Big Print Job

I finished the major revisions to my novel the other day. I’ve been doing the editing on my laptop computer, keeping track of my progress on a pad of paper. I find that written lists are easier to maintain than electronic lists.There’s something intimidating about having a written list of things to do, and the intimidation helps me to attack the list on a regular basis just so I can put checkmarks by each item to show I’m making progress.

Having made my way through the major revision, minor editing is now required to make the words flow better. This requires working my way through the entire story. This, for me, is very difficult using a work processor. I need to have paper for this process because I jot down questions, remarks, and other notes as I go. I can put lines through sentences, cross out paragraphs, and write in the margins.

Knowing I needed to print the entire novel, I changed the format of the Word document from double-spaced lines to single-spaced. This doesn’t help the editing process because it means I’ll have less room to write my notes. It does mean, however, I’ll use a  heck of a lot less paper in the printing process. In fact, the number of pages went from 470 to 264 when I reformatted it to single-spaced.

So I was thinking “green” when I decided to reformat. I was also thinking green when I decided to print on both sides of the paper. With my printer, two-sided printing requires printing first on one side of the sheets, then turning them over to print on the opposite sides. Sounds easy enough, and it would be as long as nothing happens during the printing process to screw things up. Having decided to print on both sides, the number of paper sheets I would use went from 274 to 137. Quite a savings!

The greening of my print job did not work out very well. Several things worked against me. The first was that my printer decided, on several occasions, to pull several sheets through at once. This meant that a couple of pages did not print properly. Once that happens, you need to stop the whole process, figure out what went wrong, and adjust the print job accordingly. In my case, I wasn’t watching the printing process and didn’t know that several pages failed to print. When the printing stopped, I turned the sheets over per the printing instructions and restarted the print job. I checked a few sheets during this part of the printing process and noticed that something was wrong. Pages were in the wrong places. I ended up with, for example, page 101 on one side of a sheet and page 107 on the other side. Not good.

When I realized what had happened, I stopped the print job and tried to salvage the sheets I had already printed. Not only were my page numbers screwed up, but the cartridge was getting low on toner and some of the text had started to dither out. I spent about two hours trying to print my manuscript in an environmentally friendly way and I managed to make an environmental mess out of it.

I ordered a new toner cartridge yesterday. I’ll also have to buy a ream of paper. I’ll probably shred the sheets I wasted yesterday, mainly just to hide the evidence.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t help but muck things up.

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