Can an Ergonomic Pen Make You a Better Writer?


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

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What’s up with writers?

We don’t write books or stories. We type them. We don’t even write notes – we send email. We don’t write checks – we use debit cards. Or online bill pay.

We don’t write. We type.

Are we typers instead?

Excuse the inner Seinfeld. The Uglee Pen Company sent me a set of three UGLee Pens. They’re the ergonomic pen designed to combat hand fatigue when you write.

That’s great, for a journal writer stranded on a desert island or engaged student. How do the rest of us subject ourselves to hand fatigue?


I’ll hand-write a post to test it.

And you thought Mike Rowe was gritty.

# # #

It’s tough to even find a pen.

And my handwriting. I write like a doctor, without the six-figure salary or Adam Scott’s golf game.

My GPS, wallet and work badge know this: I misplace stuff. Like pens.

UGLee Pen sent me three. They’re smooth. They’re comfortable. They’re … ugly.


They picked the right dude to review these, right?

I don’t know where the other two comfort pens are.

You know who can keep track of his pens?

Stephen King.

Yeah, that Steven King.

I carried his bags as concierge at a Hilton in Charlotte. The man keeps six ballpoint pens in the front right pocket of his jeans.

And I can’t keep up with three UGLee Pens.

We’re both writers, you know. Like Jose Mourinho and I are both soccer coaches. Or, like Elvis and I both sing “Love Me Tender.”

Stephen King is an excellent tipper, Red Sox fan and conversationalist. He carries a messenger bag stuffed with steno pads stuffed with hand-written gold.

I assume it’s scary, and not notes on his fantasy baseball team or lobster recipes.

When he arrived, a girl at the front desk said, “that dude looks like Stephen King.”

This happens a lot in the hotel business.

“Man, that kid looks like a 10-year-old Mr. Bean.”

photo credit: discutivo via photopin cc
photo credit: discutivo via photopin cc

“Wow … that lady looks like Elsa Pataky – from behind.”

“This dude looks like an old, white Ceelo Green.” (True story. We’d hum “Crazy” as he got his room keys. He had to have known.)

[Hand-fatigue check: So far, so good, at page 2.5. But I could use a snack.]

I stood behind Stephanie as she typed in Mr. King’s details. She pointed to the screen without a word: STEPHEN KING.

“Mr. King, I said with all the authority of a man making $10 an hour who directed those who made $9. “It’s a pleasure to have you with us.”

Faster than a “Carrie” nightmare, I gathered the staff to remind them of our “no autograph” policy. And of the “don’t pester great American novelists with stupid questions” clause I made up on the spot.

“If we’re cool,” I said, patient as a Christian dating site, “maybe he’ll have dinner at our restaurant.”

Mr. King, for a one-night stay, needed a hand with his luggage. With our bellman in the shuttle on a Taco Bell run an airport pickup, I stepped up to the luggage cart.

This man, with a bag of potentially frighteningly brilliantly frightening hand-written stories, walks with me to the elevator and says, “so, what’s your story?”

“Well Mr. King,” I should have said, “I’m a former writer stuck in the hospitality business. I loved your book “Christine.” I also loved Sarah in ‘The Dead Zone,’ in a confused adolescent way.”

Instead, I said, “Well, I used to be a sports writer.

photo credit: J Tammaro via photopin cc
photo credit: J Tammaro via photopin cc

“And I hate the Yankees.”

This led to baseball talk between great American writers.

Like LeBron James and Cheech Marin in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

Stephen King slipped me a 10 and patted me on the back.

[Uglee Pen check: I’m feeling good. Not tired a bit. And I forgot all about the snack.]

Stephen King visited the front desk for a bottle of orange juice. Remember Stephanie, the front-desk clerk who checked him in?

“You know what you should do?” she said in her Long Island way. “Write a novel about a hotel.”

“Um, I did,” he said, and pushed up the glasses on his nose.

“Ever hear of ‘The Shining’”?

Stephen King ate at our restaurant. The road warrior business folks checked in, unaware, 20 yards away. Some probably had copies of “Dr. Sleep,” “Misery” or “Cujo” tucked in their overnight bags.

Someone photocopied his registration card and switched the original. Someone might or might not have given it to my sister for Christmas. It might or might not sit framed in her den.

No one probably knows it’s missing.

