What are the best writing utensils available today?
Pens. Cups. Software. Desks. Lamps. A computer. Notepads.
It’s hard to know what to pick and what to skip.
This is particularly true if you’re a writer on a budget who wants to spend money only on the essentials.
Writing can be demanding and difficult, so why make it any harder?
The right set up and writing utensils should improve your creative process rather than complicate it.
For example, taking notes with a good pen is a pleasure, and the right type of software will enable you to publish an article faster.
On the other hand, a cheap pen will leak or break, and a rickety desk will distract rather than support your hard work.
In this ultimate guide, I cover the best writing utensils you need and the ones that are just nice to have.
Please note, this post contains affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you sign up or purchase. I recommend only the tools and products I’ve used or tested myself.
What Are The Best Writing Utensils?
The best writing utensils are more than just pens — they affect our writing experience and inspire the words to flow.
The true magic of great writing utensils is their ability to access your deeper creativity.
A pen that glides effortlessly on paper.
A desk decorated with your personal touches to encourage your productivity.
A desk lamp to help illuminate your work.
Writing courses and editing tools to foster your creativity.
All as you sip on a steaming cup of tea or coffee.
These writing utensils are the dreams of great writers and will help increase your writing success.
How Do You Budget For The Best Writing Utensils?
With so many amazing and inspiring writing utensils available, one of the biggest problems a writer has is working out how to balance a budget with their desires.
It always pays to invest in your writing!
Start by developing a spending plan that includes each of the writing utensils in this article: a pen, paper, a desk, a lamp, personal items, a writing cup and more.
These are the basic writing utensils for anyone serious about their craft. If you’re also into other creative art and craft pursuits, you may need additional writing utensils like an eraser or stylus
Many people prefer the simplicity of pens, whether drafting a novel, writing notes for a blog or making a list.
Each pen-type delivers ink in a different way. Depending on how you hold your pen, some encourage the words to pour out onto the page, and others are scratchy and interrupt your flow.
Pens, like many writing tools, come in all different shapes and sizes for a variety of use cases.
If you want to learn more what to pick, I tested over a dozen different writing pens a while go.
The Best Ballpoint Pen
A ballpoint pen is a reliable purchase. The ink is drawn out of the pen as the point writes on the paper. They tend to use oil-based inks that dry faster and don’t smudge.
The best ballpoint pen is the Uni-Ball Jetstream Retractable Ball Point Pen. This pen delivers fast clean writing on most types of paper and keeps up with your thoughts.
With a range of colours and tip sizes, this pen provides one to suit your style. This ballpoint has a fine point 0.38mm tip.
This popular retractable pen has a clicking button at the top that you can press down as you ponder what you’re writing.
Unlike many pens, the Uni-Ball Jetstream Retractable Ball Point Pen is manufactured in Japan, whereas most pens are manufactured in China.
- Great for left-handed writers
- Refill cartridges available
- Ink dries quickly, requiring pen to be retracted when not in use
- Not designed for heavy-handed writers
- Delivers fast, clean writing that keeps up with your thoughts
- Quick drying ink helps minimize smudging ideal for left handers
- Embossed grip and stainless steel accents make a stylish statement
- Features uni Super Ink that protects against water, fading, and fraud
- Includes: 3 black ballpoint pens; 0.7 millimeter fine point
The Best Fountain Pen
The Pilot Metropolitan pen is a good fountain pen if you haven’t used this type of writing utensil before. It’s reasonably affordable writing implement that is easy to use and comes in many different colours.
I keep one in a cup near my desk.
- Pilot's sleek Metropolitan Collection signature pens
- Finest quality at a mid-range price
- Medium nib
- Ships with 1 Pilot black ink cartridge and 1 Pilot Press Plate Converter
- Black barrel
The Best Gel Pen
Gel pens use pigments rather than dyes, providing a greater variation in colours. The ink is thick and luxurious, perfect if you write slowly in longhand or cursive.
If you want a pen that glides over the paper, then the Uni-Ball Signo UM-151 Gel Ink Pen is a good choice.
One creative option is the vibrant ink colours available. If you fancy something apart from black ink, you can select metallic shimmery colours, but if you want a more whimsical feel, try the pastel colours.
A variety of nibs from 0.7mm to 0.28mm are available. I prefer heavier nibs.
This is a good pen for any writing task, including your next novel.
Fun fact: Japan was the first to manufacture and sell gel pens, in 1984.
