This $30 Fountain Pen Got Me Writing by Hand Again

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Photo: Jordan McMahon

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen | $28 | Amazon

I’m a pretty spacey person. It’s made remembering story ideas I’ve had, keeping track of birthdays, and even simple things like finishing my sentences, hurdles that can totally throw me off my groove if I let them. I’ve tried countless solutions over the years, but few have stuck. Mostly, I use the app Drafts to write down any important or noteworthy bit of information that crosses my mind before it slips away forever. It works pretty great, and it’s helped me jot down what have ended up being some of my best ideas, and made sure they get sent to their proper destinations. Great as it is, though, pulling out my phone isn’t always a viable option, and it isn’t conducive to thorough brainstorming when I’ve got more time to really sink into those ideas.

When I’m trying to flesh out ideas I have, say for a story I might want to write or a new project at work, I usually pull out my iPad Pro and scribble things down in my notes app. Since I’ve been in quarantine, though, and don’t have to worry about how much I can stuff in my backpack before taking off, I’ve been trying out using pen and paper for my more thorough brainstorming efforts.

I’ve got plenty of notebooks spread out across the house, but most of our pens are the cheap ones you get by the dozen that never seem to produce the right amount of ink. After hearing lots of good things about fountain pens, I decided to give one a shot and see if it might make my writing sessions less of a slog. I spent some time on the subreddit /r/fountainpens, where I saw a post about the LAMY Safari, an affordable pen that brings a bit of pop to your stationary setup while serving as a gentle accomplish in your pursuit to painlessly scribe your thoughts on paper. I probably should’ve done more research before making any purchases, but a glance at the pen’s aesthetics, a few solid recommendations from the comments section of Reddit, and an urge to get scribbling, won me over. Luckily, that excitement carries on to actually using the pen, and I haven’t wanted to put it down since I got it a couple weeks ago.


I like vibrant colors, so I picked out the yellow model, and it’s flashy enough to be easily noticeable on my desk, so I can quickly grab it when I need to make a quick note. Color aside, it’s a pretty bold pen, with a thick body and a shiny, silver clip. It looks sleek, but if you want a discreet option, go for the black model. As for actually using the pen, it writes more smoothly than any ballpoint pen I’ve ever used, and it takes almost no pressure for the ink to flow. If you suffer from any sort of RSI, or you just tend to cramp up after long writing sessions, that relief goes a long way in keeping you pain and tingle-free. Getting used to having the right angle to your grip can be frustrating, but your wrists will thank you for it.

At about $20, it’s not the cheapest pen you can get, but it’s pretty affordable by fountain pen standards, and it’s not going to need replacing any time soon. You’ll need to get replacement cartridges eventually, but that isn’t too costly. Fair warning, though: many fountain pen enthusiasts began as simple writers looking for a good pen, and have found themselves with drawers full of pricey yet delightful fountain pens.

If you do want something a bit fancier, there’s plenty of options to pick from. Lamy’s 2000 pen, though costly at $145, has a more refined look and a finer tip, so you can be a bit more precise with your strokes.