The Tools of a Writer, Paper

If you’re going to write great stories use great tools.

Go out and buy a notebook right now. Buy one that you will keep with you. Writing on the back of an old envelope is OK if your desperate but you’re a writer. Instead of always searching for a scrape of paper to write on, be the person that family, friends, coworkers, and complete strangers go to when they need something to write on. Buy a bunch of cheap pens at the dollar store to. If they bum a piece of paper off you they’re going to want to borrow a pen. If you’re going to lose a pen make it a cheap one, not your good writing pen.

The most important paper you can have is a notebook that you use. An expensive fancy notebook is like costly embossed stationary, nice to have but, too expensive to use. A good notebook should be small enough that you always carry it around with you and large enough to hold lots of note and big enough to write in. Don’t pay too much, a writer’s notebook will fill up fast. The brand, the color of the cover, whether it has a stretchy band to mark the last used page or not doesn’t matter. You’re a writer, write in your notebook. Fill it up and then get another one.

Don’t get colored paper or a notebook with colored paper. After the first page that bright purple will look hideous. Be easy on your eyes.

I carry a small shirt pocket notebook for taking note everywhere and keep a seven by nine and a half inch college ruled, spiral bound 300 page notebook handy for longer writing like journaling. It doesn’t need to be a Moleskins, the store brand is good enough. The notebook will only last a couple of months.

For editing and reading out loud nothing beats printing out your work on clean white paper. A laser jet is much cheaper than an ink jet so get recycled printer paper. The recycled stuff doesn’t jam like the virgin stuff.

Experiment with different papers. If you find one that works stick with it. Buy in bulk, you’re in this for the long haul. Many authors say that it takes a year to write a novel and printouts for every major edit, writers group meetings or table reads will eat up paper.

Hide a ream of copy paper in your desk at work for when the copier or printer runs out and you have to print something right now. Keep a ream hidden at home for when someone needs to print out a late term paper and forgot again to buy paper to print it out on. There’s always the room mate that uses up all your paper and doesn’t tell you about it. Paper panhandlers are everywhere.

Have some business card made up. List only your name and a throw away email address on them. They’re great for writing down quick notes to give to someone. You can get business cards made up cheap or even free. Don’t get glossy business cards. Ink will not write or stick on glossy paper. Don’t completely cover the back of the card with graphics, leave room to write on it.

Write on, draw on.                        Professor Hyram Voltage


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