Writing Big

I have a problem ... I love to write big. Not volumes of stuff, but just ... big.

I have even taken to writing notes on sketchpads with felt-tipped markers (think Crayola markers). It feels natural to me.

I love the idea of the wee moleskines and 3x5 cards and hPDAs ... but I just write big.

Does anyone else do this? Do you make do with smaller note-taking apparatus?

I did buy a Lamy pen with an extra fine point as an experiment and I like it ok - it writes beautifully, which leads me to think that my earlier experiences with fine tipped fountain pens was unpleasant due to quality, and nothing inherently incompatible between me and fine-tipped fountain pens. It at least lets me write within the lines of my Circa notebook fairly comfortably.

My utterly plebian favorite pen, however, is a Parker with a medium-ish nib - round, not flat that makes a bold line. Said bold line sucks for note taking in small journals and 3x5 cards.

FWIW, I never liked it when I had to move to college ruled paper, either. Nothing to do with having to write so many pages of essay or anything, I just don't like my poor little words to be all cramped.

I've always volunteered to be the note taker in meetings if the notes are on those large Post-it pads, easels or white boards.

My ultimate fantasy is to buy some of that whiteboard paint and paint a wall in my office so I can write really big.

Is anyone else this insane?

I'm really actually asking this because I am trying to find a way to keep track of my expenses and jot other notes while I'm travelling. I've been on the road 5 of the last six weeks - it would have been six, but my doctor forbade it.

Any big writers who've made do with small media?

Oh, and the last two week trip I forgot to bring my journal ... the agony! (It's a myndology journal size and the lines are just barely spaced enough).

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Try this...

In my experience, the size of my writing instrument reflects the size of my writing, so the finer a line I have, the smaller I can and do write.

My suggestion is for you to get yourself a UniBall Signo Bit 0.18 pen, billed as the World's Thinnest Pen. This is the finest line I have ever seen out of a pen other than a 5x0 drafting pen - and they always clogged up.

I got mine at JetPens

$3 for single pens, 8 pen, many color set for $25, box of 10 black pens for $29, Black and Red refills for $1.80
Free shipping for orders over $25 (like that is difficult for any of us !)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Pens - Fountain Pens with Extra Fine Nibs

Personally, I love the extra fine nibs you can find on the Lamy All-Star pens. I picked up some Koh-I-Noor pens on Ebay that I haven't had time to try out.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!

Japanese pens usually have good extra fine nibs

Their pens' nibs usually run smaller than the same "size" American nibs. So, a Japanese F would be closer to a XF. Their XF must be more like an XXF (I say it like that because I can't speak from personal experience). And, they're usually very smooth, considering the size. So, if you were looking for a smooth XXF, try one of them.


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai

I do speak from personal experience

Walter is right.

You are not alone.

I have a friend who is like you. She writes with BB felt pens and anything smaller than a 0.8 is just wrong. In gel pens, she prefers 1.0 mm or bigger if she can get them (I've seen 1.2 mm somewhere). I don't get that. I'm an XF person, but you are not alone.

Nope, you're not alone

I'm with you. My favorite fountain pen is a Pelikan with an oblique double-broad (OBB)nib. One of the reasons I like my Circa agenda is that the lines are widely-spaced enough that I don't have to write small (which, for me, translates to cramped and tense).

But I do love to look at pages of tiny, tiny writing -- it's just that I don't want to create those pages!

Oh yes!

But I do love to look at pages of tiny, tiny writing -- it's just that I don't want to create those pages!

Me too!

I love old notebooks with beautiful penmanship. I have one of my great grandmother's diaries and I love to flip through it just to look at the beautiful lettering on the tiny pages. That and the smell of old paper.

That particular great grandmother made curtains for Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. You'd think there'd be interesting references in the diary, but no, apparently she was a bit of a hypochondriac, so it's mostly about doctor visits and how she felt that day. Oh, and her constant attempts to lose weight. I guess some things never change.

It's from 1939, so there is a reference to my mom's birth, though. (c:


You are not alone

I too write large. Filling out forms is agony, trying to get my phone number on this tiny line just never seems to work. I have no idea how the "other half" live. My big problem is that I also love index cards of all sizes. A 3x5 card gets 5 bullet points if I'm lucky and I'd love to have a hPDA but I have trouble getting everything entered in on my classic sized calender. I do love my med nib fountain pen but that doesn't keep me from writing large. Nice to know I'm not alone though!

