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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Writing in Bed and the Making of the Journals

Its been a little busy around here lately as I prepare the printed versions of my trip to Kenya in February, 2017.   I know, it's rather late.

But, I suppose it's a good thing that I'm active enough to have had many adventures to interfere with completing those journals in a timely fashion.

They take a LONG time.  Here are the steps:

1.   First, of course, are the photos.   I download more than 5000 of them into my "developing" software and edit them. I straighten the horizons, crop, edit, adjust color, etc.

2.   The writing of each chapter comes next.   For this stage, I have to wait for the muse if the photos themselves don't inspire my imagination.

3.   Posting text and photos into this blog.   This is where the final rewrite of the text occurs, even though I write the story first in Word.

4.   When I've finished with the entire series of chapters, I copy each one directly from my blog and paste that into a new Word document.   Now the real work begins.

5.  That pasted document could run for dozens of pages,  depending on the number of photos included.   Formatting the document into a page that can be printed takes hours.  The photos have to be re-sized and positioned on each page.  Quite often I wrap the text around the photo.
6.   I cannot possibly print each chapter with all the photos I included on the blog, so I have to decide which to include and which to delete but still retain the essence of the story.

7.   Cutlines.   Occasionally, the pasted document has some formatting embedded from the blog.  I can, and often do, use text boxes to overcome that impediment.

8.   And so it goes, chapter after chapter.   The Kenya Journals have 34 chapters.   On one glorious day, I was able to format five chapters.   The next day, only one and a half.  I worked eight to ten hours days formatting, proofing, editing, etc, until all 34 chapters were done.

9.  Proofing, editing, checking the formatting.   Because I don't yet know if the pages in each chapter will be recto (right hand) or verso (left hand) pages when collated, it's impossible to design each page so that it balances visually.   Maybe some day.

10.   The next step is collating each chapter into one completed document.   I recheck the formatting, proofread again.

11.  The next step is printing the collated document.   I use a special paper that is made for two-sided printing of text and /or photos.   It's called presentation paper.   At 32lbs, it is heavier than regular copy paper.   And more expensive.  I stock up when it's on sale.   The merger of Office Max and Office Depot has helped a lot.    What used to cost around $30 for a hundred sheets, I can now get for a third of that.

12.  Ink.   The bane of my projects.   My HP printer balks at using Costco refilled cartridges.    The quality of the print decreases.   But, to use genuine HP ink would mean up to $100.00 just in ink for the Kenya Journals.   So, I frequently clean and align the printhead and hope the color quality is okay.   Sometimes I have to reset the printer.

13.   I can't start the print job and go off on a lark.  I have to baby-sit the printer and make sure everything goes well.  For that reason, and several others, I print in batches of 40 pages at a time, all the while staying by the printer.

14.  Sometimes I can print both sets of the two-volume Kenya Journals in a day.  Other times, like yesterday, I was able to print only one volume.

15.  Based on print quality, I sometimes have to re-edit the photos by finding the originals and inserting them in place of the ones that didn't print well.

16.  Designing the covers is the most fun past of the project.  Not all photos are suitable, such as photos with cluttered backgrounds.   Once I select the cover candidates, I import them into a software program called Print Shop Pro.

17.   The actual designing process is relatively simple.  I enlarge the photo to cover 8-1/2 by 11.   I insert a headline box, select the font, and position that on the page.  I use text boxes to insert any other info on the cover.

18.   Printing the cover is simple.   I use either heavy photo paper or a special 48 lb. presentation paper that is really expensive.   The photo paper gives me a better quality.

19.  I write, format, and design the "front pages."  These include the title page, dedication, and table on contents.

20.  Once I have everything printed and collated, I take the printed journals to Anchorage and have them bound at Office Max.  That is the least costly part of the project, at less than $5.

21.   I decide who gets copies, based on several criteria.   Mailing is the last step.

So, that's why I have been so negligent in tending to my blog.   There's hope, though.   Last night as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, my muse paid a visit and we wrote the opening lines for a new chapter of The Wyoming Journals.

Now, if I can just remember what they were....


  1. I knew putting your Journals together was a lot of work, but I didn't realize that it was that much work. You also forgot to mention one other thing that takes a lot of time, the research that you do to verify anything that you have questions about. Fantastic work. Looking forward to more of the Wyoming Journals.

  2. WOW Jeanne. WOW Jeanne. WOW Jeanne. I have always known that a LOT OF WORK goes into your printed journals, but listing the work item by item leaves me breathless. Precious, priceless works of art. In addition to all the things you listed, there is also time and thought spent in just "thinking about" how and what you will put together for each of these projects. Amazing, truly amazing. Thank you for being in our lives! You are a treasured gift. Patti and Cap

  3. Oh Yes. WHEW. Oh My. You are indeed something-else. Cap and Patti