Brad Dowdy is no stranger to addiction. He's been sharing his obsessions with pens since 2007 via The Pen Addict blog, developed a successful podcast with Relay FM, and even found time to co-found the impressive brand, Nock Co - that translates his love for stationery and everyday carry into the real world as smartly designed, neat and functional writing carry products.
Hailing from Macon, Georgia - the once assistant golf pro at a country club (that's how he met his future wife) now spends his days living and breathing all the good, bad and ridiculous in the world of pens. He has also (surprisingly) found a way to efficiently divide his time playing several roles: from being an entrepreneur, husband and father to consistently blogging and podcasting each week.
The secret to his success?
Dedication to his passion drives him to deliver the best, fresh content for his fans each week (For his podcast, he still stresses about it every week even after 172 successful episodes) - there is much to learn from this man's addiction.
Brad joined the Grouphunt writing community for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session recently, and his full personality shines through in his responses. Here are some quick highlights:
What's a pen that you think everyone should have in their collection?
I like this question a lot! I'm going with the Lamy 2000. No other pen offers what the 2000 can as far as design, quality, craftsmanship, and value. It's an all-time great in my book.
What are your top five pens of all time?
My Top 5 pens of all time is an ever-changing batch of goodness. Right now, in no particular order:
- Nakaya Portable Writer, Ao-tamenuri finish, Rhodium plated F CI nib
- Pilot Custom Heritage 912 PO Nib
- Pilot Murex
- Newton Shinobi
- Pelikan M405 with XXXF Mike Masuyama nib
What's a good starter kit for beginners, and tips to go along for getting better in calligraphy?
To start with I would go for one of Lamy's stub nibs - either the 1.1mm or 1.5mm - and in either the Safari barrel or the longer calligraphy barrel. And grab a Rhodia pad - any Rhodia pad that looks good to you. And then just practice by picking a style that looks good to you. Find a guide or video and write pages full of single letters until you have it down. This is a true practice makes perfect example.
How does one smooth a cursive italic nib without turning it into a stub or a double broad?
I do this on my cursive italic nibs when the edges are too sharp. Get the finest micro mesh you can (I use 12000 grit), add a drop of water, and write vertical 8's and horizontal 8's very lightly. This takes the edge/sharpness off while retaining the crispness of the line. Just take it slow and easy with light pressure and test as you go. You will feel the difference quickly.
How do you split your time across your various ventures, and any productivity tips for budding entrepreneurs?
That's one of my biggest challenges these days...As a husband and father, as long as I put my family first everything else seems to falls into place. I'm lucky in that I have a great support system so when it is time to focus on my side work I am able to put all my effort into getting those tasks done. I could use an 8 day week sometimes though!
From a productivity standpoint, the faster I can get the idea out of my head and into a capture device (paper or phone) the better off I am. I work great off a simple task list with check boxes for competition or movement. I use an app on iOS called Scratch to capture the initial text and thoughts. From there I can move it into apps like OmniFocus or Clear depending on what type of further action it needs.
Just for laughs - Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses?
I'm taking the horse-sized duck. One, I'd be afraid of getting bitten to death by 100 duck-sized horses, so if I'm going down I'll take the one big beating. I think I could take the duck though.
Join us for more AMA goodness and insights in the near future!
Note: The Q&A content has been edited for clarity and brevity.