16 September, 2007

When tools become obstacles

Today I sat down to write. I've been trying very hard to train myself to write when I'm not furious, or depressed, or whatever else drives me to put "pen" to "paper." So, this is significant for me. However, I spent a good amount of time yesterday formatting a manuscript for submission.

The previous agent I worked with had asked for 1.5 space, Times New Roman, left-aligned and ragged, and with only the page number in the header, specifically the top right.

Yesterday's manuscript went out double-spaced, in Courier, left-aligned, ragged, with a weird sort of "cover" for it, a rough word count, a header that included my name, the title of the manuscript, and the page number, and also that all my italics be changed to underlines. Further, all my emdashes (—) needed to be changed to double-hyphens (--) and the spaces before and after removed. Oh, and a double-space after a full stop instead of a single.

Given there's a huge difference between what I had before and what I formatted yesterday, I thought, gee, I'll write myself a Word template so I can just do that automatically. Instead, I've been wrestling with Word's autoformatting for ninety-seven minutes. It will let me auto-replace a full stop with a period-space, but not a period-space with a period-space-space. This is problematic because here in 'Merka, we use periods in numbers (and commas too!). Further, when I go to Format > Auto Format ..., it ditches all the formatting in the document, even though I'm using a goddamn template that says courier new, double space, and so on. Oh, and now it wants to show me my newlines and spaces. It's charming.

I have lost the title. I can't remember it. I know it was a good one. I've also lost Rita Sue. I know what she looks like, I can practically smell her. But I don't remember what she was doing with that gun, and I can't remember why she killed those people.

This is so aggravating. If I do manage to get any writing done today, it's going to be revisions to the manuscript from yesterday (went through a couple people I trust to "galley" it before it goes to submission), or that column on turn-based versus real-time strategy and role-playing games. Neither of these are what I wanted to write, and neither of them are the outlet that Rita Sue was/is for me.

I might also just get so fucking frustrated that I'll play Xbox games until my brain dribbles out my ears.

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