Ghosts of Planners Past: Weekly Planners

As part of my struggles with planning, I’ve been reviewing the various planning systems I’ve used over the years and how they have changed. One of the most persistent of these has been the Weekly Planner.

Weekly planners generally take the form of a week on two pages, with the left page used for the actual weekly planner part and the right page used for notes. I’ve used Moleskine pocket weekly planners, I’ve used tiny weekly planners from Word Notebooks for two years (2016 and 2017), and I’ve used a large squared Moleskine notebook that I turned into a weekly planner myself. The format appeals to me, which is why I’ve had some form of a weekly planner with me for well over a decade.

The classic Moleskine weekly spread.

The pluses of the weekly format seem obvious: you can get an overview of your week at a glance without too much clutter. You can easily tell when you can block out time for things, and what is your general availability for the week. You can tell if it’s a “heavy” week or a “light” one and plan your projects accordingly, and you can schedule pre-work and prep for upcoming events. It’s the ultimate planner’s planning format.

The minuses are that you don’t have enough space to plan out the individual days, which usually necessitates a secondary planning system, and that if you live in a country that starts the week on Sunday and not on Monday (like I happen to), your choices in this category are few and hard to come by.

Yet if this format is so compelling, why did I stop keeping a dedicated weekly planner late last year?

The answer is that I wasn’t referencing it enough to justify lugging another notebook around. It was great to get a sense of the week to come as I was planning for it on Friday or Saturday, but once I finished the planning, I would reference it again maybe once or twice a week. That was just not good enough.

My solution for now is to use one of the “Stay on Target” notepads from The Well Appointed Desk‘s Etsy store to create a small weekly plan on one piece of paper that I can see at all times (I keep the pad propped up at my desk). It just has one or two major events for each day tops, and it helps me keep track of my long term goals on a weekly basis (running, blogging, sketching, reading, gym and NTC sessions, meditation sessions, vitamins and fountain pens written dry). Here’s a censored example of next week’s plan:


Like the rest of my planning, it’s messy, not Instagram ready and not festooned with calligraphy, but it’s mine and it’s useful. My handwriting these cold days is beyond appalling, but as I can barely feel my hands even as I laboriously type this out, it’s the best that I can do under the circumstances, and I understand what I’m writing so that’s good enough.

And that is the main takeaway from this entire series (there are a few more posts to come): find what works for you, and don’t create a system that makes you work for it.

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 25: Best Wishes and Closing Thoughts

It’s the final day of Inkvent, and so it’s time to both review the final, 30ml bottle of the set, and review the calendar in its entirety.

Door 25

Day 25’s ink is a larger, 30ml bottle. It’s called Best Wishes, and it’s a very dark and saturated green with green shimmer and a lot of red sheen.

Best Wishes 30ml bottle

It’s quite a dramatic combination, the dark green base being almost black, the red sheen being very prominent and the green shimmer on top. More Halloween appropriate perhaps than Christmassy.

Col-o-Ring swab

My camera had a rough time photographing this ink. It’s the combination of the shimmer and the dark ink maybe that made it a bit blurry. In any case, the base ink is so dark that you can hardly tell that it’s a green at times.

52 gsm Tomoe River paper sketch

Here it is from another angle:

52gsm Tomoe River paper sketch.

This ink takes ages to dry, because it’s so saturated. I smudged the sketch above and this writing sample took a good long time to properly dry. If you’re left handed, I’d steer well away from Diamine Best Wishes. If you like the drama, then maybe it’s the ink for you. Personally I would have preferred a lighter or more interesting green with a chameleon effect and no sheen.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper

It’s summary time! Looking at this year’s Inkvent, I’m very pleased with the selection of inks, the spread of ink properties amongst them, and the overall value of this experience. I like that we got new chameleon inks, and I appreciated that there were less red inks in this year’s edition, and quite a good number of uniquely coloured inks. Reviewing the whole 25 inks involved, I think that Dusted Truffle, Memory Lane, Solar Storm, Ghost, Olive Swirl, Arctic Blast, Deck the Halls, and One More Sleep are the stand outs for me. Olive Swirl, Memory Lane, Dusted Truffle and Deck the Halls are inks that I plan on buying full bottles of once the green edition bottles come out. Ghost and Arctic Blast might join them too. If you like red inks, the Spiced Apple is fantastic. There are other great inks to have here, depending on your personal taste.

