The great writers of the past used quills and fountain pens—decidedly painstaking methods of putting words to paper, especially as compared to our own modern conveniences. But it is for that very reason that their words so often conveyed great power and beauty. These instruments required the writer to approach the process deliberately, and with a greater awareness of purpose.
Having to pause every few seconds to dip the pen’s nib back into the inkwell created small but significant spaces of time in which the writer could choose the next few words with care. Having to be mindful not to smudge the paper before the ink was dry created an aura of reverence for the page and, therefore, the words written upon it. Even the paperweight that kept the pages from flying away with the opening of a door or window might have served to keep the writer grounded in his own narrative.
Although, as readers, we are not meant to be aware of such things, the writer’s chosen instrument is what often allows us to see and feel the care that went into the creation of some of the world’s greatest works. Take a look at the Declaration of Independence as an example. Not only are the words powerful, but even the penmanship is beautiful, making the whole of the document worthy of our awe.
You don’t need a fountain pen to write beautiful words, but try it sometime. You may discover entirely new dimensions of style in your writing, and the true depth and breadth of your voice.