If you haven’t noticed yet, it’s back to school season. This is the perfect time for struggling writers to pick up some office supplies on the cheap. OfficeMax sent me a grocery bag with a 20% off discount in the mail. I braved the horde of back-to-school zombies to fill the bag with items that aren’t regularly on sale: a box of 9×12 manila envelopes (50-count), a 9x12x3 cardboard mailer box, Sharpie markers (four pack), and clear packing tape. All the stuff I need to get my snail mail submissions back into circulation after taking the summer off to revise my first novel.
A few weeks ago OfficeMax had composition books on sale for $0.50 USD each (limit 3). Some writers might be terrified of the composition book because a tyrannical teacher in a sophomore English class made them write God awful essays about the symbolic meaning of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I never had that fear since I dropped out of high school and never read Moby Dick while taking English lit courses in college. (Since I wasn’t an English major, I never got around to taking a course in nineteenth-century American literature.) Composition books are useful for developing the big story idea that I can turn into a novella or novel someday.
Before I wrote the rough draft for my first novel about video game testers and a homicidal ghost, I filled three composition books with hundreds of Dilbert cartoon strips that I printed out and pasted in. Each strip reminded me of a particular incident from my six years as a video game tester that I wrote down in a short description. (Since most first novels are autobiographical, I went for the obvious source material.) I’m still glancing through them to find ideas to incorporate into the revision of my novel.
OfficeMax is having the same sale for composition books this week, along with one-subject 70-page spiral notebooks for $0.05 USD each (limit 3). I’ll be going to different stores to pick up as many of these sales as I can to stock up my office supply cabinet.
Updated 28 August 2010 @ 5:00PM: I ended up getting 18 composition books ($0.50 USD each), six spiral notebooks ($0.05 USD each) and six filler paper ($0.01 USD each) for under $10.00 USD. OfficeMax had increased the limit from three to 12. I now have enough handwriting material to write two novels. The 700-page rough draft of my first novel was handwritten, with 2/3 being written behind a steering wheel. One of these days I’ll embrace the paperless office.