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Pens for Bad Hands

file0001311970669How much thought do you give to your pen?  Even if you compose primarily at the computer, writers tend to write or at least edit by hand as well.

I never gave a thought to the pens I wrote with until a few years ago when I developed problems with my hands.  When I did realize writing had become painful, I tried several ergonomic pens and did a lot of research.

What I found is that, in addition to grip issues, my primary problem had to do with the point of the pen not moving smoothly over the page.  My hands are bothered and fatigued if they need to force the pen or maintain extra pressure to avoid skipping or drag.

This is rarely a problem if you can afford to write exclusively on Clairefontaine paper (to die for!) but I write a lot.  I fill a 70-page college-rule theme book in 10-25 days.  I use theme books because I can buy them in September for as low as 20 cents a notebook and I’ll go through at least a box of them each year.

So I tried the Pilot Precise V7 and loved it, but it’s really dark on the cheaper notebook paper and made things a bit harder to read when I write in both sides.  I tried putting grippy foam sleeves on regular pens, which helped me hold better, but didn’t work as well for the drag (although a Bic Roundstik is better than most).  I tried gel pens, known for their smooth delivery.  I tried (and love) fountain pens.  There was just one problem.  Did I mention I write?  A lot?  I really need a pen to last longer than the average 27 pages I got from gel.

It took two years to find the right pens for me, especially as I prefer blue ink, but I did.  I am so devoted to my Papermate Profile pens that I ask for them for birthdays and all holidays.  I will say that Inkjoy is pretty nice, too.

If you find you are having trouble with grip or thumb, try the wide body pens.  Some people do well with the Penagain or the Ring Pen (to get an idea, put your pen between index and middle finger and grip it with thumb and ring finger.  It may feel awkward at first, but the difference in pressure points will be obvious.  I still write this way on bad hand days).  Some folks do well with Evo-Pen and Yoropen (if grip isn’t a problem).  the UGLee Pen is wild, but helps a lot if your fingers tend to slip further down as you go along.

If fatigue is the issue, sample pens until you find your balance between smooth roll, ink line, and speed (pens that skip with fast writing drive me nuts!).    If you are not suffering from damage to your joints or ligaments, but do experience writer’s cramp it could be the posture of your hand or that you grip/press too hard (or you just don’t write enough to keep the muscles limber).  Also, try a triangular foam slide-on grip or curved slide-on grips to ease the discomfort of gripping or pressing too hard.

I’m always working to balance cost and performance.  If you have found good, smooth pens that are affordable, I’d love to hear about them.

Which pen or pencil is your favorite?  What are your recommendations to other writers?

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