NaNoWriMo – My Digital Tools

So far, my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) journey continues as we come to the middle of November. My note taking, outlining, and general scribbling continues with the analogue tools I wrote about last week. How has the actual writing (as well as a bit more planning) occurred? With a few digital tools, which I thought I would share below.

Planning and Outlining

MindNode
Although I should no doubt use the technique more, I do find mind mapping incredibly useful. In the past I have used iThoughts, however for 6 months or so, it has been MindNode on iOS, and MindNode Pro on the Mac.

Specifically in relation to NaNoWriMo, MindNode has kept organised the general outline of the four overarching plot lines to the story, which I find particularly useful for referring back to in relation to names and relationships.

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The initial map itself was constructed just prior to beginning writing, however it is now largely an evolving document which develops alongside the story. I’ve found it extremely helpful when adding components, to then sit and review the story as a whole, as it is outlined on the map.

You will also see a timeline running across the top of the map which I have created on a separate node, which will most likely be split into a second node directly below the current one as the story proceeds and the timeline lengthens.

Why MindNode? It’s simplicity is the main drawcard.

Tapping a node allows the creation of child node by pressing the ‘+’ icon which appears, with a double tap to edit text. The nodes can be ‘folded’ down or expanded; detached to create another node, or attached to an existing node by tapping, holding and dragging. The same can be achieved through the contextual menus.

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Of course there are the usual style and formatting options for the background, text and nodes themselves, with a ‘smart layout’ toggle which, if on, will align nodes and branches uniformly throughout the map.

Although not it’s intended purpose, I’ve also created a ‘location map’ …map, if you will, which has been perfect for getting my head around where the characters have been, currently are, or are going to, geographically in the story.

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It does not have the advanced attachment options of say iThoughts, however I simply don’t require those. In organising my ideas, it is the content of what I get down, plain and simple. Oh, and I do love the outline view.

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Syncing is through iCloud Drive or Dropbox, with exporting options including Freemind and OPML file formats, along with text, PDF and image formatting.

Drafts 4
Although iOS only, I have been using Drafts for some time, recently upgrading to version 4.

For NaNoWriMo, it has been my go to app to use for quick notes, without needing to pull out my Field Notes and a pen. Syncing to my iPad mini provides some scope for expanding further on these notes on a larger screen if I need to, however I rarely do this.

Currently in my ‘NaNo Notes’, I have a few thoughts around the plot, a couple of character names I had thought of, and some ideas for an elevator pitch, which only recently came up after a friend asked what the book was about, and I found myself somewhat disjointed in my resulting explanation. A catchy (I think?) tag line rounds out the note.

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For those familiar with the Drafts app, there are virtually endless actions that can be applied to any note, with many more to be found on developer Agile Tortoise Drafts Action Directory.

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As you can see from the screenshots, for anyone wishing to produce longer pieces, there is also Markdown support (with specific keys in the additional keyboard row for this purpose). At the current time, my NaNoWriMo needs only require a robust, reliable note taking app, and Drafts fits the bill nicely.

Writing

Ulysses III
All the planning and outlining in the world won’t get you very far in this challenge unless you get the words down – and a good few at that. For this, I have used Ulyssess III for Mac, which is described thus by developer, The Soulmen:

Ulysses lets you focus when you need to concentrate. It keeps all your texts neatly stuffed in its intuitive library. With a few clicks, Ulysses can create beautiful documents from your manuscripts: PDFs, web pages, even iBooks-ready ePubs. With its simple, clutter-free interface, it will turn work hours into fun time. And mere thoughts into powerful stories. If you love to write, and write a lot, Ulysses is made for you.

Indeed I have found Ulysses III to be a great tool for getting the 25k+ words down I have managed to write so far.

So, with Scrivener already on my Mac, why Ulysses? To be fair, I have not really written anything of length as yet in Scrivener (a widely known and well-loved app for many an author – not that I consider myself one), so I cannot really compare the two.

Through a sponsorship of NaNoWriMo, Ulysses offered a 30 day free trial of the app, with some email encouragement throughout the month, and a free extract from author David Hewson’s book Writng a Novel with Ulysses III.

