My quirky love affair with colored pens

If you looked at my office, you’d swear I’d never heard the word “organize” in my entire life. It’s a wreck–partially due to aborted efforts TO organize in the past few months. Yet, when you see my notebooks, my journals, calendar, to-do list, or any other writing, you’ll notice some organization there…by color.

I don’t know why, but any time I write, I have to switch colored pens around and color-code just about everything. More than that, I am compelled to use my colors as close to “rainbow order” as possible. So when I start a new journal, the first color is red (or dark red), moving down the line to the oranges, yellows, greens, blues, violets, and then some semblance of browns or pinks back around to red.

I have done this for the longest time. I can’t figure out my color obsessions when it comes to pens.

Maybe it’s a quirk to make writing fun.

Ooh, which pen will I use today? Today’s lime green day–whoo hoo!

(Actually it ended up being dark green day, but you get the idea).

More than that, when I start losing pens because they run out of ink, I just cover the gaps by going to the next pens…and then I go shopping.

Some gel pens suck, and some are tolerable but bleed badly. I’ve probably tried them all.

The biggest set I’ve gotten probably had 14 or 16 different colors in it.

This week, I found a box of 120 at Office Depot.

Basic color, swirl, metallic, sparkle, neon…


Yeah, I might’ve overdone it a bit. But it was so affordable…

And all gel pens, for crying out loud. Happy happy joy joy.

I can’t stand rollerball pens anymore because they gum up so badly (though out of desperation I’d use ’em once in a while and then relegate them to “borrow-worthy” status). Felt pens bleed through too much and weren’t useful for school anyway.

But yes, though I love my colors, they must be gel ink pens. I think they became widespread and cool when I was in high school. I was always envious of the kids in school who could get them.

I had my cheap rollerball ones. You know, the ones you loan out when somebody asks to borrow a pen? Well, they always came back. If anybody asked and all I had was a gel, good luck getting that sucker back.

When I started working and making my own money, I put all the rollerball in mom’s pen cup and bought gel pens.

I love the feel of the gel pen on paper, it’s smooth and helps me get the thoughts out fast. But the colors. Oh, I love those colors, and this set had some repeats, but I did what I always end up doing when I have too many pens to take out for one bag…

Re-organize by color.

Seriously, took at least half an hour to re-sort the colors and the types of ink into separate areas so I can use them in order.

I do focus on the silly things.

I really wish I could stop doing that, but I think I do because it lets me see what all I’ll have to work with in the next few weeks/months/a year(?). Some pens I can tell will be too damned light to use for basic writing, but I can set them aside as highlighting pens. And some would work great on my black journal paper, too light for the white pages…with the others I’ve already bought.

I love using the pastel/metallic ones for black paper, though admittedly it can be damned hard to find good ink that shows up the way it’s supposed to…still, looks great (and the only time I like pastels, really).

Yay. I’m using those black acid free pages for poetry, should I stop correcting and re-writing those little works a trillion times and just put ’em in my special book.

And don’t get me started on how many different types of notepads, composition books, binders, etc. I have to write in for different reasons…

But for now, I still have an ever-dwindling supply of pens from my original group to use up–just a red, lime green, green, dark green, blue-green, blue, and purple (I’ve noticed the colors on the left side of the spectrum seem to run out the fastest…maybe it’s the ink quality, but its consistent).

120 colors to use…and in order depending on type.

It’s going to be fun using them all, writing and writing and writing…

Oh heavens, wish I’d gotten them before NaNoWriMo–maybe I’d have gotten involved this year with these pens in my arsenal.

At least my morning pages will pop again. I love thumbing through my notebook paper when it’s all crazy colored after a few months of writing stream of consciousness.

Wonder if the color I use that day impacts the writing that comes out…


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