Three Questions With Doug from Modern Stationer


I was impressed with Doug Lane's writing at Modern Stationer right from the jump. His reviews are very detailed and always seem to contain a small anecdote that give you a peek into his personal side. My thanks to Doug for answering Three Questions.

1. What role do analog tools such as pens, pencils, and paper play in your day to day life?

Pens and paper are a way to trick myself into stopping to think once in a while. At my day job (product marketing guy at a software company), that mostly means not wasting the day away on the corporate e-mail hamster wheel or trying to please whoever is screaming the loudest.

I've tried a bunch of "Getting Things Done"-style systems and apps, but I would always procrastinate on doing regular reviews and pruning of projects and tasks, which is the most important part of these systems. Now that my planning sessions involve getting to use my favorite fountain pens, inks, and notebooks, I look forward to it instead of putting it off. I also find that I'm more honest with myself about what I can actually get done when I'm writing tasks down by hand. With electronic systems, it's almost too easy to capture new items and shuffle them around.

I also try to jot down some informal personal thoughts each day. My daily task list usually fills up a little over one page in my notebook. So, I try to force myself to fill the rest of the second page with thoughts from the day. Even if I don't have any particularly deep thoughts, I'll just log what I did, any fun (or challenging) moments with my kids, whether I was in a good or bad mood, etc.

My weird mishmash of daily tasks and quick personal thoughts probably won't be of much historical value, but it helps me take stock of how things are going and spot any trends that I need to either correct or amplify.

2. What are your favorite products you are currently using?

I recently picked up my first Edison Pen, a Collier in steel blue, and I absolutely love it. I bought both a fine and a stub nib for it, so I can enjoy it for both routine writing and when I want to let some ink loose. I think I'm about to fall down the Edison Pen rabbit hole in a big way.

I've also been hooked on the (awkwardly named) Muji High Quality Easy-Open Notebook for a few months now. It's a great notebook for the price and handles fountain pen ink well.

I recently started using the Kokuyo Systemic Refillable Notebook Cover with it. The look and feel of the cover itself is just OK (I'm hoping these guys make a better one someday), but I love the utility of it. Something like the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter would be overkill for me, but it's nice to be able to tuck a pen, some index cards, and an iPhone into the Kokuyo as a minimal setup on the go.

3. What post are you the most proud of on your blog?

When my blog was around a month old, I wrote a post called "A Pen Geek in Seoul" that is a personal favorite. I was nervous about posting it at the time, since it was a bit more personal than what you typically see on a pen blog.

I was also worried that people would misinterpret it as "OK, this idiot was going through a important life event, and all he could think about was pens."

In the end, that was really the first post that I got a significant amount of comments and e-mail feedback on, and it was all very positive. Amazingly, I even heard from two people who had very similar experiences to mine.

I've heard many people say that the best thing about the pen hobby is the people, and that was one of my first tastes of it.

Posted on October 18, 2014 and filed under Three Questions.