- The pigment-based formula is waterproof and unaffected by too much exposure to light
- Great for those with light-handed writing
- Too much pressure leaves sticky, heavy ink on the page
- Takes longer to dry than a ballpoint pen, so might smear if touched soon after
Best rollerball pen
I gravitate towards a roller pen for taking notes quickly and on the go. The Uni-ball Vision Elite Rollerball Pen lasts for quite a while and comes in a variety of tip sizes and colours. I bought a box a year ago and am still using pens from that box
- Airplane Safe ink won’t explode or leak due to a change in cabin pressure during flights
- Vivid steady ink flow and a stylish, business focused design
- Exclusive uni flow ink system provides consistent smoothness and color intensity
- Features uni Super Ink which protects against water, fading and fraud
- Includes: 12 black rollerball pens, 0.8 millimeter bold point, refillable
2. Notebooks and Journals
A writing notebook is a trusted companion for many writers to draft their best-selling novels or keep track of thoughts.
No matter why you use the notebook, putting pen to paper is inspiring.
You could look endlessly at journals and pour through the different reviews to compare quality and price and try to find the best one. To save you time, I believe the following two are great options.
Moleskine Classic Notebook
Many writers, travelers, and journalists speak of the Moleskine Classic Notebook in terms of love poetry.
They are large-lined notebooks, perfect for writing your memoirs, note-taking or journaling.
Colours inspire people differently, so this notebook comes with a wide range of covers from classic black to vibrant purple and other colours of the rainbow just waiting to be filled with your ideas.
The paper feels smooth and is perfectly textured for writing with a ballpoint pen. It’s also heavy enough to handle gel pens. The hardcover is firm enough to write on while braced on your arm or lap, but it will flex as you fill it with writing.
- Excellent quality for a good price
- Lays flat when open
- Attached ribbon bookmark frays
- No place to keep a pen or pencil
- CLASSIC MOLESKINE NOTEBOOK: Moleskine classic notebooks are perfect notebooks for writing journals, a daily diary, or note taking in college classes or meetings. Moleskine notebooks are beloved by travelers & bullet journalists for their slim design.
- DURABLE COVER & ELASTIC CLOSURE: Hold writing projects & notes in your Moleskine notebook with an elastic closure band & inner storage folders. Leather-like classic Moleskine cover & thick, ivory paper pages are perfect for writing with fountain pens.
- GIFT QUALITY NOTEBOOKS: Moleskine planners, journals and notebooks come in hardcover or softcover and colors like black, red, blue, green and brown. The binding and cover have a durable finish, designed for daily journaling, writing and sketching.
- DELUXE QUALITY PAGES: Moleskine's thick, ivory paper pages in a hardcover Moleskine notebook, softcover Moleskine notebook, cahier or volant journal, or Moleskine planner are perfectly textured for writing with a ballpoint pen, fountain pen, or pencil.
- MOLESKINE QUALITY: We're dedicated to culture, travel, memory, imagination, & personal identity—both physical & digital. We bring this commitment to our notebooks, bags, apps & smart pens & notebooks.
Leather Journal Writing Notebook
Designed for pen-and-paper enthusiasts, this handmade Leather Journal Writing Notebook with unlined pages is a special keepsake for your thoughts, plans, and ideas. It’s a good size for your travels too.
A percentage of the profits go to Tehila, a charity in Zambia that promotes the prevention of child cruelty.
It’s gratifying to find an ethically sourced notebook. This journal uses recycled premium cotton leftover from the garment industry cloth in India.
- Ideal for left-handers, with earth-friendly pages and no bleed-through
- 5-star rating with over 300 reviews
- Blank pages can make writing in a straight line difficult
- The leather can stain the pages
Whilst these notebooks will not magically turn you into Hemmingway or Austen, having a notebook that inspires you makes you want to write! Now to find the ultimate writing setup.
- ★ UNLIKE THE DISAPPOINTING FAKE LEATHER JOURNALS MADE BY OTHER BRANDS, Moonster’s leather notebook is made of HAND-CUT, 100% GENUINE WATER BUFFALO LEATHER and premium RECYCLED COTTON PAPER. Handmade in India, our Leather Bound Journal features a BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED, AUTHENTIC DESIGN that will leave its recipients in awe.
- ★ WHILE MANY FAUX LEATHER JOURNALS ARE CONSTRUCTED POORLY, WITH GLUED-ON BINDINGS AND PAGES THAT FALL OUT, our writing journal is a keepsake you’ll have forever, with a HAND-STITCHED COPTIC LEATHER BINDING for pages that stay firmly in place. Filled with 120 sheets/240 pages of creamy, unlined PREMIUM COTTON PAPER recycled from leftover garment industry cloth in India, our travel journal note book is TREE-FREE AND ACID-FREE. This blank journal LIES FLAT, making it a pleasure to write in.
