Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Technology Wednesday--The Paper Chase

Our recycling bin looks like this except for the aqua top. Many of the bins I found pictures of were blue. What's with that? I've never seen a blue recycling bin. And it wouldn't go with our house, which is sort of cream-colored.
For just a couple of people, Becky and I generate a lot of paper at home. I suppose that's to be somewhat expected since I do a lot of writing and she is involved with a lot of music. Both of these in some guise require paper. (Or at least they do now.)  I do write on a word processor, and Biscuit City is produced online (news flash), but I print out drafts for revision. I can see errors and problems on a hard copy more readily than on a screen. It's a holdover from the days when I hand wrote everything, or typed it.  As for music, we have the music for the Manassas Chorale (which Becky directs) shipped to our house, so we have a lot of boxes. We also order a fair amount online, which means more boxes. Then there's the regular mail, fully half of which is, uh, direct marketing.

We have a recycling bin, which holds about two bushels of stuff. It used to live in the kitchen, but has gotten torn up thorough heavy use. It now lives on the porch and we have a nice recycling bag. I empty both bin and bag into the 55-gallon wheeled recycling bin that the City of Manassas provides, and we more than fill it up each week before it's picked up with the trash on Thursdays. And this is from two people.

A "paperless office" was predicted as early as 1975. Instead of paper output lessening, it has increased siunce then because of the ease of producing documents. Today, the average office worker produces two pounds of paper a day. I think we're right up there with them on that.

Of course we use computers. I first used them at school in 1985, but I still use a lot of paper. Part of it is that I realize that digital entities have a way of disappearing, so I don't trust them entirely. I keep a calendar on my i-Phone, but back it up with a paper copy. My novel is saved on a hard drive, a thumb drive and also on a cloud (or my castle on a cloud, I'm not sure which), but I still run a hard copy every once in a while. I hope it wouldn't come to typing it all over again, although that might improve the manuscript.

What's your experience with paper? Are you using more or less? Are you overwhelmed by great piles of it as we are? Any ideas on how to control it are welcome--I'll be glad to take a page out of your long as I don't have to recycle it.


  1. As a fellow writer, I am comfortable without printing out a lot. My words come and go like the wind, or my work for clients gets sent to them. Banks generate too much paper, as do law offices and doctors. What I don't like is the shifting of responsibility for printing - "print this out and bring it to your appointment" - and what follows are 10 pages I have to print with my paper and ink. I really do like the City of Manassas pushing us all to the 2-bushel carts. The amount of trash goes down as the recycling goes up.

  2. We used to have small (newspaper-sized) yellow recycling boxes here in Alexandria, but I requested one of the large, blue, lidded trashcan-like bins--and we fill it up every week. However, our recycling includes everything paper, aluminum, glass and plastic, so it's easy to fill it up. As for paper..we use a lot. I don't print out drafts much, but DO print out recipes that I have saved online--easier to deal with in the kitchen. Banking online saves a lot of paper--envelopes, paper bills, receipts, etc.--not to mention the convenience of not having to address envelopes, fill out forms, find stamps. I DO have a fine collection of different kinds of blank paper, though: card stock, parchment, vellum, colored paper, notecard, paper and, of course, standard computer paper, all of which require storage.

  3. I know what you mean about printing out something to read it. I have found a solution though in that I own a Kindle. Kindles allow you to email your device any pdf so that you can read at your leisure. They also let you change the size of the type for easier reading. My husband thinks the only good book is a paper (usually hardback) book. I find that I prefer my Kindle. Some of the benefits:
    1. A Kindle book usually costs less than a printed version.
    2. A Kindle is smaller than most books.
    3. If you finish a book on Kindle, you can then read another book on the same Kindle, meaning you never run out of material to read. (If you still read a book per week, this would be very handy)
    4. There are several ways to obtain FREE or reduced price books (many for 99 cents)meaning you could have lots of reading material.
    5. You can highlight or bookmark certain passages that you wish to go back to at a later date.

    I would suggest that you turn your stories and other material into a pdf version and send it to your Kindle for reading and revising. Mark what you think needs changing, and then go back to your manuscript and change those things. You can also delete versions that you have corrected and replace them with new versions.

    As far as Becky's music is concerned you are on your own. I don't know much about music paper.