I'll put my BIG hand up too

No you are not alone in writing large. For my scrawl to be legible I have to write large. I hate forms from credit/charge card companies, universities, even delivery companies who have minute squares for me to write in. Can't! If you need to read writing then you have to give me space. This is the major reason behind my choice of planner size as A5. It gives me enough space to write BIG.

It's all about mood

The size of my writing depends on my mood - as does the slant of my penmanship, or if I print or write in cursive. So, my mood determines the size of the writing instrument. If I feel I need to buckle down and be in control -- it's small print with a fine line. If I'm in crisis management mode, medium to fat tips and really swirly cursive writing (I l-o-v-e felt tip pens on those days). Most days it's in between.

I've always been intrigued by the art/science of handwriting analysis. I'm thinking about buying the latest book by Michelle Dresbold who used to do handwriting analysis for the U.S. Secret Service. I have no affiliation with her other than she is a fellow alumnus from my university. Her website has some interesting analyses -- michelledresbold dot com.

Writing Big

My grandfather was a penmanship instructor in western Pennsyvania. I don't even know if they have such folks any more (he was old and I am old). I once asked him how to improve my handwriting, which was cramped and illegible. He said: "Write big." He told me that, when we are taught to write, we are taught proper form, writing with large instruments in big print. Over time, as we shrink our script to fit signature lines and the like, our handwriting degrades. When we write big, we instinctively return to proper form and the quality of the handwriting improves. Writing big isn't a problem. If you must shrink your script, try gels, especially the Pilot G2.

Sort of related...

I find I write better when I focus on how much space there is between the lines of my page, and not "lines are narrow so I must write small." If that makes any sense. If I'm aware of all the room I have, even if it's not a lot, I write better. Kind of like an artist being aware of the whole page and not just a corner of it. (My handwriting, is nice, but nothing special. Still, I feel more artistic about it when I pay attention to white space.)

[ blog | photos ]

Lines and space

That's an interesting way to view it.

I also find I do ok if the lines are faint enough that I can use two lines to write and not have problems when re-reading the page.


Two grandfathers who taught penmanship.


Get in touch with Steve Leveen, founder of Levenger (excellent home office items). You and he both had grandfathers who taught penmanship. Steve's grandfather taught penmanship in Boston schools. Mr. Leveen's blog is entitled Well-Read Life and there is a link on the Levenger web site, www period levenger period com. There is an adorable (I know, men hate that word) small round photo of Baby Steve all bundled up outdoors in his grandfather's arms. The date of this page in the blog is June 18, 2009. Steve treasures his grandfather's fountain pen so much so that he created the Levenger "True Writer" line of fountain pens. My 1954 high school diploma, entirely in Latin, is personalized with my name in carefully India-inked calligraphy likely written by his grandfather because he did not retire until several years later.

Claire in Springfield.

Uniball Jetstream

I bought a Uniball Jetstream at Office Depot the other day - what could I do, my truck was being serviced and taking far longer than usual - and Office Depot was just across the street, fergossake!

Anyway, the packaging says the tip is 0.7 mm. This is the smallest 0.7 writing instrument I've ever used - mechanical pencils in this measurement seem thick to me (aka perfect) - but this JetStream writes with a very fine line.

It also writes smoothly, without gouging the paper like some fine tip pens do with me at the helm. (c:

So, it's a compromise for now ... now I just have to get to work on my expense tracker cards ...


big and bold

I am also a big writer and have the same issues as others commenting with college ruled paper and filling out forms. If I am ever forced to write on college ruled paper I use 2 lines for one. On forms... OMG, I am the messiest form filler outer.

I love fat nibs and those old vintage pens with the broad flexible nibs. Writing big is also reflected in the 3/8 inch line spacing in our books.

In one sense writing is like living for me... I need a lot of space, it's bold and intentional.


You know...

I got thinking about this and how I fall at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. I can get by using college ruled paper if I have to use regular old filler paper. The regular, wide-ruled stuff if just ridiculous for me. I write two lines of print between the lines. I feel like I'm back in grade school, using one of those pencils the size of a horse's leg and writing on that green paper with the big chunks of wood in it, and the extra lines to help me make my cursive letters properly. Not exactly what they make Moleskines out of, is it :-)

Nice to know people come in all shapes and sizes, eh?

Happy April!

Small writer here too

I write tiny at times. I do printing for those cases when you need tiny (and I mean, 2+ lines on college-ruled tiny), and cursive for speed (1 line, college-ruled paper, with space). I can do "big" with anything, but small I need a ballpoint for 0.5 pencil at the largest. Gel and ink are too blotchy if you write small, I find, because you need to go slow and stop at times.