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Given the enormity of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I was looking for something with enough structure to keep things organised, yet the simplicity to allow me to just write – a lot. As far as I am aware, Scrivener may be a little more feature packed and powerful, however Ulysses has been spot on for what I have required, namely:

  • Chapter and scene separation through separate ‘sheets’
  • Highly intuitive organisation of folders, files and keyword tags
  • Focused, full screen writing
  • Usual grammar and spell checking
  • Statistics, including word count and reading time etc
  • Effective grouping of scenes with key words so individual plot lines can be worked on in isolation, despite being mixed throughout the book
  • Markdown support
  • Exporting to other MD supported apps and also as ePub / iBooks
  • Syncing through iCloud or Dropbox via the ‘Add External Source’ option

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I have also written both this post, and last week’s on Ulysses, to try out some of the features more specific to a blogging, which has also been a great success. Incidentally, the insertion of a web link via copying a URL to the clipboard, highlighting a word in the post, and simply pasting to finish the link is a little magical.

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Ulysses is indeed a fantastic app for writing, and my initial plan to purchase it as a reward for finishing NaNoWriMo looks on track so far. I encourage you to check it out.

A final word from David Hewson:

Writing’s hard. Software should make it less so. Ulysses really does.

Daedalus Touch
Daedalus is the iOS companion app to Ulysses, also by The Soulmen, who describe it as The World’s Sexiest Writing App, and Simple, Powerful and Flat Out Georgeous.

True? Well, it is strikingly minimal writing app, with an interface considerably different to many you will find on the market. The app is designed as a series of “paper stacks” rather than document lists, and, upon entering a stack, navigation is then by swiping from L to R, or the reverse between each page.

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Pages are not limited to a standard size, and will infinitely increase in length the more you write. To retreat back out of the stacks, a simple two finger pinch is all it takes. Daedalus has an additional, customisable extra keyboard row, containing a central area which, upon tapping, will scroll to the end of the sheet. A nice touch.

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Due to my insecurity with iCloud at the moment, setting up Dropbox syncing with Ulysses was a straight forward task, and has worked flawlessly since day one.

Having had Daedalus on my iPad and iPhone for some time, I guess I really just needed a reason to give it a good run, and I’ve been impressed so far. It has been the go to app for racking up 500–1000 words over my lunchtime coffee, or writing at the kitchen bench nearer my family, rather than being stuck at my desk.

Reviewing and Editing

As you’d expect, a good deal of editing occurs as I go along, however given the somewhat larger word count target than I am used to, there are times when I simply need to continue writing, and the editing and revision suffers a little.

iBooks
I am a firm believer in the reviewing or re-reading work in a different format to that in which it was originally written, as I find this allows me to pick up errors or parts needing revision a little easier. For blog posts I find Marked 2 a great way to review what I have written.

For NaNoWriMo purposes, I have found that exporting the book from Ulysses (an extremely easy task) to iBooks, allows me to not only view what I have written in ‘book’ format, but more easily pick up such errors, and I have the ability to highlight and take notes in the margin, which are then tabulated in the contents section of the book, and it is a simple tap to jump back to the relevant section.

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Though I cannot edit the text directly as I read it, I have found it quite easy to edit on my Mac with my iPad in front of me showing the required revisions in iBooks.

The Hardware

There is not a great deal to say here, apart from mentioning the above Mac apps are used on a late 2012 Mac mini; the iOS apps on my iPad mini with retina display (now referred to as the iPad mini 2) or the iPhone 6, which have all performed flawlessly, and continue to do everything I ask of them. When writing on my iPad mini, I also more often than not use the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard mini.

Conclusion

So there you have it. My NaNoWriMo ‘digital tools’ both for Mac and iOS. You would have a strong argument in saying I was a little crazy when undertaking this challenge to try new apps as well, however I think it says a lot about the simplicity and functionality of MindNode, Ulysses III, and Daedalus, that things have run so smoothly.

In fact, I am now quite confident these tools will see me through the next 25,000 words to the end.

Lets just hope the creative side of my brain will do the same.

Recommended Reading: Raw Materials – Matt Gemmell

My favourite writer on the internet is Matt Gemmell, by far. How does a former software engineer who now writes full-time write so well? Significant talent and untold amounts of effort and hard work most likely play a large part.

61e6rBgR4sL._SL1000_Gemmell has recently published an eBook titled Raw Materials, comprising selected essays from his personal blog, updated with authors notes and includes an additional piece written specifically for this collection. After picking up (well…downloading) the book on the day of release, a rainy Saturday seemed perfect to proceed from cover to digital cover.

