Want more quotes? Discover them all on our blog here!
Want more quotes? Discover them all on our blog here!
With over 40 years of experience in manufacturing (originally as Ta Shin Precision; TWSBI was launched as a separate brand only in 2009), the TWSBI brand recaptures the romantic flair of past art and literature within its modern-day design. Relying heavily on customer feedback to tweak each product to perfection, TWSBI manufactures fountain pens, mechanical pencils, ballpoint pens, fountain pen ink bottles, among others.
Based in Taiwan, TWSBI’s roots as Ta Shin Precision are as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for other global companies. Philip Wang branched out with the brand name TWSBI in 2009 and it quickly evolved to encompass a smattering of fine writing instruments and accessories. TWSBI holds high standards for the quality industrial design found in their fountain pens, but they also work hard to offer their products at lower prices so more people have access to them.
When TWSBI says they want to hear your feedback on their products, they mean it. Read the story of how TWSBI launched their first product (the Diamond 530) complete with testers and feedback here on Fountain Pen Network. And here’s the result, direct from TWSBI’s man-in-charge, Philip Wang:
“The result was the TWSBI Diamond 530, a classic fountain pen with a piston ink-filling system. By fusing the traditional mechanisms of the fountain pen with a modern industrial design, we have created an eye-catching fountain pen that is simultaneously appreciative of the past and relevant in the present.”
Not only is TWSBI’s direct customer service via online channels incredibly quick and valuable, TWSBI has another factor that makes it unique. TWSBI includes a manual with each fountain pen instructing you how to disassemble the entire pen and put it all back together. In our fast-paced world and grab-and-go products, TWSBI encourages the avid fountain pen user to slow down, take some time, and enjoy the process of getting to know TWSBI fountain pens inside and out, literally.
Of course, we would be remiss to not answer the most frequent question about TWSBI: what does TWSBI stand for?
Intricate and encompassing the past and present yet again, TWSBI’s name has an interesting story. It’s best to hear from the source, as TWSBI says: “TWSBI’s name stands for the phrase “Hall of Three Cultures” or “San Wen Tong” in Chinese. The character “Wen” translates into language and culture. The phrase “San Wen Tong” also brings to mind the Hall of the Three Rare Treasures created by Emperor Qianlong as a memorial to three great masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy. The initials of the phrase “San Wen Tong” was reversed and thus turned into “TWS”. The last letters “Bi” was added with its literal meaning of “writing instruments”. Thus combining the two segments, creating TWSBI.”
We know how it feels to write something special; something we want to pay justice to when we commit it to paper. It can be gratitude from daily interactions, the spark of a new hobby or passion, or the beginning of a new chapter in a novel. Whatever inspires the pen to be put down on paper, Paperblanks Journals are there to capture thoughts, dreams, and future goals. And Paperblanks makes it that much more special with the amazingly small, but powerful, details of their journals, such as the beautiful laid paper, durable sewn binding, and perfectly worn covers. Try just one Paperblanks journal and we guarantee you’ll know what we’re talking about (and you’ll be hooked!). Enjoy Paperblanks here >>
1) Practice your penmanship. No, seriously. The small things in today’s world have such an increased focus on them, that you’ll appreciate having nice handwriting when the time comes to write a thank you letter, sympathy note, or love letter.
2) Start a new journal if you don’t already have one in rotation. Need inspiration? Check out our blog post: 10 Ideas for a Journaling Jump Start (or just start writing about National Handwriting Day)!
3) If you have more than one notebook you journal in currently, go through each one and write a paragraph about this day/week.
4) Volunteer at your local elementary or middle school and help teach children how to improve their handwriting–and why it’s important! Check out Campaign for Cursive for more information. (h/t Canon-McmillanPatch)
5) Take your time, sit down with your favorite stationery or note card, and write that thank you letter you’ve been avoiding since the holidays. Here’s how: How to Write a Thank You Letter.
6) Did you know National Handwriting Day was created on the birthday of Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock? See his beautiful signature on Wikipedia and see if you can recreate it freehand.
7) Never used a fountain pen before? Today’s the day! Learn how to write with a fountain pen!
Need more inspiration? Check out our blogroll for amazing snail mailers, pen & pencil aficionados, and writers galore HERE
And that’s just scratching the surface. What are some of your suggestions for celebrating National Handwriting Day? Leave them in the comments below!
It’s that time of year again! If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, this is the time to kick your writing into overdrive.
