Office Supplies - A Love Story

When my grandmother was teaching, she would tell her mother, "It's time to go back to school. I smell pencils."

So you see, I come by my office supply addiction naturally.

Back in the day, when I first started writing, my needs were few - pens and spirals. They couldn't be any old pens, though. No Bics for me - they had to write nice. That requirement lasts till today, where my favorite pens are the Dr. Grip Gel pens (though I've lost my pink one - wah!) Even Nora has a favorite pen, though of course I've forgotten what it was (but I used it for awhile, too.)

I soon learned spirals, while great for transportation, were too limiting, so I moved onto binders, the fatter the better. There are these really cool ones my friend Robyn uses, that come in colors, but I prefer the ones you can slide pictures in, kind of make your own cover.

Then there are notecards, ostensibly for brainstorming scenes. They have to be in color, don't you know - certain colors for certain storylines. I buy them every time I start a new story. Don't ask how many packs I have now. I never quite can get into it, but buying them is still sort of a ritual. (I even have some that are marbelized.) I do the same with colored Post-Its. Only the real ones, now, because once I made a huge storyboard and taped it on my hallway closet with all the generic stickies and every time I came home, the foyer looked like the parade had been through.

When I was contesting, binder clips were a passion - the prettier, the better. Until I stopped getting the pretty ones back with my entries. Hmmm....

My new thing is the highlighters with the Post-It flags in the barrel. Have you seen these? I go through my hard copy, make changes, flag them and then I can find them easily when I go to enter them in on the computer.

If the jerk cat doesn't tear them all out.

What are your favorite writer toys?

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Paula said...

My toys are slightly more high-tech--I LOVE Microsoft Excel as a writing tool. I track my pages per day, my submissions, back when I was contesting, I kept up with contest entries on Excel. I have an Excel spreadsheet with my unwritten story ideas. I have Excel spreadsheets set up to figure out my characters' GMCs, the story arcs, character cheat sheets, plot points, etc. What I like about Excel is that it enables me to easily type in elements, move them around, highlight them and organize them.

I also like PhotoShop because I'm a graphic designer in my day job, and I use it to create visuals that capture the feel of my stories and help me focus on evoking the emotions in my writing that my photos evoke for me.

Dana Pollard said...

I'm a basic kinda girl. I want the clear Bic pens in blue ink. They write the first time, every time. :) Besides I never felt comfortable holding anything fatter than a simple Bic. :(

I also like to use your plain notepads. Normal size though. For my first story, I WROTE it on paper. I have 3 notepads with scribbles all over the lines. Even I can hardly read the handwriting.

Rachel introduced me into the world of tracking your stuff in Excel. I have to admit. I'm a paper kinda girl. Even when I write in Word, I print it out to read it. Poor trees!

Trish Milburn said...

What is it about stores like Staples that are so appealing? I think it's that overwhelming feeling of organization. I love office supplies.

Dee Tenorio said...

Oh Mary, you're discussing my addiction. Hubby is afraid to take me to office supply stores--it's so hard to get me out. My Mother spent my childhood working in an office. Seriously, I'm still addicted to the smell of White Out. Not this new crap they're selling, the GOOD White Out, lol, that didn't clump for centuries because the turpentine was real. Siiiigh!

Thankfully, what saves me from true addiction, though, is that I'm inherently cheap and good office supplies are not. I need to get another package of those multi-tab folders. I track my info in them for each project. How much did I spend on research, promo, where I keep contracts, etc.. One folder, multiple pronged surfaces to keep it all together.

As for pens, ohhh, I LOVE the padded fat pens. I have a permanent dented lump on my middle finger from all those bic types I used growing up. It almost looks even now after years of better pens.

I do have an index card problem, too. And I've just designed a new way to plot out my plots/subplots per act, lol. I haven't decided if I should use cards or Excel. I usually use Appleworks, but I need to learn to make Excel do what I tell it to. LOL, easier said than done. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Tori. And I'm an office supply addict. :)

Pens have to be Papermate Flexgrip Ultra, medium point, purple ink.

Other favorites, white legal pads, Post-It notes, binders, binder clips. I'm sure there are lots of other things I use/love that I can't think of at the moment...

Stacy Dawn said...

Ah yes, my main obsession too. Stationary whaaaaaaw.

I have to have my RoseArt X500 Ball point medium blue ink. It's funny that you mention your pink one because I was just telling dh that I have to use the pen but I wished they would funk them up a bit. Next time I hit Walmart...there they were in brilliant 4 pack of metalic pink, lime green, purple and blue...HEAVEN!!

Colleen Gleason said...

I'm with you, Trish! Something about those Staples stores...I can spend hours (and big bucks!) there.

There are so many neat things: I like gold paper clips, or the new fancy ones they now have. I also love Sharpie pens (all colors, in fine and extra fine) and black ink pens.

But my all-time basic favorite office supply are white lined pads of paper--they have to be just the right kind. When I worked in an office, and was the manager, I always made sure my assistant ordered the exact kind I needed--just for me--and now I still buy them.

They are white lined pads, not legal pads (they don't have any red margin guides, nor do they have the thick binding at the top where the pages are perforated). The lines are narrow ruled, and it's just a simple pad of pure white, blue-lined paper. No spirals to get in the way (I'm a leftie), no big stapled binding at the top, no red margin lines to keep me from writing too close to the edge.

Did I ever mention I'm a bit neurotic about certain things????

Unknown said...

I am Candice, and I too am addicted to office supplies.

I have to have the same Bic pens that Dana mentioned -- and that I blame on Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, because she used one of those in writing the "sex test" in study hall that Jake Ryan found...

I have binders, and loose notebook paper -- must be college ruled, not wide rule, that's just too damn big, and I can't get enough on page...

And my other two tools of choice? My pocket dictionary and pocket thesaurus. They go everywhere with me.

MJFredrick said...

Ooooh, Paula! I'd love to learn Excel. But the character charts and all that are a bit much. I do use the page count spreadsheet that Kresley Cole designed. I like the little encouragements that pop up. So you use Photo Shop like a collage?

Dana, I print out my stuff to read, too, usually on the backs of old contest entries, though. I forgot to mention I like color paper, too! And I always wrote in longhand, because we didn't have a computer till 1999.

Like Dee, I have a permanent bump on my finger from those blasted plastic pens. I do like colored ink, though, and you can't usually find that in fat pens. I made my own scene cards and printed them out on cardstock, then never used them.

I think I scared Trish when she was here and we went to Office Max ;)

Stacy, I've never tried Rose Art pens. I'm not wild about their crayons and markers though (remember, third grade teacher - I don't color in my spare time.)

I have to have college ruled, too, Candice - I used to know how many college lined pages equalled a typed page.

Colleen, I looooove Sharpies, and Expo markers, too! See, I get the best of both worlds, being teacher and writer.

Stacy Dawn said...

Mary, the pens are with the regular pens not with the crayons...yeah, I'm not to big on their other supplies either but I have to have their pens.

April said...

I LOVE office supplies. I think they allow me to mentally convince myself that it's not that I'm disorganized, it's that I need more post-its :-)

In college, I used color coded index cards for notes and even used different color pens for writing them... It was supposed to help with recall.

But I love multi-colored sticky notes and I have a big tub o'pens. If there's a pen about, it's mine!

Anonymous said...

3 things---a lot of number 2 pencils, my legal pads (I plot on legal pads), and ink for my printer!!!



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