Many of these intensely personal essays recount memories of a childhood perhaps not unlike many others. Where the real power lies in this collection is not from the content alone, rather, the feelings which inevitably surface as you read. Some may make you squirm a little; perhaps say “ah…yes!”; some may change your entire mood – and to me, that is great writing.

Although the specific events, family situation and upbringing described in these stories could not have been further from my own, similar feelings, emotions and fears were (are) all there, somewhere, though manifest differently in adulthood.

Gemmell sure knows they are still there, as he writes in Paths:

And if you glance over your shoulder, well… you won’t see anything. But your own memories are there nonetheless.

Believe me, many times during Raw Materials, you will find yourself glancing over your shoulder. Not intentionally, but inadvertently, sometimes surprisingly so. With these glances come fear (Staying Afraid); sensory engagement through smells of “dryness and age” (Stories); and innocent optimism where your wish might just come true – just this once (Wishes). Then there is the physical or emotional pain we all feel and recall all too readily (Relative).

It’s. All. There. And this man knows exactly how to write about it. In an utterly compelling way. Every time.

It matters not that our childhoods were markedly different, a decade or so apart, on opposite sides of the world. We are not so different Matt and I, nor are we different to countless others who grow up with memories so indelibly burned into our consciousness (or subconsciousness as the case may be).

Those memories are always there, whether we allow ourselves to engage them or not.

I highly recommend this short but powerful collection of essays. They are written with such clarity and precision, you cannot help but join Gemmell on his “travels” back to those moments where these very memories were made. It is also inevitable your thoughts will turn to the end product of such memories. You. Today.

Years whip by when your back is turned, leaving you standing on familiar streets that are nevertheless unsettlingly different. We all have troubling experiences hidden inside, and they shape us more than we realise. The news brings us fresh fears every day. The future is uncertain, and it’s coming whether you like it or not.

Authors notes – Whispers

Raw Materials is available now from Amazon, though I’d suggest first visiting mattgemmell.com, adding it to your bookmarks or RSS feed, then clicking through to Amazon for your copy of the collection (AUD$3.72).

Matt Gemmell’s debut novel Changer will be published later this year, and if there were already a queue, I would be in it.

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesdaya weekly link to posts of interest from around the web:

Study Hacks
Although specifically referring to mathematical proofs, there are enough hints here for broader applications. My favourite? Idea 1 – sometimes we just need to be specific, have clear aims, and deal with it:
How to Read Proofs Faster: A Summary of Useful Advice

1Password for iOS Tip of the Day
Along came this little gem in my Twitter feed recently – swipe right on 1Password (iOS) entries to copy the password. A cracker. It appears many others needed a little reminding about this great feature I was unaware of:
1Password Status

The Sweet Setup
As someone with less than 12 months Mac experience under my belt, tips like these come in very handy:
Quick Tip: Enable Hot Corners on OS X

Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Nothing wrong with a little tech, but where are the pens and ink? Why here for starters:
Diamine Ochre ink review

Hastily Written
Lately I’ve been drawn to the red/orange/brown spectrum of ink colours, however on the opposite side of the rainbow, am also in need of a new blue. Food for thought here:
Ink Drop: July 2014

Office Supply Geek
If a little colour in a notebook is your thing, Brian takes a look at the turquoise Rhodiarama hard cover. Same Rhodia quality – just a little louder:
Rhodiarama Notebook Review

The Atlantic
Did you read my previous post on penmanship? Maybe a slightly different tangent from such an idea (which by the way wasn’t written this quickly):
How to Write 225 Words Per Minute With a Pen

Still Drinking
Of course punctuation matters, however as much as we think it does? Need I say more:

English is a mutt of a language, inheriting ludicrously contradictory spellings and grammars from other languages.

Nobody. Understands. Punctuation.

Barista Magazine Blog
I’m all for someone having a stab at the often elusive “where did this originate?” – perhaps the Dutch Traders in the South Pacific were the lucky souls that invented out of necessity. Although this low-acidity brew is not new, and something I have written about before, I’m interested to see how the trend has caught on in the modern Cafè scene. This series might be one to follow:
Completely Cold brew: Part 1 of a series

2013 Gift Guide and Wishlist

Everywhere you look at the moment there are numerous Christmas gift guides, from software to hardware, tools and trinkets, things to eat, drink, watch or listen to. Oh, and everything in between. It is the time of year for it after all.