I write small because I hold the pen close to the tip; so close my fingers hide the tip unless I bend over and to the side, that close. So for me, I can make a regular pencil do tiny writing (by turning it).

But that takes time; so hold closer to the tip, and use a non-leak/blotch/run ink for the really fine print. (And yes, I can do 12 pt Times New Roman sized writing.)


I say gel can splotch, don't fillet me yet; I just mean that, for those sharp turns at tiny scales, gel still does not do fine corners too well. Too liquid, so it spread out, makes micro-sized round-ish shapes instead of sharp angles.
A slant-tipped pencil can do perfect corners... with turning frequently and a knife handy.
For forms, go for fine-point heavy ballpoint; I find heavier pens make me write slower, and smaller.

Writing Big Continued

Hello all,

I was looking for some inspiration and came across this Writing Big thread that was started in 2008.

I'm still struggling with putting together the perfect planner, and I think my big writing is really a problem. Unless my planner is on legal sized or bigger paper (which is unreasonable), I just don't seem to have enough room. Eliminating lines works in some cases, as lines, although sometimes necessary, can be very restrictive for big writers.

Shrinking my writing is not an option (if at all possible), so I need to build a planner for my writing. I am using a classic-sized circa planner right now with a 1 week per page view (letter sized foldouts). This planner fits in my purse nicely.

Have any of the other big writers here found systems that work with them and not against them? Any ideas, thoughts, advice, and experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


I am also have a big handwriting

Form Filling.

Glad to see that form filling nightmares are shared with others.
Whenever possible I go to the office, company or agency's website and fill the form online ahead of time.

If this is not possible, I have a reference sheet with all my info which I just pull out and copy, I have to use print handwriting and hope for the best.

My regular handwriting is large cursive.
I use generous medium or bold nibs fountain pens.
My pencils of choice are 2mm lead holders, I would love to write with a 5mm lead but the lead holders I have seen are much too short, what's up with that?

Note Taking and Planners

I use notepads, index card sized in scratch paper, Junior and Letter size in fountain pen friendly paper.

The index card sized scratch paper gets quick notes and reminders in pencil, inkroller or ballpoint.
It is used as a cheap substitute for post it notes, it is great to use as bookmark/reading notes.

Junior size is used for quick references from grocery lists to info I gather on the go.
I always carry a notepad this size in my purse, so if there are unexpected waiting time anywhere, I can use it to create a list, brainstorm or if the delay is really long, (on public transport for example) do some journaling.

Junior size notepads are also used inside planners.
I use a one day per page system, the page are left blank in the pad until a particularly busy day or project deadline shows up.
The date is written on the top of the page, the data recorded and it is stored inside a Junior size poly envelope.
(I am without planner at the moment, the page would eventually be punched for placement in a ring or Circa planner with properly color coded tabs)

Color coded circles for appointments are used in a yearly calendar printed on one side of a letter size sheet which is folded down the middle.
The back of the page is used for notes about appointments.

If a month is or will be really busy, I print that month in the same manner and use the same color coded circles and notes in the back.

Packing lists, essays, study notes and other writings are made on letter size notepads.
The loose leaves are kept in poly folders color coded by subject. Reference notes are stored inside page protectors and filled in binders which are color coded as well.

On the go, I use a letter size blank notepad inside a Large Tom Bihn Organizer Pouch.
I have many of these Pouches in different colors and fabrics.
They have replaced bulky and heavy letter size notepad holders or thin poly envelopes which are, now, used for storage.

I love to write in big cursive Spencerian like letters with fountains pens or 2mm lead holders or color pencils, it just the way creativity gets onto paper.

Years ago, I used a pocket sized planner for reminders, it was a yearly promotional gift, this is the way I have used my cell phones and my smart phone.

I keep contacts on computer, cell phone and I store business cards.

The pocket sized planner, the yearly calendar and the business cards don't crash when the software gets "upgraded" or the cell phone coverage is so bad that carrier and phone have to be switched when moving from one area to another.

To resume the tome. :)
Big handwriting is one of reason I had to go D.I.Y and found this site.

I considered going back to digital

But the trouble with inputting stops me every time. I loved my PDA, but hated trying to get stuff into it. I have a Blackberry with qwerty keyboard but, again, inputting is an issue. I can't stand all the scrolling and fields that never have the options I really want.

After my last Writing Big post, I decided that it wasn't unreasonable to have a legal sized planner. I went to staples and found a legal sized report cover, and circa punched it.