Like my Uglee Pens. We’re giving away a set of three. Drawing will be held a week from today. Leave a comment below for an entry. Get extra entries if you:


Better luck keeping track of yours than me.

Grace spent Sunday writing on napkins to see if her hand got tired. It didn’t. Elise said she’d taken one for school. She loves it. Marie wants this one when I’m done. Imagine that. My kids, taking notes. Happily.

Now that’s scary.

Right Stephen King?

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

61 thoughts on “Can an Ergonomic Pen Make You a Better Writer?

  1. No Uglee pens were harmed in the writing of this blog. I always carry a pen and notebook Eli, who knows when you need to jot down a quick shopping list, right? Met Stephen King eh? I’m impressed Mate. Still chortling over the receptionist telling him he should write about a hotel. Hmm, someone might have his card eh? I wonder? Good one Mate.

    1. I really should have noted that safety point, Laurie. I have the idea that a pen would be a great accessory at all times – but when it comes to finding one, I do that great man pocket-pat looking everywhere for one.

      Stephen King was so awesome, but I must say I was more awesome to not act like a fool when I got a little one-on-one time with him. He’s so cool. And those stories. It was tough not to be fan boy.

      I just don’t think the archived registration cards at the Hilton are any place for such a piece of Americana, mate. I’m a hero for saving it.

      1. Nothing as handy as a pen Mate, I have a Parker pen, with the gold bits on it, have to sign books with something. I used to have a pen-gun back in the day though, a dandy little US Navy pilot’s flare pen that also took .22 rounds. That’s when the pen is mightier than the sword. I’m impressed that you didn’t go girly on SK and swoon or anything. I wouldn’t mind a chat over coffee with him. Coming back from the injuries he suffered is remarkable enough as it is. Eli, you are a hero indeed for saving that card. It could have ended up in area 51 or somewhere deeper.

      2. Dead right, I can see it now, miles of huge boxes. Intrepid adventurers being led by Indiana Jones, lanterns held high they search for the elusive booking card. They eventually give up, exhausted, demoralised.

  2. I’m not sure what I loved most about this post. The fact that you met Stephen King or the fact that Stephanie had the gall to suggest to the Great Stephen King that he should write a book about a hotel! Okay Stephanie, sometime in the next millennium you’ll be able to forgive yourself, she says! Great post Coach, but I have to tell ya, we’re kinda jealous that you got to meet Stephen King!! We would’ve totally Kathy Bates the man, running around behind him making pig noises and repeating. “We’re your number one fan!”. Call the police, we have a psycho Irish, mother daughter writing duo who’s stalking Stephen King!
    On another note, I think we’re going to start a petition in honor of Coach Daddy’s idea, to change the word “Writer” to the better word: “Typer”. Hmmm. let’s give it a try:
    “And what is it you do for a living Mr. King?”
    “I’m a Typer.”
    Yep, it’s a go! Sharing this now as one typer to another! 😉

    1. Thanks! Just imagine, Stephanie is probably immortalized in a Stephen King interview somewhere, when he’s asked about things he’s been asked about.

      She should get “The Shining” on her Kindle, or whatever it is the kids use these days.

      I was so cool when it came to Stephen King. Kim Alexis, too. I checked her in. It was every boy’s dream who’d ever fawned over a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

      It felt all old-school and fun to write a post by hand. I felt all Tennessee Williams or Henry David Thoreau. But my handwriting becomes more atrocious with every letter.

  3. As always, this post is chockful of awesome. My favorite line: patient as a Christian dating site. Hilarious! Now if only you could get Mike Rowe to narrate your tale…

    Believe it or not, I still handwrite most of my work notes. I have stacks of notebooks piled on my bookshelf full of scribbled notes from boring meetings & conferences. I also like to keep handwritten to-do lists. There’s something so satisfying about crossing off an item. Love this, Eli!

    1. Why thank you, Nicole. I figure you have to be pretty patient if you’re looking for love with others who give all their love to God, or something like that.

      Mike Rowe nothing – Kristen Bell will always be my No. 1 choice to narrate my tale.

      You’re old-school with the work notes. Maybe Stephen King’s bag was actually filled with your meetings and conferences notes. Do you ever draw during meetings?

      I tried to-do list, but I lose them. I need a list of my to-do lists to remind me where I’ve left them.