Writing a gift guide that doubles as a wishlist (Wishguide?), there is always a chance someone close to me may read it and … I think you get the idea. Why create a list if I can’t cross off a few items for myself along the way?

Outlined below are groups of items aligning with the categories in which I post on this site. Hopefully there is something here that interests you, or perhaps will suit someone you are buying for. Away we go…

Thoughts

A difficult category to easily slot products into, however a check of my Goodreads “To Read” bookshelf reveals a couple of titles.

On Writing by Stephen King | $11.83 Kindle Edition |

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A favourite author of mine through my late teens and early twenties, and widely acknowledged as one of the best. I have seen many positive reviews of this insight into the creative writing process from such a master of fiction. The Goodreads description:

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it – fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell | $9.99 Kindle Edition |

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I must admit to knowing less about this particular offering from Gladwell, however enjoyed immensely his work titled Blink. Whether or not you agree with what he has to say (and many don’t), there is little doubt your own thoughts will be challenged by Gladwell’s books. Again, a little background from Goodreads:

David and Goliath draws on the stories of remarkable underdogs, history, science, psychology and on Malcolm Gladwell’s unparalleled ability to make the connections others miss. It’s a brilliant, illuminating book that overturns conventional thinking about power and advantage.

Improvement

There are any number of things I could list here, however the focus is on my system for tracking tasks and projects.

Omnifocus for Mac | $84.99 AUD Mac App Store |

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Omnifocus is the ultimate App for personal productivity and task management. I have been using Omnifocus for both iPhone and iPad over the past year or so without the “Godfather” – that is, Omnifocus for Mac.
The overall App count on our new Mac mini is slowly building (especially after the recent Black Friday App store sales), however at $84.99 AUD, Omnifocus for Mac is a significant investment that will certainly be made – I simply haven’t done so yet.

Omnifocus Premium Posts | $67.00 Asian Efficiency Store |

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What I believe would be the perfect companion to the above recommendation comes from Aaron and Thanh at Asian Efficiency. Honestly, with the exception of reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, you need look no further for some fantastic advice on productivity in general, and more specifically, Omnifocus. The resources (most of which are completely free) these guys have put together to improve how you use Omnifocus are superb. Access to the Premium Posts which includes bonus content can be purchased for $67.00 through the Asian Efficiency Store.

Coffee

Porlex Hand Grinder | $65.00 AUD |

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Why a hand grinder? Apart from the obvious convenience when used for travel, I plan on purchasing a hand grinder to use when brewing single origin coffees at home. Much of my brewing is done with the Hario V60, and I often use this in the evenings, with the electric grinder not a great option when some in the household are asleep.

I have also researched a little into the Hario Skerton model as well, however a couple of reviews seem to suggest the Porlex may shade the Hario in performance. Another plus being the Porlex is sold through my green bean supplier Ministry Grounds, and it may not be too difficult to accidentally click “add to cart” at some point in one my future orders.

Hario Scales | $61.00 AUD |

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As I mentioned above, much of my home coffee brewing these days is done with the V60, requiring a fairly accurate ratio of water to coffee, as determined by weight.

Although the digital scales I currently use are adequate, there is one major problem in that the auto-off interval is too short. Not so great when aiming for a specific target weight to have the scales go blank and obviously reset to zero when turned back on. I have managed to get around this by constantly pressing and releasing the scales in between pours to keep them “active”, however this is obviously less than ideal.

The inbuilt timer on the Hario model will also come in very handy.

Tools

Kaweco Ice Sport Fountain Pen | $24.95 AUD |

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A fountain pen was always going to make this list. For years I have used my faithful Mont Blanc Meisterstuck, however given its value (both sentimental and material), I have always been a little nervous carrying and using it as an everyday pen. Obviously my preference for an everyday pen still runs towards something I enjoy using, which is likely to be a fountain pen.

The choice here, a Kaweco Ice Sport in green. Something that is great value for money, has excellent build quality, and in my opinion looks pretty good too. At this price point, my mind would be at ease including this in my everyday carry.

Noodlers Ink – Apache Sunset | $22.95 AUD |

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For many years I have relied on the Mont Blanc Black and Blue-Black inks in my fountain pen. In recent times this pen has been increasingly used for reviewing and marking up documents, where a different colour is useful to easily see any markings or notations on the page (standard white copy paper with black text).

