Shoes and pens are a lot alike in that when you find one that has the perfect fit nothing else will do! It doesn't matter whether it is a ballpoint, rollerball, fountain pen - or mechanical pencil - once you have the perfect width and weight writing instrument in your hand you can take notes or journal for hours without experiencing hand cramps.
One cause of hand cramping is from using cheap ballpoint pens that require the writer to press hard to get the ball to roll ink out onto the page. On top of that, cheap disposable pens tend to be quite slim - too slim for most hands to have to grip tightly to in order to write. This makes the act of writing painful and it is often something we first experience as young children. (No wonder we hated taking notes in school!) The higher quality ballpoints sold at Appointments or use of a rollerball or fountain pen certainly helps alleviate the necessity of pressing hard while writing, but the width and weight of the pen are still very important for how comfortable the pen is to use over time.
How one holds a pen goes a long way in choosing the proper width of the barrel. Some grip the pen with three fingers, others four. The more fingers one has around the pen, the wider the pen will need to be to ensure comfortable writing over time.
Writers who have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome tend to prefer wider, lighter weight pens as a general rule. Pens manufactured from plastics and resins are good options. Consider Pineider's selection - especially the Avatar UR series. Also Bexley, Conway Stewart, and Faber-Castell's GRIP series writing instruments to start. Writers who need width plus greater weight should consider such offerings as 22Studio's Seven, Kaweco - especially the Brass Sport and Supra models, Diplomat's Aero selection, and Cross Peerless.
For those who find the classic slim style to their liking, Cross' CenturyII, Wanderlust, and Botanica, Otto Hutt's Design01 and Design02, and Yard-O-Led have wonderful offerings. The weight will not be too heavy nor too light thanks to the slim design and high quality metal construction of these pens available in all writing modes.
If you find your hand prefers neither the wide nor slim, but is right in the middle, you're one lucky ducky: the world is full of pens in all modes, styles, and price ranges just calling your name! That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your relationship with your wallet, significant other, or both.
One last item everyone will need to consider is how the finish of the pen feels in the hand. Is it slippery? Is it balanced? Does it taper too much towards the grip? Does it not taper enough? Sadly, that is something that has to be felt to know for sure. We at Appointments are often surprised at how radical design and material choices result in an uncomfortable looking pen that is actually quite pleasant to write with; proving true the old adage "don't knock it 'til you try it!"
We are always here to help you find the right writing instrument whether you shop in our store or here online. Our longtime customers keep coming back because they love trying out each piece before they buy it. And our online shoppers have become great friends from our telephone conversations where more often than not we've been able to match them with the perfect pens for their needs every time.