      1. Same here! I love Bangor. When are we all going back? (I did resist making the Bangor jokes)

  4. I have to say I really enjoyed this post, whether or not I win any UGLee pens. And for the record, I do actually write with a pen on paper many of my blog posts while sitting in the car waiting at practice. There is something about a pen and paper that helps me write sometimes. I don’t know what it is. I have read most of Stephen King’s books…the ones I didn’t was because they scared the crap out of me. He’s very talented. I just read Under The Dome not too long ago and it was excellent.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I think when you actually write your posts, you’ve earned the title “scribe,” which just sounds cool. If I could easily read my handwriting, that might work for me.

      Plus, with pen and paper, I’m tempted to doodle.

      Stephen King once said his books even scare him. I started “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon,” but it’s tough when my Marie wears her Sox cap to continue that one.

      He is pretty awesome.

  5. I sometimes prefer writing to typing,,,especially when I have to fight my son for my computer. I am forever jotting notes (I have 7 journals) and potential posts on scraps of paper (in my purse, in the car, all over the house) and losing them (the scraps and the journals). I also rip out interesting magazine articles. I lose those too! 😦

    1. You mean, your kid doesn’t fight you for the pen and pad? Most of the notebooks I own have the first three or four pages written on – that’s as far as I get before I misplace them!

  6. I rarely write with a pen and paper anymore. Mostly just lists, nothing long or drawn out. My penmanship used to be okay, but now it’s scary. Maybe Stephen King could write a novel about that…

    1. I was surprised how awful my handwriting was. It’s one thing to list tortillas, Coke Zero and butter on a shopping list – it’s something else to write an 800-word post!

      Your penmanship might be scary – but he’s already written a book with your name, Carrie.

  7. I was just saying this the other day – writing is really just..thinking… It’s the way we think and put it into words. And I have the handwriting of a drunk 12-year-old boy. I always have. I probably always will.
    That story was..gripping. And a story in itself that is actually better than a lot of his writing. Although I do like his stories.

    1. Woah – deep. And the drunk 12-year-old … that has to be on Dr. Phil. With you, of course. For a writing contest.

      Glad you saw the writing on the wall with my post. The one I actually penned. I penned a post.

      Woah – deep.

  8. I love to write things down – especially my “to-do” lists!!
    So cool that you actually had a conversation with Stephen King – that is a great story and I would have taken something (like a registration card!!), too – gotta have a moment of that kind of thing.

    1. You can mark off “enter UGLee Pen contest” on your list.

      My sister was disappointed I actually spent the 10 bucks he gave me. wouldn’t he want me to get that bacon cheeseburger?

  9. what a fantastic story and somehow it is amazing how you can come up with stunning and brilliant things you should have said, after the moment has passed. do you have a dog who may have eaten one of the pens?

    1. I’m classic for that, although every once in a while, I’ll get that vision just in time. No dogs, only cats and goldfish around here, and I haven’t found remnants of UGLee pens in the kitty litter.


  10. Love this so much! It was such a fun post and I just had to say so, entry or not (although I am a pen hoarder but really kind of like pretty pens…) I would love to meet Stephen King so I’m just a tad jealous and if by some crazy chance your sister should actually have that registration card in her den, that would be really cool.
    Poor Stephanie….I actually cringed!

    1. Thanks Sandy! Trust me, my girls swiped my pens early and often. Now that I’m finished with the post, they’re theirs to keep. I wonder how long they’ll keep track of them.

      Meeting Stephen King was pretty awesome, especially talking baseball with him.

  11. Love that you got to meet Stephen King and have a conversation. He came to a basketball game in Charlotte once but I never got the nerve up to talk to him – I just stared – wish I’d been into taking pictures back then (I’m not above stalking, apparently.)

    Anyway, I am dying to get my hands on one of these pens. Like many, my handwriting stinks because I’m always typing now but I do keep lists and notes and write in a notebook for work. My favorite pen is not my Mont Blanc but my Bic med point Crystal black ink pen. I need to see how these measure up.

    1. It was so cool. I think it helped that it was in a work setting, so everyone was required to treat him like a valued guest. It kept anyone from getting too creepy.

      Good luck with the giveaway. Elise has used one for school and says she loves it. The prize pack is a set of three valued at $19.99 – although I’m sure it’s three times that in street value.

