Thursday, 16 September 2010

flies in the amber

What a week!  I'm not sure where it went or how it all went down or if I've made any progress at all.  I think I may have gone backwards.  Sometimes it be's like that.

So....yeah, no Monday quote.  I did that blog early.  It was a picture quote.  When I went to post it, the picture was mysteriously missing.  When I went to the site where I upload my pictures, it was down for maintenance.  I knew this, but then it was down for maintenance for about THREE DAYS!  When it came back up, the last set of pictures I uploaded were there, but not there.  They had file numbers and everything, but no images.  All of this was taking too long.  Re-uploading the last batch of pictures and video in the midst of trying to do so many other things just didn't seem like a good use of time.

In the meantime, the file for my mansucript, Swimming Through Amber, went bonkers on me.  It's absolutely true that one should not use MS Word 2004 to design and layout a book.  Unless one doesn't really have other programs and one doesn't know how to use those other programs even if one were to get them, and one doesn't know anybody willing to layout one's book.

For three days I wrestled some bug in the file that made it look like the pages were 8 1/2 x 11, even though I'd set all the margins and page sizes accurately.  When I printed a copy it came out reduced.  When I PDF'd it, same thing.  I'd had a similar problem before, printing smaller-sized documents.  I tried everything, reset everything, tried tricking word, thought about throwing the computer against the wall.

Nothing.  Mercury was finally moving forward and I was moving backward - away from the last final pushed printing deadline, away from reaching my goals, creating extra work and getting nowhere slowly.

I made Judy Holiday come over - she'd done her Slam Team's chapbook recently - and try to fix it.  She couldn't help.  I stared at the screen, tried everything again, reorganized templates, and almost gave up.

But how can I give up when I've got people working on book covers and logos?  I can't.

A last-ditch intense round of googling yesterday, and I happened upon a thread of a conversation on a group somewhere about shrinkage.  Um, document shrinkage while printing.  This was close to what I was looking for, so I read further.  Well, it turns out, there are some bugs in this version of Word, and I think I'd stumbled upon two of them, randomly working together to create havoc.

After checking my preferences for printing, which seemed in order, but did not really change the problem, I saw this other post about what happens when you are tracking changes.  Now, I thought about tracking changes, it's a smart thing to do when editing a manuscript this size, but I also find it a bit of a pain and unwieldy.  I double-checked the setting, but then realized that I had a comment in the document.  Comments are in some ways, related to tracking changes.

I went to the file, and clicked the close button on the comment box.  In a flash, the entire document reset itself to the proper page size.  Just like that.

Persistence is a good thing.  It feels stupid sometimes, but I remember the Einstein quote about staying with a problem longer.  Routine is a good thing, too.  I missed blogging this past week, and while sometimes I think it takes a lot of time, it also gives me a frame for my week, and I think makes me more efficient.  And while I am absolutely in production mode on just about everything right now, attempting to juggle a million little pieces, if I don't write, my brain doesn't work right.

Just today, in taking the laundry, I put in four loads.  I went back to put them in the dryer and realized I'd started only 3 of the machines.  I'd forgotten some key items I meant to wash, and had left the detergent sitting there.

I knew I needed to blog.  No pictures.  No great ideas.  Just words.  And hopefully no more bugs.

Time to get the laundry.


Piddle Productions said...

I'm trying to figure out how to make my own zine/chapbook. So frustrated! We need to have a get together just to help one another out with these You give me hope. Don't give up! Thanks. Zoe Blaq

E. Amato said...

Haha - thanks! I can't tell you how hard it was to try marking up this teeny tiny copy of the poems! And after I paid $10 at Office Depot to print it!

I'm creating a document for a printer, so I don't have the page order issues of a chapbook. But Judy Holiday just did one of those...she tweets - you can find her there or on FB.

Let me know if you have specific questions, though.