It was quite an endeavour, to fill fountain pens 25 times with ink and write, sketch and post a review of an ink a day. I don’t know if Diamine will create a 2023 Inkvent calendar, or if I will be able to write another set of reviews like this, but it was a wild and fun ride creating these reviews for the blog this year.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. I hope you got some cool pens and ink under the tree.

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 24: One More Sleep

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! It’s day 24 of Diamine Inkvent.

Door 24

Day 24’s ink is Diamine One More Sleep, a standard grey blue ink.

One More Sleep bottle

Diamine One More Sleep is a lovely grey blue with a lot a shading and a hint of lavender in the background.

Col-o-Ring swab

I love this shade of ink as it works well for sketching and for writing. It’s also a calm and relaxing colour, very appropriately named.

Sketch on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

Today’s writing sample is a little melancholy, as I reflect on the wave of well established pen shops that are closing down by the end of the year. This ink colour seems to encourage reflection, something I find myself doing more often since I received my cancer diagnosis a year and a half ago. If you don’t have an ink in this bluish grey light purple shade I recommend getting one, whether it’s Diamine One More Sleep or something similar by a Japanese or Korean maker.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 23: Celebration

It’s day 23 of the Diamine Inkvent calendar.

Door 23

Day 23’s ink is Diamine Celebration, a coral ink with shimmer.

Celebration bottle

Celebration is between pink and orange, a bright and vibrant ink with plenty of orange shimmer. It look like Diamine Coral with added pizzazz.

Col-o-Ring swab

This ink would definitely cheer you up on a dark and gloomy day, as it practically glows in the page. Is it practical? No. Is it fun and interesting? Yes, particularly if you haven’t got an ink like Diamine Coral.

Sketch on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

Would I use a bottle of this? No. I have a bottle of Diamine Coral already, and I don’t need another one but with shimmers in it. But this ink certainly belongs in this calendar, and I’m glad that Diamine chose this hue instead of another red.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 22: Deck the Halls

It’s day 22 of Diamine’s Inkvent (check out that snowflake!):

Door 22

Day 22’s ink is Diamine Deck the Halls, a dark purple chameleon ink, and an interesting one at that.

Deck the Halls bottle

Deck the Hall is dark and saturated, with just a hint of shading and a fascinating chameleon effect. I was expecting something with a silver, green or blue shimmer, but Deck the Hall shimmers from coppery orange to pink.

Col-o-Ring swab

I don’t really like this dark eggplant colour, bu the chameleon shimmer effect here works very well, because of its strong contrast with the base colour. The effect reminded me of a hummingbird’s wings flashing.

Sketch on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

I don’t really like the base colour so I don’t see myself buying a full size bottle of Diamine Deck the Halls. That being said, this ink is very Inkvent appropriate and an interesting ink with a lot of character.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper.

Bonus: the signature I mentioned in my writing sample:

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 21: Cosy Up

It’s day 21 in the Diamine Inkvent calendar.

Door 21

Day 21’s ink is Diamine Cosy Up, a standard bubblegum pink.

Cosy Up bottle.

Cosy Up is a bright and cheerful colour with a lot of shading. If you like Diamine Coral you’ll likely like Cosy Up too.

Col-o-Ring swab

I’m not a big fan of pink inks, but this one made me smile. It’s a very Barbie appropriate colour, one that Elle Woods would have loved.

Sketch on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

There are a lot of ink options in this shade of pink in the market, so there’s no reason to prefer this one when it comes out, unless you are a fan of the bottle. That being said, it was nice getting a little sample of this in this year’s Inkvent.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 20: Arctic Blast

It’s day 20 in Diamine’s Inkvent and we are at the home stretch.

Day 20 door

Day 20’s ink is Diamine Arctic Blast and it is almost the polar opposite of yesteday’s Silent Night. If yesterday’s ink was a standard and boring blue black, today’s ink more than makes up for it.

