Monday, March 27, 2023

A Whole Box Of Paper

      Or almost the entire box.  I started to reload my printers with paper yesterday, found I'd used up the last sheet from the ream of 24-pound bond I keep in the office, and got another ream for the carton on the basement stairs.  (A ream is 500 pages and the "weight" is the weight of a ream of "parent sheets," what they cut the letter-sized pages from.  Those big sheets are 17" x 22" for bond, I'm told, which works out to six pounds per ream of letter-sized paper.)

      It was the last ream in the box.  I bought that box -- on sale! -- over three years ago, thinking I would be forever getting to the bottom of it.  Most drafts never get printed out these days; I keep work in progress on Dropbox or the Apple cloud-storage system for notes and first drafts, and call it up on my desktop, laptop or iPads.*  Critiques get printed out, my own stuff gets printed out to proofread, and I still tend to print out maps, notes and project drawings.

      And I've used up two thousand sheets of paper.

      I thought I had a line on a good price for another box, but it turned out to be a search-engine glitch at a big online retailer.  The stuff I like is almost fifty dollars a carton these days and just over eleven bucks a ream if you buy them one at time.  I'll wait until the ream on hand is halfway down before I buy the next box.

      The throwaway line is that we've all got a million words of lousy stuff to write before we begin to make progress.  If paper consumption is any guide, I may be getting there.
* Before computers, the frugal writer used light and rough newsprint second-sheet paper for first drafts.  This is the stuff you rolled into the typewriter behind the nice "first sheet" to protect the platen.  In most cases, you'd interleave carbon paper, too, and make a "file copy" to keep.  Letter-size newsprint paper was dirt-cheap, available in "white" (light gray) and canary yellow (preferred for drafts and carbons, so you could tell easily them apart from finished manuscripts).  I went looking for some a few years back and had trouble finding it!  Pocket watches and buggy whips are easier to come by, but it is still available.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Paper is cheap. Don't begrudge it. Just enjoy reading what you have written.