Pencil Lead

I like writing in pencil; both because I erase frequently, and I think pencil graphite looks better on paper then pen. Pen tends to bleed over to the next page more when I press down on the paper too hard. Given that, I strongly dislike dealing with sharpening pencils, it creates a lot of debris and never winds up like looking nice. The tip always breaks, they are always lopsided. Instead, I use mechanical pencils; I like the way they fall into my grip more. I also have a very strong preference for the type of lead my pencils use.

It is, by the way 0.5 mm. There are a lot of benefits, I feel, for the 0.5 mm over the 0.7 mm, and honestly I’m slightly baffled as to why 0.5 isn’t standard. 0.5 is thinner, and is crisper on the page than 0.7 mm, it looks better. And with my handwriting, which can be awful, the lead change actually makes a huge difference with legibility. I also sometimes write small, and when I want to do this the thicker lines are, in my eye, less distinct than they otherwise would be. Having used both leads at various points in my life, 0.5 mm is just one of those small improvements that I think makes a difference in performance. Using it dramatically increases my enjoyment of writing things down by hand, which I use generally for math notes and writing fiction.

This is something I wrote about before, I think back towards high school, and is a consistence preference of mine since I switched away from traditional pencils. The best mid-tier brand for those, by the way, is the Black Warrior, which is a fine quality pencil in and of itself. I own inferior 0.7 mm pencils, by the way, and unfortunately I recently lost my 0.5’s and have only my two 0.7 mm pencils left. They do have a nice grip, and I like how they feel, but the lead makes me hesitant to want to write anything.

Which has become a problem, actually. There is a math book I’m working through, which I have benchmarks I’ve set for myself that I’m falling behind, and I had planned to write a certain amount of fiction each week. But the desire to pick up a pencil and write something down hasn’t been there in either case. It would be quite easy to blame the loss of my beloved 0.5 mm pencils; but that’s sort of absurd. Now, if I did go to say Walgreen’s and buy the appropriate pencils, I’d certainly have more desire to want to try out new pencils and get my work done. Solving the pencil problem would have a direct effect on my productivity problem. But the real problem is that I let a small thing bother me to the point of it being an excuse to not accomplish things I consider important.

And now I find myself writing not musings on pencils, but productivity porn. My desire for a well designed pencil aside, I think I’d rather build a habit of not waiting for the perfect conditions to be done for me to start working. I’d like to be the kind of person who just makes the best of what they have, and if there is something I absolutely need, acquire it and move on. Rather than get caught up on comfort; after all, if it’s important, I’ll change it when it’s convenient, or if necessary, adjust the lighting or couch cushions or buy pencils or whatever it is before I start working. Now this is a small thing, and I don’t know how many people it effects. But it stopped me from doing something, which is enough for me to start thinking about this effect- things need to be jusstttt right then I’ll get to work. And I’d rather not let that happen.

I’ve since bought the pencils, by the way.


Now read this

The willingness to be bad at things

So yesterday I had writers block. This week, I had made a promise to myself, to a get a number of things done, several of them concerning writing. The two of these I was trying to fulfill yesterday was finishing a short story I had been... Continue →