cons to make an educated decision. Now grab that writing utensil and journal away!
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