I've been having an issue for the past few months where I'm writing along merrily and then my pen stops up and refuses to put ink down onto the paper, and the only thing that will get it working is a few seconds of intense scribbling. I'm using rather expensive paper and a highly-regarded pen (Uni-Ball SXN-210 Jetstream) which is brand-new, so I don't think that's the problem. I waste about 10 seconds every minute (so a sixth of the time I spend writing) just on this problem and my margins are a mess. Does anyone have any solutions?

I have tried three pens of increasing quality (and, might I add, expense) and the problem has followed me through all of them

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    Does this happen on different paper, too? Did you have this problem before, too, so that it might be related to the way you are writing? Any other changes recently?
    – Secespitus
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 11:28
  • I mean I write really weird but it's never been a problem It does also happen on different paper Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 11:48
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    Looking at a few other questions we have about pens such as this or this - could it be that the pen is simply dry or you are using the wrong ink? Maybe it's getting colder where you are and you are heating more than previously? The weird thing is that you are having these problems with multiple pens on different paper, but it started only a few months ago, so something might have changed in the environment or your writing style - or you are just really unlucky when it comes to buying pens.
    – Secespitus
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 12:05
  • It IS getting colder here but the pen is brand new so it's nothing like that Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 12:51
  • This happens with pens sometimes. For Uni-Ball SXN-210 Jetstream, I hope you can afford a box of them. If you give your per to someone else, can they write without a problem?
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 17:48

4 Answers 4


This may occur because of your palm's sebum. Try to put extra piece of paper under your hand so that your skin is not directly in contact with the paper you are writing on.

  • I have had this suggestion, but not quite understanding what "put extra list of paper under your hand" means Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 12:52
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    @John It is based on the assumption that you are resting your hand on the paper, or that your hand is rubbing over the paper and leaving stuff there that your pen picks up when writing over the places that you had your hand previously. For example someone righting with their right hand from left to right will touch the paper to the right of the pen - once the pen moves a bit further right it picks up what is left on the paper by your hand and then clogs. By putting another smaller sheet of paper between your hand and the paper you are writing on as a "shield" you prevent this.
    – Secespitus
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 12:58
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    @John That would also explain why this is happening with all different pens and why it's happening multiple times in a row, as you said it happens every minute. Artists use this little trick sometimes so that they don't smear parts of the drawing that they already did when working on rough stuff first and then moving to details. You could also use a thin glove or something like that as a little test and see if that helps you with your problem.
    – Secespitus
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 13:01
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    @Amadeus At that point, why not buy a box of latex gloves?
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 20:39
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    @John You could perhaps try a graphics glove. google.com/…
    – Spagirl
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 12:11

I would also suggest having cheap paper handy to scribble on while getting the ink flowing again. That would aid with the problem of getting your margins messy but not with the problem of wasting time. You might also want cheap paper to use to rest your hand on to protect the writing paper from skin oils instead of using a sheet of yur good expensive paper.


Also, "expensive" paper may not be the best paper to match your pen. You say you've tried with different paper but does the paper have different properties? For example, I like fountain pens. A paper that is very good for fountain pens tends to have a bit of a coating to slow down the rate that the ink gets absorbed into the paper. If you try using a ballpoint on that kind of paper, it may not write well because ballpoints want the paper to absorb the ink faster. So you may want to do a bit of research into the paper.


Sometimes there are air bubbles in ink (at least I have found). When my pens stop (and as strange as this sounds) I shake them up and down hard, tap them gently (lid on or clicked in, pen downwards), or do some sort of fast swinging motion with it. Usually, after a minute or less, my pens start working again.

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