And writing the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, was therapeutic for the king of horror: “To write the first draft of such a long book by hand put me in touch with the language as I haven’t been in years. I even wrote one night (during a power outage) by candlelight. One rarely finds such opportunities in the twenty-first century, and they are to be savored.”
Today, ballpoint pens and typing on keyboards have become more popular than writing using a fountain pen. However, fountain pens still have their place.
Here are the top reasons why Stephen King loves using fountain pens to write by hand, and why you should too:
Writing With a Fountain Pen Is Therapeutic for Him
The act of handwriting can be rhythmic and calming.
As you write, you’re forced to focus your thoughts. This has the effect of calming your mind, just like meditation.
Expressive writing is particularly effective in healing both psychological and physical ailments.
A small 2002 study from Kansas found that women with breast cancer experienced fewer cancer-related symptoms in the months following expressive writing exercises. The subjects who did expressive writing also had fewer medical appointments.
Just like expressive journaling, writing fiction can be both cathartic and healing. It can help a writer to externalize negative feelings and cope with trauma.
When Stephen King sat down to write after his accident, he hoped it would distract him from his pain.
It was five months after the accident, his leg was in a painful brace, and addiction to Oxycontin was taking root in his system.
Finding it too painful to sit and type at his desk, he picked up a Waterman and started writing.
“Suddenly I had this huge, huge book … I didn’t think about the pain as much. It’s like being hypnotized,” he said of the experience.
King weaved his physical and emotional struggles into the sci-fi/horror tale Dreamcatcher.
One of the novel’s main characters, Jonesy, had been involved in a car accident, obviously inspired by King’s own car crash experience.
In fact, everyone in the story is in pain pretty much the entire time which, while horrifying to readers, would prove a cathartic outlet for Stephen King.
Fountain Pens Help Unleash Stephen King’s Creativity
Studies show that the art of writing by hand improves brain function in various ways.
A study from Indiana University found that the mere action of handwriting taps into creativity that isn’t easily accessed any other way.
Similarly, the University of Washington found that children who wrote by hand were writing more words and expressing more ideas compared to those who typed on a keyboard.
Various other studies have found that children who learn to write by hand learn to read faster. Some researchers claim that cursive handwriting may help in treating people with dyslexia.
“It slows you down. It makes you think about each word as you write it,” Stephen King said of writing using a Watermark Fountain pen.
Upon release, Dreamcatcher was critically acclaimed for its creativity, with the novel incorporating classic elements from King’s older works in order to create something uniquely powerful.
“I think Dreamcatcher is a brilliant exception to the rule,” Stephen King said. “a classic suspense film that will eventually go on the same shelf with movies like Jaws and Alien.”
He even boasted that Dreamcatcher “would do for the toilet what Psycho did for the shower.”
Fountain Pens Write Easily According to Stephen King