  12. First of all, are you kidding me with the Mike Rowe/Stephen King one-two punch? Really? And secondly, I recently met the man who MADE Stephen King’s wrought iron gate. Terry Steel is a former associate of my boss’s and he came in to have lunch with him a few weeks ago. GREAT guy, told me some cool stuff about Stephen King.

    Oh, and I love pens, whether they’re uglee or pretty.

    1. I thought you might like that combo, Teri. Although if Mike Rowe checked in, every white woman I know age 20-45 would have commented on this post.

      Very cool about Terry Steel. I’d be disappointed if Stephen King *didn’t* have a wrought-iron gate.

      You’d love these pens, Teri. Good luck.

  13. You were not compensated for this post – hey, didn’t you just say you got to meet Mr King PLUS he gave you 10 bucks?
    I wonder what José Mourinho’s hand writing looks like. I once took a class in graphology. Maybe you should send him a pen?

    1. That was tax-free, Tam.

      Jose Mourinho doesn’t have to do much writing, I suspect, besides endorsing those sizable paychecks. Or maybe someone does it for him.

      I’ll trade him a pen for a jersey, straight up.

  14. I have decent handwriting, but when I write, my mind works faster than my hand and I get frustrated. I can type faster and keep up with the rambling thought in my head. But sometimes I do like to go old school. I may even give my kids a pen if I win them. But probably not.

    1. I have the opposite problem – my hand works faster than my mind, and the pen draws random NHL logos as my brain tries to catch up.

      I like the dreadful noise of typing, too.

      I’ve decided, though, that if this novel is ever going to get written, it’s going to be by hand, because when I’m at a computer, I’m here.

      I think you should keep the pens for yourself – you know the kids will try and steal them anyway.

  15. I still write in my journals all the time. Thoughts, poems, scribbled lines…. More than half of it has never made it onto my blog.
    It’s much deeper. much more personal. Which is for me — scarier than that novel Mr King wrote and put a Great Big Giant Spider In It!!! Dude – like the creepy clown wasn’t bad enough.

    I honestly don’t know what I would do if Stephen King was standing in the same room as me. I managed to hold it together to meet The Hoff and I didn’t attack Norman Reedus (much)… I would hope I could hold it together. but, probably note. It’s Stephen Fricking King!!
    I don’t think there is anyone else on the planet who it would be both an honour AND a bit terrifying (that mind!) to meet.

    1. I think those lines, though, even if they don’t make it to the blog, probably build toward what does. I’ve decided the only way these novels in my head are ever going to see the light of day is if I put pen to paper in those moments away from the computer screen.

      I’d like to know I’d hold it together if Jenna Fischer checked in the same way I did for Stephen King, but there’s just no way to guarantee it. Norm probably appreciated your attack, didn’t he?

      There were plenty of athletes when I was a sports writer who could be classified as an honor to interview. there were a few who were terrors.

      I can’t think of a single one who was both.

  16. I love the UGLEE pen! I was cracking up while reading this Eli. The thing is, I still need to write everything down with a pen on a yellow legal pad before I start typing. The younger bloggers think I’m nuts for doing it this way, and I just laughed about it…..until the day my pug ate an entire blog post I had just written on paper……

    1. The UGLee pen is so cool, my kids stole them right from under my nose. Glad you liked the post, Marcia. I like the old-school approach.

      I used to write all the Coach Daddy questions in a notebook, but then I worried what would happen when I left the notebook in Papa Murphy’s Pizza or the Food Lion self-check register. Because it would happen.

      So I started to use Google Keep.

      I’m pretty sure my goldfish can’t eat it in Google Keep!

  17. Crap. I keep journal upon journal and I missed this giveaway??? It might’ve almost paid for Trees in the Pavement. Almost. Serves me right for avoiding WordPress like a guilty conscience.

    Also–how do you know what a Christian dating site is like?

    1. You definitely missed the published author will call. Don’t you have an endorsement package with Bic or something? Maybe I could give a goodly review of Trees in the Pavement.

      You definitely missed out. The package Sandy Ramsey won had a retail value of $19.99 (US).

      Um, the Christian dating site? It was in an episode of SpongeBob.

      1. Oh man. One shudders. (SpongeBob)

        As for missing stuff . . . I don’t even know what you’re talking about up there. 🙂 Except–a goodly review of Trees would be lovely–as long as you meant it.

      2. I never write anything I don’t mean. Unless it can immediately result in me getting a cheeseburger. Now, to read the book … it’s on my list.

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