When it comes to writing, it seems every writer has her tools -- the items that are absolutely necessary for productive writing.
I’m no exception. I’ve got my MacBook Air, a gift from my husband. I’ve got pretty file folders, a favorite pen, highlighters, Post-It notes, and decorative clips. I’ve got my writing bags for when I need to pack up my supplies and go outside the house to write. I’ve got pads of paper throughout the house for when a random idea will enter my brain.
And, I’ve got my scratch paper.
I do a lot of writing each week. Two pieces a week for MomsLA and a personal essay for this blog.
And my writing needs to be proofread. My mom is my primary proofreader; a job she once actually held for an insurance company. It’s easier for my mom (and myself) to proofread a hard-copy of my writing. That’s when I use my scratch paper. Rather than print on valuable (and expensive) white computer paper, I use the backs of paper for these rough drafts.
The only quirk is that my hard-copies are a hodgepodge of colored papers that were originally intended for a use other than my personal writing. I use the backs of fliers I receive in the mail, especially those that arrive folded looking like an important letter and are really nothing more than a candidate’s endorsement. I print on the backs of notices I receive from my son’s teacher.
But it really gets bizarre when my scratch paper turns out to be old papers from my teaching days. When I was packing up my classroom a year ago, I cleaned out file cabinets and found stacks of papers that were Xeroxed that I hadn’t ever used. Coloring pages from kindergarten. Extra class sets of a song about the rock cycle. Informational memos from meetings and trainings. I packed them all and took them home. I recognized their value. Those papers might not have been used for their original purpose, but I am giving them a new life now through my writing.
Strangely enough, my scratch paper has become a necessary writing tool. When I see my pile starting to decrease, I know it’s time to go through the closet and my old binders and sort out a new batch of old paper to add to my stash of scratch paper.
And this funny little writing quirk of mine, is also good for our planet. It’s a win-win!