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What are the biggest threats to the hobby of fountain pen collecting?

What are the biggest threats to the hobby of fountain pen collecting?

What are the biggest threats to your hobbies in general and fountain pen and ink collecting in particular? When a youngster asked me this a couple of days back, I was taken aback as I had never thought along these lines and did not have a ready answer for him. But the question did have me thinking, and as I continued, the answer, in fact, several of them, appeared before me. Naturally, here I am sharing my thoughts on the matter and I think it will make for interesting, if not downright compelling reading.  

Comparison. The first thing that I have seen many a collector (or hobbyist, if you may) being bowed down by is the constant urge to compare one’s collection with those of others. As I keep saying, a hobby is not about numbers (or value, or anything else for that matter). It is about one’s love and one’s passion. Thus, I feel that a person with two fountain pens is no less a hobbyist than one with two million. The takeaway? Do not compare, keep collecting, writing, doodling, or whatever keeps you happy.  

Comfort. You must get out of your comfort zone to take your hobby to the next level. Buy that exotic pen or the vintage one that seems to be calling you. Play with different nib sizes, different brands, with different types of inks. Get out of your comfort zone, there is a wide world of wonders out there, waiting for you to discover it. Go out and explore. Otherwise, what is a hobby for, if it does not give you the pleasure, or the adventure that you seek?  

Quitting. Do not quit. It is so easy to get bored on the 7th day, your disinterest urging you to take something else up. However, remember, by quitting early you are denying yourself a pleasure that can last a lifetime. Collecting pens and inks and stationery is not only about hoarding, as most of us mistakenly believe. It is also about learning about them, following up on stories that open exciting worlds from the past, or even on a simpler level, helping establish friendships that test time.  

Distraction. Getting distracted is another factor that is a known enemy of collecting. Serious collecting calls for dedication and very often, hobbyists lose their focus. Why this happens is not for us to discuss here, but the fact remains, one must ignore the background chatter in order to continue enjoying every little nuance that the hobby has to offer.   

Net. You must have seen it coming, beware of the net. No, I am not saying this because the net represents the digital while fountain pens are so wonderfully analog. Quiet on the contrary, the resurgence in the hobby has been brought about to a very great extent by the proliferation of the internet, which helped not only the hobby to take root but also by allowing the e-commerce sites to spring up.  I am saying this to warn you against the many self-proclaimed experts – wolves in sheep’s clothing – to take the guise of pen lovers while they are no more than sellers, people who give all sorts of wrong advice to make the quick buck.  

Perfect condition. There is no such thing as a perfect condition to start your hobby. Do not wait for the best time or the most favourable conditions. Take the plunge if you have decided on a particular hobby and are prepared to make it your own. You may never find the pen with which your father had given his school-leaving examinations or the one with which the marriage of your parents was solemnized. If you find them, nothing like it, keep searching by all means, all I am saying is don’t hold yourself back just because you haven’t found them yet.  

Multitasking. Avoid multitasking. Resources are limited, as is time and energy and I believe that the best results can be obtained if we focus our single-minded devotion to the pursuit of any one goal, a hobby in this context. Spread thin, any passion runs the risk of getting diluted and I believe that if one decides to collect pens, then so be it. Make it the raison d’etre.

Procrastination. As they say, procrastination is the thief of time. If you have honed in on collecting fountain pens as your hobby, then wait neither for time nor for tide just jump in. Remember, the more time you spend testing the waters, perhaps, the more will be your regret it once you have the hobby growing on you.

Complaining. And finally, do not complain. That perfect vintage pen that you cherish may already have found a home. That ink bottle from a time between the great wars may just have a chip near the neck. The nib that you covet the most, you may realize, after the acquisition, writes with feedback that you find irksome. Not everything will be perfect, they seldom are. So do not complain.

Make your hobby synonymous with your very being. And write on, for if that is not sheer pleasure what is?

watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYoyNdiEBuA&t=267s


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