I do most of my first-drafting in longhand. In pen and ink. It works for me. I’ve even blogged about it.
It does present certain challenges, however. The near-illegibility of my handwriting I’ve managed to turn into an asset: what the internal editor can’t read, she can’t second-guess and mess with.
Most commercially available paper, I discovered, can’t stand up to fountain pen-and-ink. Yellow pads, notebook paper, the bond paper I feed to my laser printer and my inkjet: they’re all so thin that what I wrote on one side made an impression on the other.
This might not be a deal-breaker for some people, but I’m cheap. I want to write on both sides.
I was also looking for a way to organize my handwritten pages. Browsing at a office-supply chain store, I found these cool notebooks. They were looseleaf, sort of, but instead of two or three big metal rings, they had eleven little plastic ones. You could add pages, remove pages, or move pages around.
I bought one notebook and the filler paper to go with it. Wonder of wonders, I could write in fountain pen on both sides of the paper, and the words all stayed on their own side.
I was hooked. Now I’ve got three notebooks: a blue one for Wolfie, the novel in progress; a red one for Squatters’ Speakeasy, the novel on the back burner; and a brown one for everything else.
Wolfie has been eating up paper like nobody’s business. I scavenged paper from the red and the brown notebooks to put in the blue one. Then there was no more to scavenge. I was almost out of paper.
I hesitated. Blank paper is a challenge. Am I going to keep writing? Yeah, I thought. I am.
How much paper should I order? This was harder. Like I said, I’m cheap. I hate to spend money on stuff I don’t use. Sooner or later any blank paper left untouched on the shelf would be making faces at me and going “Nyah nyah, nyah nyah.”
I ordered five packets, 50 sheets to a packet — 500 sides of fountain-pen-friendly paper. And some section dividers to go with them.
Blank paper is faith in the future.