Papermate has been around for more than 50 years yet one of its best products isn’t a pen, a highlighter, or even some cool pink cap erasers we all know and love.
Sharpwriter: The yellow nondescript mechanical pencil isn’t even able to be refilled and yet it is the single most important thing to my writing career. At the beginning of every book I write I start out with a new 6-pack of these beauties. Pressed for a why, I believe it’s because the writing quality is so good. The lead isn’t so sharp that it tears the paper like other pencils can do, and it isn’t so dull that it feels like I am writing with a jumbo crayon. It erases easily without tearing, and one 6 pack of pencils can last me throughout the entire manuscript. Your mileage may vary on THAT. They do offer neon colors as well as the yellow, but I will swear up and down that the neon pencil base doesn’t perform to the level that the yellow ones do. Of course, I also swear that M&Ms have different tastes by their different colors; so again, your mileage may vary on that one.
General information on the Papermate Sharpwriter has to include its #2 Lead, the distinct Yellow Barrel, and 0.7mm size. They cost around $3 to $3.50 a 12 pack, but I tend to get them about $2 a 6 pack at the Walmart just because it is close to my house. They will average around 22 cents a piece. The have a pocket clip that may break easily if you stick it into a spiral bound notebook more than 10 times a day like I do. They advertise a “Cushion point that adjusts to writing pressure”, and this is what must make them so easy to write with.
Durability? Well let’s put this out there… I once ran over one of my beloved Sharpwriters. After realizing this I retrieved it and it was still very much fine to write with, and I continued to use it until it ran completely out of lead. This is the mechanical pencil for those that hate mechanical pencils. I would think that these are the pencils designed for destructive kids for school, for tormented writer types like myself, or for anyone that needs a good writing well constructed pencil that will not fail them. I know they’ve never failed me yet. I’ve even held up a deadline simply because I didn’t have a Sharpwriter available to write with. Maybe its crazy superstition, but I have a formula and it seems to work for me.
BTW, this article was duly written down first with a Papermate Sharpwriter, and then transferred to its sterile computer home.