Thursday, April 27, 2006

Congratulate me: I'm now a published, er, something-or-other

After months of e-mails, phone calls, fact-checking, Spell-Checking, updates, corrections, editing, and finally, literally several hours of reformatting, my (boss's) masterpiece was finally sent out for informal printing (3 spiral-bound copies from Staples) and published on our website yesterday. Yay! Hooray! (Not to mention, considering how long it took, Baruch Shehecheyanu.) As the Project Director said, "Let's crack open the grape juice." :)

I'm so proud. I began temping for this organization in late 2001, and was heavily involved in the word-processing of two previous major publications. I was the chief formatting expert for one publication, and co-wrote the uniform-formatting guide for the other one, spelling out many of the instructions on how to create the required formatting. I also worked on several other major projects. One former supervisor, after initially resisting my efforts to organize her computer files (by putting them into folders and putting date and time stamps in the footers on each file) later thanked me: My organization system made the project run much more smoothly, as I knew it would. (Sometimes, the difference between administrator and support staff is that the administrator sees the forest while the support staff sees the trees--the administrator knows what, but doesn't always know how. Some administrators have only a vague idea of what the support staff has to do to complete a project and/or how much effort goes into our work.) Another former supervisor told me that I was the best copy-editor she'd ever had. But this is the first project that I've completed as my boss's full-time permanent Secretary for Special Projects.

Naturally, someone found a few mistakes in the document already. (Thus far, I've spotted three formatting errors myself, I'm embarrassed to say. I'm amazed and dismayed that, despite several hours of my best efforts, I wasn't able to catch all of the formatting problems. On the other hand, all those tables that I recreated from scratch on my own initiative because they were hard to read are easier to read now. My tables are purrty :) And the massive tab-reformatting project left the sections in question looking much more consistently formatted. ) But I've been told not to make any further corrections. The file is now out of my hands, both figuratively and literally: A staff member from another department is in charge of taking a CD of "my baby" to the print shop (probably early next week, after getting the necessary approvals) and getting it transformed into a softcover book. The printer(s) will add photos, probably change the font, and perform any number of other necessary procedures that will completely override and pretty much rip to shreds about 90% of my formatting in the process of turning my 8-1/2-inch- by-11-inch copy into a 6-inch-by-9-inch paperback. Sigh. I can only hope that the final product is, well, as impressive as we can afford to have them make it.

I call this "my" baby, but it's really my boss's baby, and besides, sometimes it seems as if half the organization was involved in its publication. In my humble opinion, my hard-working boss and I owe a special thanks to The Wiz, our resident computer science genius and technical advisor, who, among her many contributions to this project, had this document published on our website within hours of its completion, and to the organization's Project Director, who went over this file with a fine-tooth comb again and again (checking English, formatting, and facts), worked the phones for updates and accurate information, and ensured that the job got done and done well.

P.S. In case you were wondering what's with all this poetry that I've been publishing lately, mine is a feast-or-famine job: Either I'm reformatting files 'til 8:14 PM, or else I'm sitting around reading blogs all day between answering the boss's phone calls. :) Since finishing this colossal project yesterday afternoon, I haven't had a darn thing to do. And my poetry being a sometime thing, if I don't write it down right away, sometimes I forget what I was going to say. So, assuming that the inspiration strikes, you might see more poetry from me when I'm between projects.

But next week, we'll probably go back to working on that other project. Oy. Well, that's why they hired me. Besides, I feel kinda funny twindlin' my thumbs: I prefer to work for a living and earn my pay.


Blogger Tzipporah said...

As an editor, I feel your pain (and share your satisfaction) at a big job finally done. :)

I love to hold a printed book, but it is frustrating that we can't "update" it automatically every time we find an error...

Fri Apr 28, 01:32:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Yes, it's pleasure, to see my handiwork (if not my writing) in print, but it's frustrating to spot all the mistakes that I missed, despite my best efforts. I could have sworn I deleted that page break, so why is there a page that's half blank staring back at me from the website's PDF copy? Grumble, grumble, kvetch and mumble, typist gripes 'cause fingers stumble.

Sat Apr 29, 10:58:00 PM 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>