- ★ THE AVERAGE DAILY JOURNAL IS FILLED WITH LOW-QUALITY PAPER THAT degrades the journaling experience. Our writing journals are made with TOP-GRADE MATERIALS, featuring PREMIUM 125gsm EARTH-FRIENDLY PLAIN PAPER that is perfect to write on. NO BLEED THROUGH: Use any ballpoint pen or a slow-flow fountain pen on the handcrafted paper sheets.
- ★ A HANDSOME, THOUGHTFUL GIFT THAT GIVES BACK. For every purchase made, Moonster gives a percentage of its profits to their favorite charity in Africa, that works to PREVENT AND PROTECT CHILDREN FROM CRUELTY AND ABUSE. Our journal for men & women comes beautifully wrapped in an earth-friendly COTTON BAG. Choose between two sizes: 5”X7” OR 8”x6” – the perfect size for travel! ALSO AVAILABLE IN GIFT SETS (Search: B06XDQG92X)
- ★ OUR 365-DAY REPLACEMENT PROMISE: If your rustic journal arrives damaged or you find anything faulty with the craftsmanship, simply CONTACT US DIRECTLY within 1 year and we will send you a FREE REPLACEMENT or FULL REFUND. No questions asked, HASSLE-FREE. Makes an Awesome Anniversary, Graduation, Valentine or Birthday Gift! Buying 2, 3 or 4? SAVE UP TO $8.00! SEE ALL OUR DISCOUNTS BELOW.
3. Arts and Crafts
My daughter spends hours each week following arts and craft DIY YouTubers. She likes copying out pictures that they demonstrate online, using sharpies, a mechanical pencil, a highlighter and other writing utensils.
Calligraphy describes the art of decorative handwriting, typically with a special pen or brush and high quality paper.
If you want to practice this type of creative work, the Mont Marte Calligraphy Set contains all the writing implements you’ll need, including a calligraphy fine tip pen, nib, ink cartridge and an exercise book.
- Four calligraphy pens: classic style calligraphy pens that can be refilled using the included ink cartridges
- Five classic nib grades: extra fine, fine, medium, broad and extra broad nibs
- 20 ink cartridges: this set comes with 20 ink cartridges in seven different colors, 2 x brown, green, pink, orange and yellow, 5 x black and blue
- Introduction booklet: learn the art of calligraphic writing with the included letter-by-letter introduction
- Exercise booklet: practice and refine your skills with the exercise booklet included
We keep packs of Twistables in our house for arts and crafts. They don’t need to be sharpened. As they are non-toxic, a toddler can also use them.
- CRAYOLA TWISTABLES CRAYONS: One Crayola Twistables Crayons Coloring Set with 50 compact Twistable Crayons in a reusable box.
- NO SHARPENING REQUIRED: This exclusive drawing set never needs sharpening or peeling.
- STURDY & DURABLE: A plastic barrel protects the color core. Just twist up to color and down to store away.
- GREAT FOR TRAVEL: Perfect for coloring, drawing, and creating on the go.
- SAFE & NONTOXIC: Non-toxic coloring supplies make a great gift set for ages 3 and up.
A Sharpie Permanent Marker
A Shaprie permanent marker is an essential writing utensil if you or a family member is into arts and crafts. The below is a good set. Just remember to keep them well away from a whiteboard and your erasable set.
- Proudly permanent ink marks on paper, plastic, metal, and most other surfaces
- Intensely brilliant colors create eye-popping, vibrant impressions
- Remarkably resilient ink dries quickly and resists fading and water; AP certified
- Endlessly versatile fine tip makes impressively bold, detailed marks
- Includes 36 Black Sharpie permanent markers
An Erasable Marker
I’ve installed a large whiteboard in my office where I write. I use to plan out to-do list for the week, to outline book chapters and story ideas.
I keep a pack of erasable whiteboard markers like the ones below nearby in four different colours: usually red, blue, black and blue. I opt for a larger tip size for writing on a whiteboard as I find it’s quicker to write with.
4. A Writing Desk
Inspired by your choice of writing utensil and notebook, you’ll want to devote a lot of time writing, so why not opt for a good writing desk?
Which Writing Desk is Best for You?
All writers need a desk to ponder and draft their masterpiece.
The traditional writing desk had a small desktop with drawers to store paper and pens. But as we moved through the ages, we developed computer desks that needed a larger, roomier desktop to house computers and cables.
A writing desk offers you a space to put pen to paper without the distraction of modern-day stresses. For a writer who needs inspiration, the following desks are affordable and practical.