Starting today, the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight on November 30, 2012!
Fifty thousand words can sound incredibly daunting – especially if you don’t write on a regular basis – but it is very possible. Whether you don’t think you have the time, or you think you’re not a good writer, or anything else that may be stopping you in your tracks, let us just say that all you have to do is start writing! It is as easy as that.
To start, put it on your schedule to write for at least 15 minutes a day and gradually increase your writing time over the month. That way, you at least start the process. Once you get the ball rolling, by mid-month you’ll feel much more at ease with the writing process and your goal of 50K words. If you need support, encouragement, or just a bit of enthusiasm to get you started writing, the NaNoWriMo site has a wonderful forum of other people in the writing process, too!
Last year, over 250,000 people from around the world participated in NanoWriMo 2011. “NaNoWriMo is the writing world’s version of a marathon,” said Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month. “Writers exit the month with more than a novel; they’ve experienced a transformative creative journey.”
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Comment below and include your blog link!
If you are looking for something new this school season (whether you are in school or not!) then you may want to look at a fountain pen. Fountain pens come in all kinds of makes and models, colors and styles and each produces a different ‘look.’
No matter what fountain pen you have; whether it’s a $2 drugstore find or a $1,000 special edition, it’s important to understand what the tool was designed for so you use it properly. It’s also useful to find other people who use fountain pens and ask them for their tips and advice. That said, here are my tips for how to write with fountain pens (and I’ve been writing with them since I was in grade school … and my collection of them is overflowing):
Ballpoint pens require pressure in order for them to work. Pressing down and sliding the tip of the pen across the page produces an line of ink. It’s the pressure that turns the ‘ball’ that allows the ink to adhere to the paper. That said, a fountain pen does not work the same way. Now, that’s not to say you can’t hold and use a fountain pen the same way you do a ballpoint, but recognize they work in totally different ways. You can literally just rest a fountain pen on paper and glide it very gently across the page and you’ll get ink flow.
Most of us grip our pens pretty tightly. When you use a fountain pen, don’t grip as hard as you normally would. Try writing with the pen mostly ‘resting’ in your hand. Allow the nib to slide across the page. There really is no need to press down and drag the nib to release ink (unless you are going for that effect or are using something like a flexible nibbed pen).
If you are just getting used to a fountain pen, it’s best to start writing things when you have a little time. Scrawling out a shopping list on the dashboard of your car in front of the grocery store that’s about to close is not a very good time to start using a fountain pen. When you are just getting the feel for it, make sure you have some time on your hands—or at least enough time to write a little slower.
It’s also important to spend some of that initial time just holding the pen in different ways as you write. You will probably have a preference for how to hold it but only after you play around a little to find it!
Now, I know I just said above that you should take time to write, but I mean especially at first. Once you get the feel for it—the feel of it in your hand and how to hold it—by all means open the floodgates! The more you write, the better you’ll get. You may even begin to notice changes in the appearance of your handwriting (for the better!).
One day, you may find yourself with a fountain pen collection. This is normal and happens to anyone that finds they enjoy the ‘experience’ of a fountain pen. The reason people who like fountain pens generally have at least two or three at a minimum is because each pen has its own personality. You’ll find that you prefer certain pens in certain seasons of the year, or for certain activities. Right now, I use my white LAMY Safari for general daily notes and list making. I use my vintage Prosperity Pens 14kt nibbed flex pen for letter writing and I keep a Kaweco Sport in my purse. In a month or two, I’ll bring out my Pilot Cavalier and my Sheaffer Agio (I love these pens in autumn and winter!). A fountain pen enhances the actual act of writing, and the more you write the more you’ll notice certain pens are ‘better’ at the time than others. Fountain pens are an expression of the mood you’re in.
As you use fountain pens more and more, you’ll pick up your own habits. However, I’m going to say this and I may upset some true diehard fountain pen aficionados, but if the only thing you ever do is flush your pens regularly with water and let them thoroughly dry, you are set. I essentially treat my antique pens the same way I treat my new pens and I’ve never had a problem.
Whether you are buying a cheaper fountain pen or an expensive one, make sure you do your homework. Read about the pen, the company that makes it, and customer reviews. Search blogs for reviews on the pens you are interested in. A few minutes of research is time well-spent on a writing instrument you’ll treasure and use forever.
Do you have a fountain pen tip to share? If so, please add them in the comments!
Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth article in the How to Write series. Read the others here:
Created in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is celebrated every April to increase awareness of poetry. Everyone is invited to participate and the Academy galvanizes teacher, librarians, publishers and many more literary-inspired groups to join in the celebration! Find a poetry event near you via the Academy’s site, browse through workshops and interviews on the Scholastic Teachers site, or get inspired by the Favorite Poem Project. Even the New York Times has some suggestions of how to celebrate the month!
2 –> Gourmet Pens: Call for Submissions for the April Carnival of Pen & Paper
3 –> Journal Addict: Meet Journal Keeper Lynn Fisher …This sums it up quite nicely, but you still should click over to read it all! “I have now amassed what most people would regard as a fire hazard of journals in a variety of sizes, shapes, handmade, or store-bought. All reflect the joy and heartache of the examined life in a way that most precisely mirrors what and who I am as a person right now.”
4 –> Letter Writers Alliance: Cherry Blossom Centennial Stamp Release and Party
5 –> Writing Instruments: Writing Instruments are the Voice of Desire
6 –> Missive Maven: A letter to a favorite writer, hand-delivered
7 –> R Scribbling Glue: That’s Not a Tea Cup, It’s a Post Office Box!
8 –> Rhodia Drive: Creative Prompt: Your Favorite Things
9 –> Plannerisms: Preparing for the Planner Drought
A fountain pen nib exists for every style of writer. Whether you press hard and dig deep into the page or prefer to elegantly draw loops and curls, there is a perfect nib waiting for you. The tricky part is looking objectively at the way you write and from that determining what style of nib is best for you.
Actually, the tricky part is probably that there is no global standardization of nib sizes. Your best bet? Become familiar with terminology, find a brand you like and work from that brand as your ‘base.’ Below, you’ll see commonly accepted definitions and descriptions for nib sizes and types (however, there is dispute within the community).
All nibs come in different sizes whether you are purchasing a flex nib, an italic nib, a stub nib or any other kind of nib. The most common width sizes include Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), Broad (B), and Double Broad (BB). You can also find nibs that come in EEF-BBB, but they’re traditionally harder to come by.
A stub nib is like writing on a thin oval. Imagine that the tip of the nib (the part that makes contact with the paper) is an oval shape. The lines that you create from writing will show this slight variation. (A round tipped nib, which is known as a standard nib will not show variation in writing much like a ballpoint pen doesn’t show variation.)
An italic nib is like a stub nib, but the oval is longer, thereby producing more variation in line width as you write. Many use the terms ‘calligraphy nib’ and ‘italic nib’ interchangeably. The basic gist of what makes an italic and calligraphy nib different from others is that the nib will have sharper corners. The sharper corners create very clean, crisp lines in line strokes. The stub nib does too, but those corners tend to be ground to rounded points so the stub is less likely to ‘catch’ or scratch the paper when you write quickly. Calligraphy nibs also tend to come in wider sizes. With an italic or calligraphy nib you will likely need to write slower than you do normally because they tend to catch or skip more by design.
An oblique nib is exactly the same as an italic or a calligraphy nib, except the nib is cut on a slant (or angle), rather than straight across.
Music nibs (designed for the purpose of writing music) traditionally have two slits in the nib rather than just one, but not always. They are made so the user can produce lines crosswise and longwise easily.
Flex nibs have some amount of ‘flex’ in the nib itself so when the user presses down on it variation in the width of the stroke is produced. Flex nibs can be found in various amounts of ‘flexiness,’ from slight flex to super flex. Vintage flex pens produce some of the greatest flex around. What makes flex nibs unique is that they can be combined with other types of fountain pens. You could find an Italic Flex Nib for example, or a Needle Flex Nib. Flex nibs have a bit of a learning curve but produce lovely, unique results. The flexibility of the nib highlights the natural nuances of each person’s handwriting.
This brief overview of the most common types of nibs should help you on your way in determining what nib might be for you. Personally, my absolute favorite nib type is a standard flex nib. Second choice is a calligraphy nib. To me, being able to highlight the unique way I naturally write is most important, especially when I write letters by hand. If you’ve never even held a fountain pen, I strongly suggest trying out multiple types first. Just pick the pen up in your hand, dip the tip of the nib in some ink (no need to fuss with cartridges or full refills here), and write a little with it. You’ll be able to immediately determine if you like one or not.
