Some days, I want to pull out my hair (what little remains).
Since beginning the transition to becoming an author, I’ve taken on several new educational tasks. Sometimes I think I’m not smart enough for this!
Today I’m working in InDesign. This is a software program for professional graphic designers. This program will do jumping jacks, wash the dishes, and take out the garbage (figuratively, of course) if the idiot atop the keyboard simply knows how to ask correctly. Just now, I’m trying desperately to change the font of a line of text. The font works elsewhere in the document, but it simply won’t work the place I need it to work. I’ve even tried cutting and pasting from areas that work, but the spacing goes to heck. Not to beat myself up too badly, I did manage to design the cover and interior of my two latest books, Union, WV and Harmonic Highways, and I think they look professionally done, if I do say so myself. I also did a paying job for Dwight Hayes on the interior of his book. But the learning is extremely difficult and the rewards infrequent.
Beyond that, I’ve learned the rudiments of Squarespace, an internet based HTML generator and hosting site for websites. I got lots of help from an old friend, a “boy wonder” who was 12 when he started learning HTML. But now I’m trying to carry the torch myself, with mixed results. This website was designed and is hosted in Squarespace.
I’m trying to learn Photoshop to make changes to my photographs.
And I’m trying to learn a new program called Scrivener, which is a tool to help writers keep thoughts organized. Conceptually it sounds like a good idaa, but the learnin' is distracting from the organizin'.
And then there’s PayPal’s Merchant Services, the state of Virginia’s on-line tax reporting system, and several other programs that I can’t think of right now.
I was discussing the occupational world with my daughter a few days ago. She’s in the midst of a job change during the summer between her sophomore and junior years in college. I said, “Anybody can do the easy stuff – which varies from person to person. Successful people take on the hard stuff.” I’m swallowing a bit of my own medicine these days, it seems. Hopefully it will someday make me successful. Hopefully while I still have some hair left.