Although some staff members are furloughed, Nightmares with the Bible is still going to press. Unlike many authors, I realize that Covid-19 has had a stifling effect on publishing, starting with bottlenecking books at printing houses. Printers (along with publishers) were non-essential businesses and since you have to be physically present to run a printing press, the virus literally, well, stopped the presses. Many publishers could work remotely, so the projects began piling up before printing houses reopened. All of this is preamble to saying I am gratified that work with Nightmares is continuing. Yesterday, however, it led to a nightmare of its own.
One of the reasons I don’t fight awaking early is that it is uninterrupted writing time. Most of the rest of your time zone is asleep at three a.m., so I can write in peace. Yesterday, however, I had to divide my manuscript into chapter files and resend it to the publisher. No problem, right? Technology, however, has made this once simple task a burden. I use a Mac, and so my word processor is Pages. Not only that, but the constant systems upgrades require me to empty space on my hard drive—really, the only stuff I keep on here are my writings and those pictures I snap with my phone. Still, I had to load my external drive to access the final file sent to the publisher two months back. With Pages you can’t select material from page-to-page in the thumbnails. No, you must “physically” go to the start of the chapter, click, scroll to the end of the chapter, and shift-click to highlight and then copy it. Then you have to open a new file, select a template, and paste. Save and export as a Word document. The process took about two hours.
Now, I get up this early to write and do a little reading. Yesterday I could do neither. Instead I was cutting and pasting like a manic kindergartener, trying to get my manuscript printed before the second wave comes and shuts everything down again. Talk about your nightmares! Technology has made the industry much swifter, no doubt. When I first began publishing articles you had to send physical printouts through the postal services and await either a rejection, or acceptance, through the mail. Book manuscripts required large print jobs and keeping duplicates (at least we didn’t have to use carbon paper!). All I lost was a morning of writing before the work bell rang. Still, nightmares come in all sizes, some of them quite small.