1 –> Laurie at Plannerisms wrote a strongly worded post regarding the new trend in using Pinterest and why she adamantly is against it (and has requested all of her images to be removed from Pinterest). As more companies and individuals flock to the image-sharing site, she brings up a good conversation regarding privacy and copyright laws. What’s your take on it?
2 –> The Quo Vadis blog has some neat information (and time management tips) from Dr. FG Beltrami, “the founder of Quo Vadis and inventor of the Agenda planner with its one-week-on-two-pages layout” that you will want to read. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.
3 –> TigerPens has a great post offering other writing instruments if you want a change, but don’t want a fountain pen particularly. Read it here.
4 –> As seen on This is Colossal ”Love Is Making Its Way Back Home: A Stop Motion Animation Using 12,000 Sheets of Construction Paper.”
5 –> Looking for a penpal? Check out Julie’s blog Penpal of the Week – each week she posts another person looking for a penpal to help people connect!
6 –> Check out some of the pages being created within the Webbies for the Rhodia Journal Swap! Several have been passed to the next person, are you one of them?
7 –> We love that the Guardian featured an article titled “Why I Love Stationery” by Lucy Mangan. Here is an excerpt: ”The right pen and the right paper brought into conjunction, runs the unspoken thought, cannot help but result in a sudden influx of bold, brilliant and original ideas, the germ of a bestselling novel that will in its turn be inscribed in another, perhaps larger notebook more worthy of the task, in sentences as creamy and beautiful as the pages on which they are written.” We’re just wondering why the image is of post-it notes on the author instead of … stationery, obviously.
8 –> Michael at Orange Crate Art shared this image originally “by the Illinois WPA Art Project for the WPA Statewide Library Project. Stamped March 25, 1941. From the Library of Congress’s online archive American Memory.” We fell in love with it and just had to share. It’s time to whip out some books!
Writers love to discuss writer’s block. Is it real or is it just fear? Is it a symptom of being creatively drained or of being undisciplined? Regardless of which side of the discussion you side with, there is one truth: Whether you’re an avid journaler, a dedicated letter writer or a professional writer, we all get stuck once in a while. No matter how hard you try, sometimes those blinking cursors and blank pages stop us in our tracks. Next time you get stuck, try one (or all!) of these five tricks to overcome your block.
It’s okay to fret about being stuck. It’s normal and healthy – as long as you don’t let it derail you completely. So spend a few minutes obsessing, but set a timer to keep you focused. Set the timer for nine minutes. Spend that time doing nothing but obsessing. Think about why you’re stuck. Is it the project? Do you have other, perhaps more important, tasks that you should do first? Let your mind wander. When that timer goes off, use one minute to refocus. Take a couple deep breaths, open a new window or flip to a new page, and start writing.
If you just can’t think of anything to write, start with your past. If you’re working on a daily journal entry, try to remember the names of your elementary school teachers and how they made you feel. If you’re struggling with a piece of fiction, start with the worst day you can possibly remember from when you were a child. Describe the people, the smells, the scenery. Apply those same principles to the present (how did I feel this morning during my commute?) and to the future (what is the best thing that could happen to me in the next five years?).
This is my go-to strategy anytime I feel stuck. Start a list. List anything: groceries, your friends’ names from junior high, things you’re grateful for, goals for the year, things you’d buy if you had a bottomless bank account. Get creative with your lists! Try your favorite books in alphabetical order or aim to list 101 of something.
On a sticky note or the back page of your journal, draft a handful of sentence “starts” that you can refer to when you get stuck. Some good options:
Make a list of 10 to 20 that you can refer to whenever you feel blocked. Use it to start a journal entry or a piece of fiction.
This last-resort trick is for when you’ve tried everything but nothing’s working. Stand up, turn around, and walk away. Take your dog around the block. Make a cup of tea. Watch a daytime talk show. Sometimes the pressure can be too great, and when you’re focused on the fact that you’re stuck, it can be really difficult to find a way to get unstuck. Let your smarty-pants subconscious do the work for a while. The important thing here is to stay away from tasks that will keep you away from your work. Pick something short and something mindless (that laundry’s not going to fold itself) so that you don’t divert all your brainpower away from your writing. After a short break, do some stretches, take a couple deep breaths, and then get back to it.
Everyone gets stuck. In any creative project, it’s only normal. The difference between being successful and unsuccessful is to let a little block stop your progress!
Meet the Writer: Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com