Tag Archives: use

Desire to Acquire

A few months ago I started to really deeply consider the things that I’ve acquired. While I hadn’t gone past what I could reasonably use in a lifetime (SABLE*) I had picked up a lot of stuff I wasn’t using. After I’d written and posted my “cult of stuff” essays a few years back, I’d become good about not buying so much stuff. My art supplies are right within the range of reasonable use. I have a few more sketchbooks and plenty of watercolors, but I’m good about buying what I’ll use and not a whole lot more.

Somehow my desire to acquire more fountain pens and fancy pencils, though I’m a confirmed user and not collector of said tools has continued me down a path of purchases. And more purchases, and more. Things came to a head when I had to purchase a set of storage drawers to store my pencils. As I put the drawers to use, I realized I had many dozens of pencils. Some were brands and styles I’d never use. I made a few decisions, four to be specific, and for the most part, I’ve stuck to them. I like to call these “concepts” and they are as follows:

  1. Reduce– aka stop the acquisitions. Stop bringing in more stuff. Get rid of stuff I won’t or don’t use.
  2. Use– Use the stuff I have. Diligently work my way through my stash of pens, pencils, ink and paper.
  3. Examine– Deeply examine how I use my stuff. Look at each item I own and how I use it. Did I purchase it as a novelty (725) or is it something I use on a regular basis (Tombow 8900) and is part of my everyday carry (Fodderstack XL)? Examine my uses. Document them carefully. Refer to decisions reduce and use. Follow through.
  4. Forgive– I’m going to give into marketing and hype and peer pressure, and when I do, use the stuff and then move on. Beating myself up for not adhering to concepts 1-3 doesn’t help. But I can refer back to them to examine the whys and hows of my purchases. Anything new that comes into the fold must be used and reviewed.

I’ve done remarkably well with this system so far. I was able to resist getting the latest Field Notes edition, which I thought was pretty cool, but I know I prefer grids to their lines. So it was easy to resist. However, I bought the TWSBI Eco(nomical) and it was an easy one to buy as I’d wanted  one from the moment I saw their first mock up on their facebook page. I used it for a week, reviewed it, and I’m still using it. I’ll post up a few follow ups over the next few months, and report if I continue to use it or not.

So I’ve done pretty well in my new concepts. I need to refine my examination of why I want something, so that the “reduce” concept is more fleshed out, and includes a built in form of resistance. But that is for another post.

For another post on this subject check out The Clicky Post.

Continue reading

Reflection: Feeling Accomplished via Pencil Use

When the new semester began I decided that I was going to pick a pencil and use it until there was just a nub left. The first pencil I used down to nothing was a Creatacolor fine art graphite in B grade. Because it is a drawing pencil, the point retention was junk and I quickly wore it to a nubbin. It fit into my Stad One Touch well and I was able to use it until there was less than a centimeter left. I felt accomplished in using a single pencil until there was an unusable piece left, as if I could measure my learning through the amount of pencil used for notes and writing. Ridiculous right?

Feeling accomplished is a good intrinsic motivator. (For me anyway, I don’t know what intrinsically motivates you.) I like to feel accomplished. For a lot of my life I’ve done things and thought to myself, “Ha, I did that! That’s an accomplishment!” as if knowing that I did something, even a simple thing, was an accomplishment. And when I think more deeply about these thing, even the smallest of chores can be turned into an accomplishment. “I washed the floor! Yay, I accomplished something today!” Looking back at the pencils and learning, learning, other than counting the articles read or papers written, has little in the way of measuring itself daily. Rather, I write a paper and wait for the grade. I read an article and make notes, maybe journal a few ideas that come up. Until the end of the semester there is no way to measure my accomplishment. Enter the pencils. Using up a pencil gives me a measurement of use; notes taken, ideas recorded, and time spent.nubbins

Using a pencil from new down to a nub is not something that can be done in a short period of time. It takes dedicated use, concentration, and a lot of writing. Supposedly, an average (what is average? HB#2?) pencil will write 35 miles of words. That’s a serious amount of writing. Thirty-five miles. How many miles of notes, journaling, ideas, mind dumps, and grocery lists have  I made? Just thinking about writing for 35 miles makes me feel even more accomplished and less ridiculous.

I’m almost finished with a Dixon Ticonderoga Renew Wood. I’ve got an inch and a half left. After that I’m going to finish the last 5 inches of my Staedtler blue Norica from Canada. I’ve had the last 6 inches of a Palomino HB on my desk for a month, that will get the nubbin treatment next. While my enjoyment of using a single pencil down to near nothingness is holding true, I will admit that for ease of use I keep a pencil box full of sharp pencils with me for note taking. I’m going to pare this down to 4 pencils so that I can really focus on how much pencil I’m using. nubbins