Ameriwood’s Home Haven Retro Desk
Whilst a small writing desk, the Ameriwood Home Haven Retro Desk is a really nice sized desk for a writer or those who have a small space. One great addition is the riser so that items don’t clutter your writing space.
The modern look and colour mean this desk would look good in your apartment or home office.
The metal hairpin legs are a fun throwback to popular mid-century design.
- Riser provides extra space for office supplies and décor
- Light enough to move easily if you rearrange your setup
- Some find assembly complicated (Other reviews say it was simple)
- Design offers no drawers for storage
- Get a perfect work from home solution for smaller spaces with the Ameriwood Home Haven Retro Computer Desk with Riser
- The distressed gray finish with brown undertones coordinates with the powder-coated metal hairpin legs for a fun and unique look
- The Desk is perfect for small spaces and offers a riser for extra storage for office supplies such as pens and pencils while the desktop offers plenty of work space for your laptop, notepad, and papers
- The Retro Desk with Riser ships flat to your door and requires minimal assembly upon delivery. The Desk can hold up to 70 lbs. while the riser can hold 20 lbs. Assembled dimensions: 35.4”H X 44.7”W X 23.8”D
- Coordinate your home office with the entire Haven collection (each sold separately)
Sauder Carson Forge Writing Desk
The Sauder Carson Forge Writing Desk is a small writing desk that features a large workspace along with a small drawer and a flip-down molding that reveals a slide-out shelf for your keyboard, mouse or laptop.
It’s American-made, using engineered wood, and finished in a rustic Washington Cherry finish accented with wrought iron style hardware.
- Finished on all sides, versatile fit for anywhere in any room
- Provides storage options for notebooks
- SUPER heavy. Don’t expect to move it on your own
- Takes time to assemble
Both these writing desks are practical and elegant. Not only will they blend in with the perfect writing environment, but they can also help you smash through your writer’s block.
- Flip-down molding reveals slide-out shelf for keyboard/mouse or laptop
- Small drawer with metal runners and safety stops
- Finished on all sides for versatile placement
- Wrought iron style hardware and accents
- Cord management
5. A Desk Lamp
As a writer, you know good lighting is essential. Desk lamps are an important accessory, even if the lighting in your writing space is good. The best desk lamp will help prevent eye strain and bring inspiration to your writing space.
There are many inexpensive and well-designed options, but I recommend the following lamps as the best options for writers.
Traditional Bankers Lamp
The Traditional Bankers Lamp has a handmade green lampshade that offers a calming radiance to your room. The base is made from heavy brass and keeps the lamp stable. No need to worry whether it will tilt.
This iconic lamp has been used by bankers, copywriters, and journalists for over 100 years and is a favourite prop in movies. I have one of these on my writing desk.
I like them, as I can move the shade backward and forwards and adjust the lighting in my room.
- Supports LED bulbs, incandescent bulbs, and halogen bulbs
- Adjustable shade gives a choice of light intensity
- Not dimmable
- Bulbs not included
- Hand-made Glass: A-class handmade glass, less bubbles, clean cut surface, pretty nice looking . PLEASE NOTE: Since the glass is handmade, it is inevitable there are some little spots (Unnoticeable) on the shade. And please contact us directly if you received the lampshade broken, we will repalce it for you immediately.
- Stable Lampholder: The lamp base is made of nice brass and very heavy to keep stable, no need to worry it will tilt.
- Nice Brass Base: Made of great copper with nice metal luster, makes the light look very vintage and classic.
- Well-packaged: With great designed package , the lamp can be protected very well and make sure you get it perfectly.
- Save Your Worry: Well-packaged, to ensure you get the lamp intact, we used great designed package, the lamp can be protected very well and make sure you get it perfectly. If there are any defect with the bankers lamp in 1 year, please feel free to contact us, we will be here for you anytime you need.
TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
If you want flexibility, the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp is perfect for you, with a bendable neck and a moveable arm.
With a minimalist design, this modern lamp shines a flicker-free light that brightens your writing space without harming your eyes — ideal for writing.
Be aware the light head is short; the light bar is the same height as a computer monitor, but the base takes up some space. Another great feature is it folds down when not in use, leaving just the vertical piece.
I use this lamp for reading.
- Dimmable office lamp with USB charging
- 5 colour modes and 7 brightness levels for reading and writing
- Made from plastic
- Bulbs not replaceable
Both options above will help light up your life and create the ultimate writer’s setup. So now you have the basic equipment, but what about some small touches to make the space yours?
6. Personal Trinkets
Now that you have a functional writing setup, you’ll also want inspiration and stress relief when you’re writing.
