Can You Write Normally With a Fountain Pen?

In a world where everything seems to be moving faster and faster, some people are choosing to slow down and take the time to enjoy the simple pleasure of writing by hand…and fountain pens are the PERFECT example of this.

But can you write normally with a fountain pen?

Yes, you can absolutely write normally with a fountain pen! In fact, many people find that writing with a fountain pen can be even more comfortable and enjoyable than using a regular ballpoint or rollerball pen. However, there are a few small tweaks you may need to make to your writing style in order to get the best results.

Here are a few tips for writing with a fountain pen:

1 – Each fountain pen (and nib) will write differently

The first time you write with a fountain pen, it may feel a bit strange. This is because each fountain pen (and its nib) will write differently

  • Some pens are heavy. Some are light.
  • Nibs come in all shapes and sizes and weights (Fine, Medium, Bold, etc).
  • Fountain pens often flow ink a bit differently (and oftentimes faster) than other pens.

All of these factors can affect the way your fountain pen feels in your hand and how it writes on paper.

some pen nibs are shaped differently (like the calligraphy style above)
some pen nibs are shaped differently (like the calligraphy style above)

But no, fountain pens are not hard to use in general.

2 – Fountain pens take some getting used to!

If you’re coming from a ballpoint pen, it will definitely take some time to get used to writing with a fountain pen (see reasons above).

The name of the game is PRACTICE! If it feels silly at first, that’s okay…just keep writing and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

See this article as well: How to write fast with a fountain pen.

Me, practicing my handwriting (also, it's "jumps," not "jumped")
Me, practicing my handwriting (also, it’s “jumps,” not “jumped”)

Take it nice and slow, and get used to the way the ink flows from the pen to the paper. And have fun! After a few days of writing casually, your handwriting will start to become much more natural and fluid.

3 – Use the right paper

my Rhodia notepad (and Leuchhturm1917 underneath)
my Rhodia notepad (and Leuchhturm1917 underneath)

Not all paper is created equal! Fountain pens work best with thicker paper weights (80gsm and thicker), else the ink may bleed through to the other side of the page, smear, etc.

Not only does this affect how it FEELS to write, but of course it’ll also affect how your writing looks.

Our favorite paper/notebook brands are:

How to choose a fountain pen

There are several factors to consider when choosing a fountain pen, such as:

Pen size (and weight)

Yes, they make fountain pens in a “mini” size, but for the most part, fountain pens tend to be a bit larger than your standard ballpoint or rollerball pen (oftentimes made with heavy materials like metal or brass! Those are super heavy).

You should consider the size of your hands (and the pens you currently find most comfortable) when choosing a fountain pen.

I have larger hands, and while pen size doesn’t matter as much to me, I prefer a heavier pen! Lighter pens don’t feel natural.

Nib size/shape/weight

A fountain pen “nib” is the part of the pen that actually touches the paper. It’s the metal tip (usually made of gold, steel, or titanium) that transfers ink.

The first option you’ll see is the “weight,” i.e. how thick are the lines.

  • EF (extra fine) – super thin lettering
  • F (fine) – thin lettering
  • M (medium) – normal handwriting
  • B (bold) – thicker than normal handwriting

I’ve found that bold nibs tend to look best with my handwriting, but you’ll have to experiment a bit to see what works best for you!

The next thing to consider is the “shape” of the nib.

If your goal is to write normally, you’ll probably want to AVOID fancy, decorative nibs (italic nibs, flat nibs, etc). The lettering on these types of nibs often looks too ornate for everyday writing. (and again, you’ll have to get used to it).

Related Post: Are Fountain Pens And Calligraphy Pens The Same? and are fountain pens good for everyday use?


Obviously, budget is going to play a big role in your decision. A fountain pen can range from $5 – $500 (and sometimes more!). Yes, that’s a massive range.

And yes, this doesn’t really affect how you write with it, as even budget fountain pens can feel amazing!

Ink refilling system

There are two main types of ink refilling systems: cartridge/converter and piston.

There’s no right or wrong answer here, and this doesn’t affect how you actually write with the pen. It’s just a preference!

Some people prefer cartridges because they’re easy to change out and don’t require you to purchase larger, more expensive bottled ink. (which is actually cheaper in the long-run actually–just a larger upfront investment).

They also sell cartridge converters, which you can insert into your fountain pen so that you can use any type of bottled ink. (it becomes a piston refilling system).

Can Lefties Write with A Fountain Pen?

The common myth is that left-handed people can’t use fountain pens because the ink smudges.

This is NOT true! If you’re a lefty, you can absolutely enjoy the beauty of writing with a fountain pen.

You just have to take a few extra precautions, such as:

  1. Use thicker paper weights (or put extra blotted paper underneath the page) to soak up any excess ink.
  2. Use a “dry” or “fast-drying” ink to minimize smudging.
  3. Try using a left-handed nib. These are specifically designed to help prevent smudging and reduce “feedback” (i.e. feeling the nib scratching the paper).

How to write with a fountain pen:

Although you can totally write normally with a fountain pen, here are few extra tips to help you get the best writing experience:

1 – Make sure you’re holding the pen correctly

You’ll want to gently grasp the pen just above the nib in a 3-pronged fashion, and hold the pen at a 45-degree angle (more or less), with the “face” of the nib pointed up.

See here for our full guide on how to hold a fountain pen.

2 – Take it slow!

If you’re coming from a ballpoint pen, it’ll take a bit of time to get used to the flowing ink.

Start with slow, deliberate strokes and gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable.

3 – Don’t bear down hard. Use light strokes.

The ink from a fountain pen flows differently, and there’s no need to press down as hard. In fact, if you press too hard, you might end up bending the nib! Just use light, consistent strokes and let the ink flow.

4 – Just write normally (after a while)

It’ll take a few days to get used to, but try to enjoy the experience and eventually you’ll find that you can just write normally with a fountain pen.

Related: Fountain Pen vs Calligraphy Pen – the 9 differences & similarities.

Conclusion: Can you just “write normally” with a fountain pen?

Although it might take some getting used to, you can definitely write normally with a fountain pen. Fountain pens offer a unique and enjoyable writing experience that many people find superior to other types of pens.

Whether you’re a righty, lefty, small-handed or big-handed person, you can find a fountain pen that’s comfortable for you to write with. Just experiment with different pens and inks until you find the perfect match!

Related: Are fountain pens better? (9 pros and cons)

Fountain Pen Writing F.A.Q.

Can you use a fountain pen for regular writing?

Yes, you can use a fountain pen for regular writing. Though you might need to practice a bit to get used to the ink flow (and also use thicker paper to prevent smudging or bleed).

How difficult is it to write with a fountain pen?

It’s not difficult to write with a fountain pen, but it might take a bit of time to get used to the ink flow! Each fountain pen is different, so you’ll just need to experiment with a few to find the right one for you. Otherwise, you can absolutely write normally with a fountain pen.

Do fountain pens make you write better?

Yes and no. By default, there is nothing about a fountain pen that will improve your handwriting, or make it easier to get pretty letters, etc. On the other hand, writing with a fountain pen can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience–and this can often lead to better (and more consistent) handwriting. That, and you can purchase different nib weights (fine, bold, etc.), which can slightly change the way your handwriting looks.