Friday, April 22, 2011

Blue Pens and Bicycles

I am making progress on the memoir. I am using a hybrid of electronic and paper cut-and-paste for putting together the pieces. I have spent many hours this week reading through the pieces, putting together an outline; seeing where there are gaps of information and where there are gaps of editing.

One example: there is one section near the beginning of the book that I have worked on quite a bit. It has been run past other writers and a mentor/editor. I have tweaked and changed and added and smoothed and it feels pretty near done. But when I read through the printout of all of the parts, I saw that there is another piece which goes with it - extends the part I've spent so much time on.

It's not a problem. Just that the polished section's most recent version was March 2011; the additional section - which has not been touched since it was first written - is from 2007. My writing has changed (for the better) within that time, I'm happy to say. But the writing of two pieces of that section or chapter or larger scene is very uneven. It's not a problem and I'm looking forward to the challenge of bringing it all together.

So what I'm doing right now is starts with the three inch notebook containing the printout, which has various colored sticky notes, handwritten notes, circles and arrows and names on the back (no, wait, that's from the song Alice's Restaurant!).... *smile*.  I have the notebook, my notes, the stickies, the cross outs and tear outs and I'm putting the pieces together and taking them apart in a computer document.

I've downloaded all of the parts to my laptop and combined the ones that were online with the ones that were already on the laptop into a MEMOIR folder. Then, within that, I have a FILE called MEMOIR Editing and I'm doing an electronic cut and paste of the pieces. Trying to order them and clearly mark where heavy editing needs to happen. I haven't gotten to a hole yet - but I will just put HOLE in 24 point font or something and probably fuchsia color, easy to find. I've bracketed the needs editing parts with double lines and EDIT START/END bolded and highlighted in yellow.

Each time I make changes to this master editing document, I upload it back to Google Docs before shutting down the laptop. I really like using Google Docs, because I can access it from anywhere. But one problem - which is also one bonus feature - is the automatic save. The good thing is that I don't lose much - if anything - if there is a power or computer failure. The bad thing is that, with a large document, which this book has quickly become, the auto save slows my computer. My laptop works fine - but it is not the fastest laptop around (it's several years old, works fine, but not the speediest).

So - hybrid editing: computer, online, paper and pen; and local hard drive and cyberspace (I'm not sure if I'm actually in a cloud - I don't think so, but something I heard recently, I may be).

And: I'm making great progress!

Oh - one more thing. Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend to borrow her bicycle. She's not using it much right now and I've been thinking I'd like to have one and start riding. But I don't want to put out the money if I'm not going to use it. So, I'm excited - another physical adventure lies ahead! I've also returned regularly to the gym (swimming, weights, will add in a few machines) and walking (I'm up to 2 miles now - after getting over the cold/flu and feel I'm near the end of treatment for the December car accident).

Things are definitely looking up. Adventures are back in the forefront with writing!