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Thread: I've plateaued

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    Default I've plateaued

    So far for the last two years, I've enjoyed this hobby by buying inexpensive pens from China and what might be considered beginner pens. I've noticed that I have most of the Chinese pens there are. I don't know where to go next. I really don't care to buy pens over $100. I don't want to give up this hobby. Pens are fun.

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    Senior Member Sammyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    I would say the hobby is not about just buying pens. All of us at one time or another go through a similar thing. The hobby is about using pens. If you want to keep buying, maybe try inks for a while.

    I myself slowed down buying quite a long time ago. Now, instead of buying the latest, shiniest thing, I now only buy things that I really want. This means I appreciate what I have more (at least to me anyway). Don't think "not buying = not in the club", you're in the club because you appreciate and use fountain pens. Take some time to enjoy what you have, maybe try some different nibs, or get some special grinds on them. There are plenty of ways to to stay "active" without unnecessary accumulation

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    "A fountain pen with a bad nib is like a Ferrari with a flat tyre..." - Brian Gray, Edison pens

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Quote Originally Posted by Spideysgirl View Post
    ...I don't know where to go next. I really don't care to buy pens over $100. I don't want to give up this hobby. Pens are fun.
    Go vintage, or at least used, selecting pens that are not over $100. Your choices are vast, indeed! And get to a pen show where you will find thousands of used and vintage fountain pens (your profile fails to state your location).
    Last edited by FredRydr; March 7th, 2019 at 07:01 AM.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    What Fred said.

    Otherwise you can also bifurcate your collection towards indian pens. A little pricier than chinese ones, but still good bargains. Some models, and ebonites, are really beautiful, and very well made.

    Would it be possible for you to show us your chinese pen's collection, please?

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    Senior Member Voiren's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Do you feel you have enough pens, or are you wanting more/different ones but not knowing what they are? You could try nib modifications on the cheap nibs to have ones that write differently.

    If it is specifically collecting that you want to do more of, then yes, vintage eBay is endless. Maybe pick a brand or origin to do research on?

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    Senior Member Kaputnik's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Take a break from buying, maybe, unless you run out of inks or paper. Write, draw, maybe go to a pen show, as Fred suggests, but mainly to look around. Although I can't suggest that last one from experience. I've never been to a pen show, and even the two closest to me seem to involve more expense and hassle than I care to go through (unless I was going to be in town for something else anyway).

    But by taking a break, you can just concentrate on using your pens, as Sammyo mentions. Rotate through them, finding what's best for particular types of writing or drawing. And after a year, if you haven't bought anything new, maybe think how many cheap pens you bought in the year before that. If you might have bought ten pens at $10 each, then take another look at what's available for $100 instead, vintage or modern. Or $150, if the cheap purchases would have added up to that. I'm deliberately avoiding the mention of specific models. But while spending more money won't guarantee you a better writing experience, spending it on the right pen can.

    You're not giving up a hobby by giving yourself time to think. I haven't bought a pen in fourteen months. Mind you, my collection was already getting out of hand. But I write with my pens every day.
    "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."
    Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    There is a philosophical term called hedonic adaptation. In gist, it is the process where someone desires an object or thing because they want it or believe it will make them happy. They get the item, use it, are happy for a time, but eventually return to a baseline and begin looking for the next new thing to buy. Usually this thing is more expensive (see: the tendency to spend more and more on newer and pricier pens within this hobby),but it applies equally to simply buying more items.

    Perhaps a useful way to look at your dilemma is to imagine losing all of your pens. Imagine they are left or lost or stolen. Now go an use a pen, any of them, thinking that tomorrow it might not exist. If you knew the pens you have today would be gone tomorrow, would you use them differently? Would you take a moment to enjoy them?

    In considering where to go next, consider exploring the plateau on which you have found yourself and if those pens are enjoyable. Take joy in the pens you already have.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Quote Originally Posted by Voiren View Post
    Do you feel you have enough pens, or are you wanting more/different ones but not knowing what they are? You could try nib modifications on the cheap nibs to have ones that write differently.

    If it is specifically collecting that you want to do more of, then yes, vintage eBay is endless. Maybe pick a brand or origin to do research on?
    I've been getting into vintage more and more.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    I was also going to recommend modifying nibs and ink samples. Both can be done on the cheap and provide nearly endless things to tinker with.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    I like what Fred said up there.

    I can't possibly express to you how fun it is to have a local pen crew and culture.

    Join a pen club, or start one. The only thing better than pens are pen people! Start collecting those!

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    I get where you're at, I think. I have gotten to a point where I don't really need any other pens. I have quite a few excellent writers now. A few I cherish.

    It is great fun going to the local pen posse meetings and trying each other's pens and inks. Even if you don't buy anything else.

    I agree about ink samples. Way too easy to end up with buckets of ink when buying bottles. I already have more ink than I am likely to use in the next ten years.

    Anyway, usually samples (and even partial bottles) are given away at my pen posse meetings.

    One thing I enjoy, now, is repairing pens. New sacs, light buffing, maybe minor nib smoothing. It's quite satisfying and not insanely hard.

    There are loads of interesting new and vintage pens to try in a range of prices from $20-80 if you are so inclined. With patience you can find some pretty great deals.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Quote Originally Posted by Spideysgirl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Voiren View Post
    Do you feel you have enough pens, or are you wanting more/different ones but not knowing what they are? You could try nib modifications on the cheap nibs to have ones that write differently.

    If it is specifically collecting that you want to do more of, then yes, vintage eBay is endless. Maybe pick a brand or origin to do research on?
    I've been getting into vintage more and more.

    Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk
    There is the right way and the wrong way to get into vintage pens.

    The wrong way is to blaze blindly into ebay and start buying vintage pens. This will make you accumulate unworthy pens quickly and deplete your wallet even faster.

    The right way is to read and buy, but with the ratio of 10:1, and do what you can to connect with those who already ahead in their vintage pen collecting journey. You'll learn a lot and enjoy learning at the same time. And your vintage purchases will have a lot more hits than duds.
    - Will
    Sketches with restored vintage fountain pens: Redeem Pens

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Another way to "keep your hand in" is to learn calligraphy. Although purists tend to use dip pens for it, lots of people use italic or stub nibs on fountain pens for edged nib styles of calligraphy, and flex nibs for pointed nib styles.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    I've never seen the act of buying anything as a hobby unto itself. Then again, I don't get out much!

    Stop. Find a project that requires making marks on a surface. Use your pens. Enjoy!
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; March 8th, 2019 at 02:18 AM.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    I've never seent he act of buying anything as a hobby unto itself. Then again, I don't get out much!

    Stop. Find a project that requires making marks on a surface. Use your pens. Enjoy!
    Yes, it's not about the pens you have, but what you do with them.

    Write a postcard or letter to a friend or a family member. You'd be surprised at the reaction. I started a "slow" communication revolution with friends and family. It's mostly postcards, but it works very well. If you want to try something different - sign up to postcrossing - an online postcard club. I've been on it for two years now, and it is a good enough excuse to use pens and inks.

    Keeping a journal or creative writing can also be fun. If you don't know where to start - 5 minutes a day. Just sit down, set a timer and write whatever comes into your head. Creative writing gets better and easier the more you do it - after 4 weeks you'll be surprised at how much better it gets. If you are stuck - start with the weather outside the window, or someone standing at the bus stop. This is writing for fun. You don't have to show it to anyone or edit it if you don't want to.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    The desire to aquire is a tricky thing. Manage it cautiously, like any other impulse.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    I can certainly understand "plateauing". But loving pens isn't just about buying new ones.

    As other posters have said; you can use them to do calligraphy or write a novel or letters to friends. You can try out different inks. You might think about heading the vintage route, you might think about learning how to do basic repairs. You might start swapping nibs around, and see what kind of nibs work in your Chinese pens. You might just devote a year to researching what vintage, or German, or custom made pens (for example) appeal to you, without buying any. Or look at Indian pens (one of my loves). Or go "pen safari" in junk shops and estate sales. You might set up a pen swap to try out different pens. You might dedicate a year to new notebooks, or new accessories (pen boxes, pen holders, pen cases, cute ceramic Pelikans which hold pens in their beaks...)

    Lots of things you could do... and don't worry about "plateauing". You may (though reading this forum, I think it's unlikely) have enough pens to last your life. That's a result. Alternatively, you may eventually find another interesting area to pursue. But not buying anything for a while doesn't mean your fountain pen collectinglife is over!

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Let me throw one more thought out there.

    Instead of acquiring, say, ten inexpensive pens in the next year, for example, why not acquire a single nice pen in that same period of time?

    I appreciate and enjoy my less expensive pens, but the ones that give me the most pleasure are the ones that cost a little more. Sometimes the pleasure is from the sheer beauty of the design (like my Sailor 1911 or my Parker Vacumatics). Sometimes the pleasure is from the writing pleasure (like with my Lamy 2000).

    Treat yourself to one really nice pen that really calls to you. And enjoy the heck out of it.

    And inks. Don't go too crazy - they accumulate! - but at least they are consumable. I recently learned that you actually can finish a bottle of ink! Of course, I solved this problem by buying French ink in pouches, to refill the empty bottle, and getting two more new actual bottles of ink.

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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Quote Originally Posted by amk View Post
    I can certainly understand "plateauing". But loving pens isn't just about buying new ones.

    As other posters have said; you can use them to do calligraphy or write a novel or letters to friends. You can try out different inks. You might think about heading the vintage route, you might think about learning how to do basic repairs. You might start swapping nibs around, and see what kind of nibs work in your Chinese pens. You might just devote a year to researching what vintage, or German, or custom made pens (for example) appeal to you, without buying any. Or look at Indian pens (one of my loves). Or go "pen safari" in junk shops and estate sales. You might set up a pen swap to try out different pens. You might dedicate a year to new notebooks, or new accessories (pen boxes, pen holders, pen cases, cute ceramic Pelikans which hold pens in their beaks...)

    Lots of things you could do... and don't worry about "plateauing". You may (though reading this forum, I think it's unlikely) have enough pens to last your life. That's a result. Alternatively, you may eventually find another interesting area to pursue. But not buying anything for a while doesn't mean your fountain pen collectinglife is over!
    Already into vintage, nib swapping, repairs.

    Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: I've plateaued

    Quote Originally Posted by Spideysgirl View Post
    Already into vintage...
    Then again, that statement right there... "Into vintage" means decades and eras and companies and continents of pens!

    I honestly understand the concept of a "plateau" - it has happened to me twice in ten years, and I'm currently (mostly) in that condition. Frankly, it feels great! I don't like the mania of always having the need/urge to buy something (thankfully it's never been new stuff, anyway). Now that I have way slowed down, it allows me to both be much more focused on what I *might* like, as well as concentrate my enjoyment of the pens I do have. My biggest issue for this particular plateau is the very real desire to send pens back out into the world. It is much harder to work up the energy, do all the things (photos, decriptions, ads, etc) to sell pens to others, but that is my personal goal this year: reduce and rejoice in what I have.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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