Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The deadline was last Monday

The deadline was last Monday. I think that 'dead' in this sense means 'inactive, not effective any more, past' but not everyone thinks that. Some people, who shall remain nameless (they know who they are), think that 'dead' means 'playing dead, bluffing'.
Each month I edit and produce a 20-page newsletter for the Field Naturalists Club, and my life in the last week of each month pretty much revolves around that task. I volunteered to do it and I enjoy doing it, mostly. I use the Publisher software to help me with layout and feel that I've got a handle on how that all works now. I also like working with photographs, the editing process of receiving a mixed bag of photos each month and presenting them well. I enjoy persuading initially-reluctant people to contribute an article on a particular topic and seeing them produce wonderful articles. I anticipate with pleasure the contributions of the regular writers and enjoy the continuity of their work. I look forward to reading the excursion reports of the various sub-groups in the club.
Luckily the members of the group are very generous in the way they set aside time each month to write and article for the newsletter.
This is the process:
 As the month moves on the articles and photos start to appear on my email and in my letterbox and I save them to the current edition's folder to be looked at later.
 About ten days before publication date I copy across the master copy of the newsletter and change all the dates and volume numbers.
 About the same time I email or chat to individuals about specific articles I have initiated or know are in the pipeline – I have to set word limits, and find out whether there are photos or tables to be attached.
 I edit each article in Word. The newsletter has a standardised format for dates, titles, punctuation, spelling and so on. And I have to look for double-spaces where they shouldn't be, bullets and numbering discrepancies, check the spelling and accuracy of scientific names. All of the text has to be a standard font and font size.
 I then start to insert articles in the newsletter in Publisher, a balancing act between the space available with the length of the various articles.
 The photos have to be edited before they are added, and a title added to each. I have to choose a photo to put on the cover.
 About three days before publication I am happy with the end product and print out a hard copy for Deborah to check. She's a fantastic proof-reader who makes me look good.
 The day before publication I get the copy back from Deborah and make the various adjustments she has highlighted (I have never yet managed to produce a clean copy first up!!) and that evening I convert the file to PDF format and email it to the printer.
 A day later I pick up my copy of the completed newsletter at the meeting.

My study when I'm under pressure

This is what my desk looks like when I am in the middle of it all (I promise it doesn't always look this messy). Note the coffee cup - it's one of the most important parts of the process. The whole job is rewarding, and because of the great people in the group I rarely have to panic about large spaces glaring at me on the computer screen as I wonder what to fill them with. But I do wish the tardy would comply with the deadline!

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Your blood's worth bottling BB. Great job.