🖋️ Note to self: Don’t bring a pen inked with Diamine Writer’s Blood to a work event. When you get ink on your hands, you will draw a lot of concern from coworkers.
I just realized that after January 2nd, I switched back to writing 2023 in my Midori 3 year diary every day. I was so proud of how consistently I was writing in it, but I was also consistently wrong. 😂
🖋️ I don’t use micro.blog emoji in posts with titles, so I’m reposting my 2023 planner review in case it’s interesting for folks scrolling the pens category.
As we get to the end of the year, many in the stationary community will share their reflections on what they’ve used and what changes they’re going to make for next year. I have had a really good year stationary wise, so I thought I would share my usage and plans as well.
So with that intro, I’d like to discuss 2023: The Year of Plotter.
Technically the year of Plotter began with this same exercise last year. I had been using a Rhodia Goalbook as a bullet journal for multiple years, but saw the Plotter hype online, and found a way to convince myself that I needed one instead of the goalbook. I honestly don’t remember what the justification I used was, but deep down they looked nice, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I took possession of my A5 Plotter in early October.
Adorably, I thought I would make it to the new year before beginning to use the Plotter. I made it to the end of October.
For the first 6 or so months of its life, the Plotter was just a really fancy Bullet Journal. I used the Monthly Schedule Refill as my Monthly log in the front of the notebook, 5mm dot grid pages for my daily logs, and the occasional Project Manager to keep up with certain items from work and sermon notes from church. It worked well and delighted me every time I opened it.
However, in May, I began what ended up being a 5 month long transition to a new position at my company. AKA, I was doing 2 jobs at once. AKA, my system couldn’t keep up.
The beauty and the problem with Plotter is their binders can only hold 80 or so pages. Between all the notes I was taking for both jobs, my tasks, and everything else, I was running out of space. So…I bought another Plotter. Shocking, I know. This time I bought a Bible size.
My intention was to use the A5 for all personal planning and notes, and the Bible for everything work related.
The intention was good, but buying a whole organization system right at the start of a new job is not always the best idea. I didn’t fully know what my day to day work would be like or what kinds of things I would need to keep track of. I came to discover I don’t like having tasks between separate notebooks. One gets neglected.
I’ve spent most of the last few months trying different layouts, paper types, arrangements, and more between the two plotters, and I finally have a system that is mostly working now for going into the new year. I have decided to let the Plotters be good at what they are, and nothing else. That means there will be other notebooks/journals (and boy will there be 😂) in the mix as well, but I will discuss those another time. I put a few of these items on my Christmas list, so we’ll have to see if Santa comes through.
The A5 plotter will no longer be for any task management. It will only be for storing personal notes, mostly sermon notes and other studies I’m completing. The Bible sized will be my planner for all tasks and work notes. The goal will be to organize these notes into project managers.
In the Bible size, I plan to use Plotter’s monthly refills to keep track of the sprints my dev team will be completing as well as holidays and team PTO. This will allow me to understand how much work can be accomplished each sprint, and can always be quickly referenced as I plan ahead. I currently already have the monthly refills for the first quarter of 2024 in the binder.
When the new year actually beghins, I plan to use Plotter’s weekly refills for planning my days and actual to do lists. I’m concerned this may not give me enough space for all the tasks I will have in a week, but I at least want to try them. If I need to, I can always add a Plotter To Do List page in the middle of the weekly laylout.
Separated by the pen holder/lifter, I have a project manager at the back of the binder with notes on all the features our team is currently building into the software or will build in the next quarter. Each feature currently just has a single 5mm dot grid page dedicated for notes. I write down things we need to consider, questions we have, and general info I will need to reference as I begin to build out development tickets for the team to work on.
While there are still some unknowns, this setup feels like it aligns with my needs, allows me to use the notebooks I enjoy, and will help me get everything done I need to. I hope to do a check in further into the year to share how things are going.
🖋️I’ve always dealt with feathering on Plotter paper, but I just realized today it’s only with Iroshizuku inks. I may have to start phasing those out from being my most used inks now that I know. 😭
🖋️ New Pen Day!
I am starting a new role at my company and celebrated with a “work pen”. This is the Pilot Custom 823 in Smoke with a Fine Nib. I have a few Pilot M and an EF, but this is my first plain F, and it writes perfectly.
🖋️I got my Plotter 2024 Weekly and Monthly Refills for both my A5 and Bible sized plotters. I learned my lesson last year that even if you aren’t sure you’ll want them, go ahead and get them. I decided I wanted them later, and they were gone.
🖋️ I have so many pens with orange ink in them (I have a problem), I decided to not go matchy matchy with the heat.
I have had Iroshizuku Tsutsuji for a couple years, but wanted a more hot pink. 431 is my first Ink Studio ink, and in my limited writing, it writes great and pairs well with this ECO.
🖋️New Pen Day
The ECO Heat has arrived. I got it with a Fine job because strangely, I have no Fine ECOs. Will ink it up Wednesday when a new ink I want to try is delivered.
The color seems a bit different than the promos, but I still really like it.
🖋️My current mantra: “I don’t need another ECO or another orange pen.”
I don’t know if it will hold true though.
🖋️ My Plotter is multiplying. 😬
I’ve consistently used my A5 since last fall, but with some new work responsibilities, I needed some more space. Just received the Bible sized, and am working on setting it up!
Hopefully I can do a full writeup of how I use these soon.
🖋️Yesterday, I received one of my grail pens. I had a major work milestone in January, and planned for months to celebrate by ordering this pen. Everything about the experience was perfect. From phone calls with the owner on nib tuning to its appearance and how it sits in my hand. I’m in love.
🖋️Forgot to post my last Atlanta Pen Show Pen! This is a bad picture of a gorgeous pen from the folks at Hinze Pens. My dad and I got matching ones. Mixed with a brown shimmer ink, this thing is incredible. Look at that nib!
🖋️Another ATL Pen Show Acquisition. Not a new pen, but a new nib grind and ink. The grind and ink took this pen from one I liked to one I love. It’s Mark Bacas’s version of a Naginata Togi nib, and it is my first specialty grind. I absolutely love it.
🖋️Next Atlanta Pen Show purchase. I’ve seen pictures of Vanishing Points, but never got the appeal. Seeing them in person, I was immediately drawn to this (hard to photograph) Blue Matte. I’ve read @brad raving about this ink for years, so I had to try it. I love the subdued pen/bright ink combo!
🖋️Atlanta Pen Show Haul items 2 & 3. This is a great example of why shows are great. I wanted to try this nib and an Estie badly. As soon as I walked up to the Kenro booth, this finish called my name, and the nib is great. And this ink! It’s like a shimmery Shin-kai (maybe a shade lighter).