"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Journal, Entry Three

Something there is that doesn't like ......chapter one.

Yes, I'm back at the book, the one about my journey with Alzheimer's. After weeks of delay... No, make that a couple years of delays, what turned me back in that direction were two things.

The first involved several e-mails from friends urging me to compile some of my stuff and publish. One of the e-mails, from my step-daughter D., included a link to the web site of the company that publishes the "Chicken Soup " books. I don't mean Campbell's. I mean "Chicken Soup for the Soul." I took a look, read their writer's guidelines, etc., and thought, why not?

At first I was going to query them, to see if they were interested in a manuscript written by a former caregiver that was aimed at current and future caregivers. Howver, the company has very strict guidelines for submitting and querying, and I thought it best to follow them exactly.
That means writing and finishing the entire thing, along with an introduction, complete outline, and table of contents. My idea for this book fits quite nicely with their explanation of the genre and focus they prefer--that of healing--so I decided to toe the line and hold off on my query until I had something more to show them.

The second reason is that when I don't have anything to write, I am at loose ends. I mean that. It used to be that if I weren't reading a good book (by "good" I mean one that held my interest, not necessarily one that was worth reading), I would feel lost. Only settling into another good book would alleviate those feelings. These days, it's writing, which is why I have deluged the inboxes of my friends in the past. That's why I started this blog, so I would have a place for all those words to go and not bother anyone.

So, a publisher in my genre, a writer at loose ends, a head full of words, and the moon and stars in the optimal positions, and voila! I'm back at it.

Another serendipitous factor has weighed in. I recently finished two online classes through http://www.ed2go/, which were Introduction to- and Intermediate Word 2003. Currently I am involved in Introduction to Word 2007 so I can use my laptop with much less stress. Plastered all around the perimeter of my PC monitor are little yellow Post Its with things like "ctrl + A = select all" and "ctrl + X = cut" and "ctrl + V = paste." These are ever so helpful, and NO, I didn't know what the control and alt keys were for. Or the F keys, either. It once occurred to me that perhaps the F keys were for various cuss words arranged by strength, but I find that all too fortuitous to believe.

Anyway, Sunday I started assembling chapters from previously written data, and putting some cohesiveness to them. By yesterday, I was on my third formatting style. I think this is the one I'll stick with, as it smoothly blends the various things I want to include in the text.

I also began formatting the pages with a header. Of course, the first page header on a manuscript has to be formatted in a certain way, and the subsequent pages formatted differently. I played with that for a few hours yesterday, and with some advice from my online instructor, found the method I like best.

By late afternoon I had eight chapters completed, proofed, edited, revised, and printed. Then I went to save them to a new flash drive, and couldn't find chapter one. The first page of chapter one, the page with the different header info, was there, but not the subsequent pages. I'll keep this short: I lost the subsequent pages of chapter one at least four times. I have no idea where they are. They aren't on my hard drive, in my Recent Documents, in My Documents, in Backup documents, or in the Recycle Bin. They aren't on the data flash drive that I'd used earlier, either.

Fortunately I had several hard copies, because after each proofing and revision, I print one for further editing. So, I recreated that wretched chapter four or five times. After the last re-creation, I quit for the night when it too disappeared.

Something there is that doesn't like chapter one. Something besides me, that is.

1 comment:

  1. Are you SURE the F keys aren't for varying strengths of cuss words?

    Seriously, I need to learn more about how to use the full capacities of Word. I'm learning the hard way that it's essential to keep up with various iterations of a story so that I don't send an earlier (unimproved) version out when I'm submitting somewhere.