Diamine Arctic Blast bottle

Diamine went all out with this one: Arctic Blast is a rich royal blue with both a red shimmer, and a pink to blue chameleon effect. Yes, it is both a shimmer and a chameleon ink, and the result make it almost look neon in certain angles. A colour that would have felt welcome in the 80’s.

Col-o-Ring swab

This is such a fun combination that you forget that it’s another saturated blue with red shimmer ink, because it isn’t. The chameleon effect makes this ink pop, and the combination may be hard to photograph but is quite striking.

Sketch on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

This ink more than makes up for yesterday’s Silent Night, and while I likely won’t buy a full bottle of it, I plan to thoroughly enjoy Arctic Blast’s neon vibes while I still have a sample of it.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 19: Silent Night

It’s day 19 in Diamine’s Inkvent and we’re reaching the point where the calendar becomes very light to pick up.

Door 19

Day 19’s ink is Diamine Silent Night, a standard blue black, with a little bit of red sheen (because it’s so saturated). That’s it. that’s all there is to it.

Diamine Silent Night bottle.

There’s nothing of interest to write about this ink. It’s got practically no shading properties, it’s a dark greyish blue ink undifferentiated from the dozens of other blue black inks in the market (including a good number of Diamine’s own lineup).

Diamine Silent Night Col-o-Ring swab.

Here’s a sketch of blue whale and a diver in the sea. There’s nothing much to see here in terms of the ink’s behaviour.

Diamine Silent Night on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

Silent Night, like other blue blacks, is a very good everyday writing ink. Is it festive? No. Is it unique? Also no. Should it have been included in this year’s Inkvent? There are 25 inks in the calendar and there are bound to be at least one or two that are uninteresting, like Silent Night. That being said, some people may want to purchase a full bottle of this to gift away to a newcomer to fountain pen ink. It’s a beautiful bottle, after all, and still a relatively inexpensive ink.

Diamine Silent Night on 68gsm paper.

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 18: Olive Swirl

It’s day 18 in Diamine Inkvent. Exciting, I know 🙂

Door 18

Day 18’s ink is Diamine Olive Swirl, an olive green chameleon ink with a good amount of shading and a whole lot of class.

Diamine Olive Swirl bottle

Diamine Olive Swirl is a very cool colour – a pretty vibrant olive green with the coolest chameleon effect. The shimmers here change from pinkish copper to green, and it is a very attractive combination with the base colour.

Diamine Olive Swirl swab on Col-o-Ring

I like sketching with unusual colours every once in a while, and even though I don’t sketch with shimmer inks, I can see myself sketching with Olive Swirl. The base colour is so good and the chameleon shimmer is subtle and yet adds so much interest to it, that I really enjoyed sketching this sea turtle with it.

Sketch on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

Of the chameleon inks so far, Olive Swirl is by far my favourite. Green and pink are a classic combination, and the fact that you see the pink only in certain angles and so very subtly adds a lot to this ink’s charm. Definitely an ink I see myself purchasing in the future.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 17: Flame

It’s day 17 in the Diamine Inkvent calendar, and check out that cool snowflake:

Door 17

Day 17’s ink is Diamine Flame, an orange standard ink. Yay for standard inks again!

Diamine Flame bottle

Diamine Flame is a bright orange with some shading and did I mention that it’s a standard ink? No shimmer, sheen, sparkles or scent. Nice for a change.

Diamine Flame on Col-o-Ring

I am continuing my animal theme for now, this time with a sketch of a clown fish. You can see Diamine Flame’s shading and outlining properties quite well here”

Diamine Flame on 52gsm Tomoe River paper

Diamine Flame is dark enough to be legible without losing its orange nature (it’s not too red, in other words). Will I buy a full bottle of this? Likely not, as I don’t normally use orange inks. It is, however, a well behaved, interesting enough orange ink for me to recommend it if you are looking for something in that shade and find Diamine more affordable/accessible than Robert Oster, Pilot Iroshizuku or Montblanc.

Writing sample on 68gsm Tomoe River paper