Why not go bright with a colour that will really stand out! This particular Noodlers Ink is a brilliant, rich orange – somehow I don’t think it will be hard to see my notes written in Apache Sunset.

Twelve South Hi-Rise Stand for iPhone / iPad mini | $34.95 AUD |

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Twelve South produce high quality accessories for Apple products, and are available in the Apple Stores or on-line.

This particular stand, which requires a small amount of assembly, accommodates a Lightning charger and is adjustable to allow for having a case on your iPhone or iPad. This is a stylish way of lifting the device up off the desk – very handy for using my iPad mini as a second screen whilst sitting at my Mac, and makes a perfect hands-free face time accessory.

Bonus Item

Yamazaki 12 Yr Old Japanese Whisky | $130.00 AUD |

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This one is a bolt from the blue. I am certainly no expert on golden liquid of the single malt variety, however scotch has always been my drink of choice – to the tune of relaxing with one or two on weekends my maximum intake.

There has been a bit of a buzz around Japanese whisky for a little while now, and I am keen to sample what is on offer. Why this particular maker? No specific reason, however why not start at the beginning, with Japan’s first malt whisky distillery. Australian site World of Whisky provides a little background:

Yamazaki is a Japanese whisky distillery located in Shimamoto, Osaka, owned by Suntory. In 1923, Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Suntory and the father of Japanese whisky, built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in the Vale of Yamazaki. Using copper pot stills, the Yamazaki distillery was the first of its kind outside of Scotland. The distillery’s location on the outskirts of Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto offered pure waters, diversity of climate and high humidity—the ideal environment for the maturation of good whisky.

The taste? Described as initially dry and herbal, becoming fruitier with smoke. According to this article in Gear Patrol, I may be onto a good thing. Cheers!

Conclusion

That concludes the Gift Guide / Wishlist for this year, and provides a little more insight into my interests and spare time pursuits. If there is nothing specifically on the list that interests you, hopefully it has at least provided a few areas to look into for similar products closer to the mark.

Most of all, best wishes to you, valuable reader. I truly appreciate the time you take to come and read these posts.

Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year to you and your family.

Uni-ball Jetstream – Good, but not the best

More than a little discussion, both written and verbal ensued after the publication of this Wirecutter article concluding the “best pen” (read – “the best affordable pen around for taking notes at school or a meeting”) is the Uni-ball Jetstream. In addition, my wife had recently started using one and absolutely loves it. The article itself was published in September this year, and upon reading it and hearing my wife’s feedback, I began to wonder why the 4 pack I purchased at the beginning of the year remains unused. Does the Jetstream have a place in the list of pens I prefer to use? The short answer is no, though it would seem reasonable to explain why.

According to the reviewers in the article:

For an affordable pen that writes smoothly; dries quickly and indelibly; won’t bleed, skip or feather; and has the best ink flow of any non-fountain pen; grab yourself the uni-ball Jetstream. Available in a number of sizes and colors, it’s the best affordable pen around for taking notes at school or a meeting.

As you will see, the “pen pedigree” of those utilised by The Wirecutter to reach the final choice is without question, many of whom I follow on the internet for their opinions on these very matters:

It’s worth noting the segment of use we are talking about here. This is an everyday pen – one that you don’t mind lending and ultimately losing if it comes to that. An office supply type pen – not your bargain basement sub one dollar pen, but a cheap one nonetheless, at under five dollars. We are clearly not comparing this pen to those in medium to high price ranges.

The Pens

From left: Uni-ball Jetstream, Uni-ball Signo 207, Pilot G-2

From left: Uni-ball Jetstream, Uni-ball Signo 207, Pilot G-2

For a reasonable comparison, I picked up a blue rollerball ink 0.7mm Jetstream and a couple of other retractable gel-ink pens, the Pilot G–2, and Uni-ball Signo 207, spending a few weeks rotating between each. The conclusion? I prefer the Signo 207 over both the G–2 and the Jetstream – for very different reasons. So is the Jetstream really the best pen? The answer is probably yes as a recommendation for others – just not for myself.

My Use Case

A little background on my use first. This varies greatly depending upon what any particular day brings. The office I work in utilises a “paperless” approach, in that much of what I hand write is an initial or signature on the few pieces of paper which are produced and come across my desk to sign. Longer form writing occurs with meetings and telephone calls, for I am not capable of typing quickly enough to capture the necessary information electronically for either.

