Will you review _________? Can I send you a pen to review?

As The Pen Habit blog and YouTube channel has gained popularity, I have started getting a lot of requests to do reviews of specific pens. I do keep an eye on these requests and try to identify trends in the requests, but there is literally not enough time in the day for me to get to even a small fraction of the pens I’ve had requested. Once upon a time, I used to reply to every request, but I find myself not doing that anymore. (It’s one of the changes that happens the longer you are a content creator…you realize responding to everyone isn’t possible!)

I don’t really have any hard and fast rules about what I will and will not review, but a few guidelines I follow:

  • I won’t do a review of a pen if it’s the same pen I’ve already reviewed, just in a different finish.
  • I’m not a fan of hate-reviewing, and won’t review pens I know I’m going to hate.
  • If I didn’t purchase the pen I’m reviewing, I will always indicate where it came from.
  • I’m not super-interested in doing a┬áreview just to validate your opinion of your pen. (You’d be surprised how often this comes up.)
  • I try, not always successfully, to do a wide variety of pens across multiple price ranges, but this has become harder and harder for me to do as my own hobby evolves, and I no longer spend much time in the lower price ranges.
  • And, this is a relatively new one: I largely avoid reviewing pens lent to me by my viewers.

I have some of the most loyal and generous viewers, and they’re always super willing to provide me with review materials, which I deeply appreciate. However, as time has gone on, I’ve run into a few problems around dealing with review pens from viewers (pens getting damaged while in my care, disappearing during shipping back to the owner, extremely long delays in creating review, etc.) As a result, I’ve had to re-evaluate my own rules around how I deal with review pens.

Going forward, I won’t be accepting pens on loan from most of my viewers, especially those with whom I do not have a real-life relationship. There are still many pens in my own collection, pens from retailers, and pens from my local pen friends to provide me content for a long time. It means I may not be able to get access to all of the pens out there, or review super-unusual or super-rare pens, but the peace of mind from not having a $2000 pen in my possession that doesn’t belong to me is a valid trade off. And as my production schedule changes, I simply do not feel comfortable holding onto people’s pens for months or even years before I am able to get to reviewing them.

So, while I am deeply grateful for those wonderful viewers who are willing to offer me their valuable writing instruments for review, I am planning to limit those loaners for the time being. Rest assured that your generosity and trust are recognized and appreciated.