Personal touches can make your writing setup feel more comfortable and unique, providing the perfect environment to be more creative and successful.
Solutions are as simple as pencil cups or trays to keep all writing instruments in one place and stress balls to help calm and refocus a busy mind.
Hemingway Pencil Cup
The key to productivity is to keep a clutter-free work desk, which can be a challenge if you have many writing utensils. As a writer who adores antique typewriters, you will smile at this desktop catchall.
The Hemingway Pencil Cup is named after Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway, who is one of the great American twentieth-century novelists known for works like The Old Man and the Sea.
- Quality piece with attention to detail
- Would make a nice gift for a writer
- No separate sections for other items
- Could be deeper
- Typewriter themed design
- Faux stone composite
Funny Motivational Stress Balls
When your sensory channels are overloaded, you can find your ability to write becomes blocked. These Funny Motivational Stress Balls can help. They include funny handpicked quotes like “Keep Calm and Be Awesome.”
Fun fact: The first commercial stress balls appeared in the 1980s, but you can trace them back to China as early as 206 B.C.
- Balls come in a small bag, helpful in keeping them organised
- Perfect for hand exercises and to relieve writer’s finger fatigue
- Some Amazon reviewers say they are too soft.
- If your hands are big, you might find these too small
Creating a writing setup that is inspiring and functional will help you have even more fun with your writing.
But what else do you need?
- ✅ STAY HOME | STAY MOTIVATED: Get through the roughness of lockdown and maintain motivation with a smile on your face 🙂
- ✅ TOP 5 STRESSBALLS ON AMAZON | Our Keep Calm pack was reviewed as one of the top 5 stressball packs on Amazon by BestReviews. Check out their review in the videos below!
- ✅ SENSORY: Physically occupy your mind to re-direct sensory channels and reduce daily feelings of stress. Fidget Accessory for Stress Relief, Special Needs, Focusing, Anxiety, Motivation, ADHD, ADD, Autism and Team Building.
- ✅ HUMOR: Brighten up your day with these cute light-hearted funny handpicked quotes | Keep Calm and Smile 🙂 | Keep Calm and Squeeze! | Keep Calm and Be Awesome | Face Palm and Carry on
- ✅ PERFECT GIFT: The perfect gift idea for the office, teachers, students and colleagues with high anger and anxiety. Pack of four means you can distribute across all the main areas in your daily life such as your room, desk, car and more! Stress relief will always be within an arms length away.
Now it’s time for a break…
7. Writing Cups
As a writer, you can’t deny how important a writing cup for your coffee or tea is when enjoying a well-earned break or even to get you started.
You can choose from hundreds, if not thousands, of different makes and models. Try to choose a writing cup that is durable, spill-proof and keeps the heat in.
The following writing cup keeps your drink hot for hours if you keep the lid on.
Leidfor Insulated Tumbler Coffee Travel Mug
The Leidfor Insulated Tumbler Coffee Travel Mug is double-walled and vacuum insulated to keep your drink the exact temperature you want. It has a spill-proof lid made of food-quality silicone rubber to ensure no leaks on your writing.
Leidfor includes a desiccant bag inside made from natural tea leaves to keep the mug dry. It is natural with no chemical additions. Leidfor offers both the 12 oz. and a larger 17 oz. cup, which holds more liquid than the Bru cup.
- The stylish matte finish won’t show fingerprints
- Cools to the touch with hot beverages, sweat-proof with cold
- The screw-on cover is nominally less convenient than a press-fit one
- Top-rack dishwasher safe; however, hand washing is recommended.
Like great famous writers, you can now sip on your tea or coffee when you write your best masterpiece with these convenient writing cups.
- KEEP HOT AND COLD FOR HOURS - double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel coffee mugs for maximum temperature retention, keeps hot / iced beverage for hours (45°C/113°F)
- Cool to the touch with hot liquids, sweat proof with cold
- SPILL PROOF LID : food quality silicone rubber make sure the sealing tightness & leak proof
- 18/8 STAINLESS STEEL INTERIOR & MATTE FINISH: durable food quality interior and easy gripping, shatterproof, and fingerprint proof exterior
- 12 OZ CAPACITY - right size to go coffee mug for keurig mini and fits most car's cup holder, ideal gift for her him
The Final Word on the Best Writing Utensils
Whether you’re shopping for school supplies or materials to write your book, you can now pick from the best writing utensils!
No longer will you struggle with what to write. Instead, you’ll be inspired to create the masterpieces hiding inside you.
Having the best and most inspiring writing utensils that reflect your personality will help you focus.
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