Three days and no blog post. Experts in the publishing industry suggest keeping a blog updated more frequently than that. I’ve been very busy, mostly with publishing activities. The graphics for The Candy Store Generation continue to haunt me, sapping my time and energy. I can’t remember specifics of all I’ve written here, so I won’t say much; just that in the attempt to improve the graphics myself, I clicked on a disguised link and downloaded a particularly nasty virus. I think that is now all behind, and the computer restored with the help of on-line technicians.
But the bad graphics are still with me. Over the last couple of days a woman in my office is helping me. She’s our graphic arts person, the one who does the detailed work on our marketing materials. I had thought about asking her, but that would have meant asking her to use company computers and software for personal use. I can do that myself within corporate guidelines for that behavior, but didn’t want to ask another to do that.
She took my Excel graphs and went through the process: create the PDF at 300 dpi or better; load it in Photoshop to crop, resize, and save as a jpeg (rather than as a TIFF); shoot it back to me to insert in the drawings. Except when I printed them at book size, in both black & white and color, the grid lines of the graph had disappeared.
She and I looked at it and decided I needed to thicken the grid lines in Excel. They could be thickened in Photoshop, but that would put the work on her, not me. So I did that to one graph, send it to her, and in less than three minutes she sent me the jpeg, but without the resizing. It’s critical to do the resizing in the graphic arts program because any resizing in Word destroys the dpi settings.
So today I’ll have her resize that one graph and print it. If it seems to be okay, I’ll fix the grid lines in the other graphs on my noon hour and get them to her. By the end of the day I’ll have those nine or so graphics at print quality. Three are already there. That will leave the things I received from CBO or captured from websites. I think only two or three of those are what I would consider poor quality. I’ll have to make a decision at that point.
In all of this I haven’t really felt like writing—until last night. I find the tasks of writing and publishing don’t mix well for me. Kind of like when I was doing construction observation half-days. I found I couldn’t concentrate on office things the other parts of the day; my work suffered. I’ve found the same is true with writing and publishing.
But last night I put all publishing tasks aside and decided just to write. I went back to the short story I started a few weeks ago, left hanging at 1,050 words, at the end of the first scene. I re-read that and made some good corrections. Then I tackled the next scene. In not too much more than an hour of writing, that was done and the story stands at 1,950 words. I may re-read it tonight and think it’s junk, but I’m pleased with that.
Tonight I may switch back to some publishing things. Or maybe I’ll add one small scene to In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. Either way, I feel much, much better about my writing life after the last two days. Maybe I’ll make it.