Paper allows complete creative freedom; there is unrestrained creative potential with a sheet of blank paper that we both find liberating. Pick up a piece of charcoal and paper, and in the right hands, you have breathtaking artwork. Lipstick scrawled across a love note is a response in kind. An editor’s sharp red ink slashed across an ill-formed first draft is another unique form of response. These examples of complete creative freedom stand starkly in contrast to orderly tools found on a computer.
Often when creating a letter or article on a computer we write a draft of something on which we are working, print it, review the printed draft, mark it with revisions, copy the revisions onto the electronic version, print it again, review it again, and often repeat the process a half dozen times or more.
In a recent interview with a writer we discovered, a conservative estimate is that the entire text of the book was printed at least ten times in various drafts. What a far cry from the dark ages of writing by typewriter, let alone pen and ink.
We are now benefiting significantly from writing with digital technology, but those benefits do not lessen the advantages in the use of paper and its predecessors by creative authors over the past few thousand years.
So the question is, what to do with all that paper – is it waste? or is it to be kept?