Since my planner no longer fits in my purse, I now carry an unlined 4.5 x 5.75 notebook in my purse. There is plenty of room to write BIG. The front of the notebook is reserved for current and future monthly notes and the back for general notes, all of which will be transferred to my planner when appropriate.

One thing I've learned on my planner journey is that "less is more," so I only keep one month in my planner and up to two future months in my little notebook. I become easily overwhelmed with more than this, and I really don't need more.

(Does anyone else tend to go overboard trying to have planning pages for the next 50 years?)

Btw, while in Staples, I found a mechanical pencil with 0.9 mm (i.e. BIG) leads. It is a Staedtler Mars micro. Not the nicest pencil, but the leads make up for it. Couldn't find any that size before. I bought two and extra refills. Heaven!!


If you love big lead and leadholders, you are going to love

this site


If you have an appointment in the near future, put a timer or your phone alarm clock on.
It is a treasure trove.

I could...

...make crude comments about the lead in my pencil, but then every lady on this site would flog me to within a millimeter of my life.

But then, maybe I do not have to !

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Despite the wording of my previous post...

There was no double entendre intended.

Here is another site, a blog.


There is also a nice retailer (they have a brick and mortar store, literally) and a website.


I have to disclose that I like the owners of Pendemonium a great deal, every transaction with them, either via mail or at pen shows has been great.

As far as Ygor is concerned, would you like a Vivacious Circa the lead of your pencil? ;)

PS: I just couldn't resist, you posted one comment after another, please feel free to delete if you think it is more than vivacious. :)

No problem !

I feel the "spice" keeps the site from getting boring.

I really enjoy trading non-malicious one-liners.

BTW, I am surprised you missed http://www.pencilthings.com/
Another great site.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Pencil Things came as one of the page that just

appears in my browser when I type pencil.

I thought I cut and pasted it, evidently not, I was too busy making my spicy joke. LOL :)

I saw the Pencil Thing site come up but wanted the Pencil Talk blog since I remember clearly seeing many posts about leadholders.

Pencil Things is also a retailer of many, many yummy 2mm leadholders, I was there not long ago.

I don't want to go back to that site when time and money are in short supply.

Those pretty pictures are hard to resist and it is very easy to spend way to much time looking at them and "planning" future purchases.

Addicts aren't we? :)

Unfortunately, my interest in pencils

usually only goes as far as Staples. I just happened to be looking for a new mechanical pencil when I found the big leads.

I only recently started using pencils as my primary writing instrument for my planner and notes. Having West Indian/Caribbean heritage, I am not used to considering pencils as an adult tool for writing. I managed to overcome that and although I still like the look of pen better, I am reaping the benefits of being able to erase, erase, erase.

Thanks for the link.

Diff Colored pens/pencils

For my schedule, for a while I used different pens and pencils. Light colored pencil colors for tentative and far off, darker colors for closer but still not in stone, and blue pen for permanent ("I plan to"), with black pen for the "last decision" type. Yeah, I changed my mind. A lot.

But I agree that regular pencil looks a bit... unpolished. Plus, it can smear. Colored pencil is slightly erasable, depending on how hard you press and brands, and look better, don't smear, and can be written over with another color when you change your mind.

What do you use now?

Do you use coloured pencils? I like dark lines, and coloured pencils always seemed too faint. And yes! The smearing of pencils drives me insane!

Sometimes I think I'm crazy when I look back at the amount of changes to planner systems, writing tools, etc., I've been through in the past two years. It seems as though every time I read an article or DIY post with an interesting idea, I jump on the bandwagon. But when I look back, what I was doing before was working fine. I just end up going around in circles. "If it ain't broke . . . ."

That's probably why I've been eyeing my pen these days. Everything has its flaws. I just have to decide which one suits me more and makes me happy.

I guess I have to let the perfect planner find me and not vice versa. Or maybe there is no perfect planner. I shudder at the thought.

So true

The alarm on my phone is invaluable, but I still hate entering the data.

You know there are small scanners for business cards.

Of course the data still needs to be entered into contact software so it can be transferred to Smart Phones.

I don't know how the setup works for people who have PC work environment and Mac toys, err tools at home and on the go. :)

yep yep

itouch + PC = mess. I must have bookmarks in a half dozen places, incl my email and paper fragments.

One of the shopping channels was selling a scanner/camera a month or so ago. You wipe the rod across the page, and it takes a picture of it.

I was thinking about mini scanners for business cards

Like the ones below, the page has pictures and reviews.


[ygor: I linkyfyed it for you]