The paper? This varies between your standard copy paper for any printed documents (initialed or signed); a cheap office supply spiral bound A4 ruled notebook (telephone calls and general scratchpad); an extra-large ruled Moleskine Cahier (idea or ‘spark’ journal); a Moleskine Large Squared Softcover notebook (meetings); and finally, a Field Notes notebook – currently the Night Sky Edition (for random thoughts or anything else).

Pen Choices

As with most of us, my choice of pen is based on numerous factors. The look (overall aesthetics, design, colour) of the pen; the functional fit and feel in my hand (overall weight, distribution, thickness and length); the performance (ink flow, smoothness, skipping, boldness of line, feathering, bleeding etc); suitability for the variety of paper types I typically use in a day; and whether or not I look forward to using the pen – does it make me want to pick it up when I have something to write.

Listing the criteria above is a curious endeavour. Do I have a list of check boxes for each of the above in determining whether or not I like a particular pen? Not at all. For someone who is a little obsessed about what they write with, you would think this would be the case, however it is probably only when writing about what I write with that the delineation of these characteristics becomes more relevant.

Overall it is a fairly simple process:
– That’s a good-looking pen;
– It does or doesn’t feel right;
– It does or doesn’t write well, and has or hasn’t bled, feathered or smudged;
– Has it sufficiently dried by the time I need to turn the page

The Outcome

After already letting the cat out of the bag above, you know the Jetstream doesn’t come up trumps for me.

As far as looks go, firstly, I find the G–2 to be a pretty ugly pen, whereas both the Jetstream and Signo 207 are quite well designed, with the Jetstream probably looking a little more “premium” overall. In considering the feeling in my hand, here the G–2 does win out. I have always preferred a slight taper where my index finger sits on the grip section of the barrel. Both the Jetstream and the Signo 207 have no taper and the Jetstream appears to have a slight increase in thickness nearing the lower end of the grip (as an aside – is that an un-taper, de-taper or even an a-taper? – anyway, it gets ever so slightly thicker). So the winner here is the G–2.

One other issue I found with both the G–2 and Jetstream was the refill moved around in the barrel a little at the tip – something which constantly annoys me about a pen when it occurs. As for the writing, I will let the images from my Moleksine Cahier do the talking here:

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Conclusion

Although I have compared three different pens over the course of the past two weeks and collected my thoughts as indicated above, personally, I don’t really think there is a clear winner. I can certainly see (and mostly agree with) where the conclusions drawn in The Wirecutter article are derived, and for most I think the Jetstream would be a fine pen. I would also have no problem recommending the Signo 207 if asked (though I rarely am). The only one of the group I would not recommend is the G–2 – not for long form writing anyway.

To summarise why, firstly, apart from the shape of the pen which suits my hand and writing style, there are not too many redeeming features I see in the G–2. The Signo 207 and Jetstream are fairly close, however I cannot write for any length of time with the Jetstream, which I believe relates more to my style of writing then the pen itself. I tend to press heavily when writing and use quite an angled pen position, so without a fairly heavy ink flow, things feel pretty scratchy pretty quickly. In thinking back, this is no doubt why I have always used rollerball and gel ink type pens, along with the fountain pen I wrote about in a previous post.

This combination of writing style and the Jetstream do not quite mesh, and it often felt as though it was too much effort to push the pen across the page. Notably, this improved markedly with better quality paper and lighter pressure, though the paper I use is not always of this quality, and that is not the way I write. The Jetstream also produced a much finer line than the other two, so it could be suggested the 1.0mm may be a better fit, however I recall using one a little while ago and finding the same issue.

On most occasions when the three pens were available in front of me, the default selection was the Signo 207 – it was the one I wanted to pick up, and hence was the winner in this comparison. There is always one caveat to reviews or comparisons such as these, and that is to remember this is my perspective, based on my writing style and use case – yours may be very different.

My advice? Pick up a couple for yourself and give them a run (I’d go with the Signo 207 and the Jetstream in varying sizes). It certainly won’t break the bank, and you may find yourself with the best pen – for you anyway.

Me? I am still on the journey to find mine, although in the mean time I will revert back to my trusty Retro 51 Stealth Tornado and Kaweco Sport.