How to Write Fast With a Fountain Pen (4 Key Tips)

When you first get into fountain pens–you’ll understand. It’s a DRASTIC change coming from ballpoint or gel pens!

But not to worry–fountain pens do NOT require you to write slowly.

Here’s how to write fast with a fountain pen:

  • Gain experience! The more you write with fountain pens, the better you get at it
  • Make sure you’re using quality paper (that absorbs ink properly, 80 gsm plus)
  • Choose a finer nib (which releases slightly less ink)
  • Don’t put too much pressure on the page

When I first started with a fountain pen, I was legit upset that it looked SO BAD, and I had to slow down in order to just form the letters.

But eventually, I figured it out, and now I can probably write FASTER with a fountain pen.

Here are the factors that affect fountain pen speed:

What makes writing slower–or faster?

The big ones are…

Ink flow.Fountain pen inks are more watery and take longer to dry. Writing too fast can yield sloppy lettering, bleeding, running, etc. This is REALLY noticeable the first time you use a fountain pen.
Nib choiceYou’ll need to try out different nib sizes (the metal part at the end of the pen) to see what gives you the least resistance to writing. Finer nibs release less ink overall (and so you don’t need to wait as long before the ink dries).
Paper quality.Does the paper absorb your ink well? The higher GSM the better (80 GSM is good, 120+ is even better). Some papers are harder to soak ink than others. And some brands of paper work better than others 📔 – I’ve used Rhodia for years, and it’s amazing how smooth the ink goes on.
Your experience levelWhen you first learn to hold a fountain pen, it takes a bit of getting used to! We believe you absolutely SHOULD slow it down and practice how the pen works! But that said, the more you use fountain pens, the more comfortable you are with them and the faster you’ll get at writing with them

Here’s how to write fast with a fountain pen:

With all that in mind, let’s get some tips for writing faster with your fountain pen.

Related Reading: Are fountain pens messy? (A cleanliness guide)

1 – Don’t bear down on the page with pressure!

Fountain pens work using gravity. You don’t push down on the nib; instead, you let the nib rest on your writing surface and let the ink cartridge flow out naturally. (ballpoint pens are the opposite, they REQUIRE pressure to function).

It takes getting used to, for sure.

But once you adjust the pressure–you’ll find your writing speed increasing (and also, you’ll find your fingers, hands, and wrists are less sore after long writing sessions!)

2 – Choose fine or medium nibs.

The smaller the nib, the less ink flows into each letter.

This will mostly affect the speed and which the ink absorbs into the page (and if you want to write faster, you’ll want the ink to soak in faster as well).

A larger nib will expel more ink (meaning you’ll need to wait longer before it has absorbed completely onto the page)–but I’ll also add that I find broader nibs to write more “smoothly.”

I don’t think this affects speed a lot–but more of a “feel” thing. It’s just my personal preference. I’d rather enjoy writing–than obsess over writing fast.

3 – Make sure to use quality (thick) paper!

Here are some brands you can’t go wrong with:

  • Rhodia
  • Leuchtturm
  • Midori
  • Clairfontane

There are loads more–but using a fountain pen on cheap paper sucks!

How thick should paper be for a fountain pen?

The paper has to be thick enough to support the weight of the pen AND absorb lots of ink. I recommend a minimum of 80 GSM , and 120 GSM would probably be better. Otherwise, you’ll wear your pages thin or find that the ink bleeds through.

4 – Practice writing!

And to be honest–SLOW DOWN.

When you’re taking notes at a meeting–feel free to increase your speed.

writing faster with fountain pen

But when you’re practicing, it’s important NOT to crank up the speed unnecessarily. Penmanship takes time to develop, and practicing slower will help your muscles develop in the right ways.

Muscle memory = better writing at faster speeds.

Take time to practice, deliberately and slowly–so that you CAN increase speed and have it look good.

5 – Be intentional depending on what you’re writing.

People (like us?) are into fountain pens because they’re beautiful and because they like how they write. Writing isn’t a chore or a slog–it’s an art form.

So it’s ok to take it slow and enjoy the PROCESS sometimes!

But when you need to write fast?

Don’t hesitate. Your handwriting won’t’ look as good as when you go slow. That’s just part of the game! You gotta do what you gotta do–and if it’s a tiny bit sloppy, that’s ok. Just enjoy that process, too 😎

Conclusion: Can you actually write faster with a fountain pen?

Yes! It’s possible–but it might take time and practice to reach that point. My advice is to start with a really fine nib (and some quality paper) and build on your speed gradually. Don’t think you should push things immediately–you’ll only end up frustrated.

Fountain Pen Speed F.A.Q.s

What is the best way to write with a fountain pen?

There’s no right or wrong way to write with a fountain pen (assuming you’re holding it correctly with the nib “face” facing upward). But since they function differently from a ballpoint pen, you may need some time to familiarize yourself with how they work, before you can max out your speed. Don’t hesitate to start off nice and slow (to get used to how the ink flows), and increase speed as you grow more comfortable with your writing technique.

Do you write better with a fountain pen?

Not necessarily. After you first switch from ballpoint or gel pens, you might actually find it much more difficult to produce quality handwriting. But as you slow down and get used to how the ink flows from a fountain pen, your speed should improve eventually. And if you take the time to really practice and master the instrument, your handwriting will surely increase in quality!

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