Thursday, October 17, 2019

Love Letters to my life #16: Dancing with InDesign

by Joyce Wycoff

(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my death day, the 17th of every month, 
and reminds me to be grateful for my incredible life.)

I love learning … when it’s easy … when I can quickly use what I’ve learned.
I’m a practical learner … an impatient, practical learner.
A friend with the same proclivities calls us “5-minute experts.”
We can skim the cream and talk a good game.

InDesign said, “We’ll see.”

I wanted to make a book I could hold in my hand.
The idea came easily.
The cover showed up in a flash.
I had done this before. Piece of cake.
Cost-per-unit finances required a new path.
I wanted to follow the old one.
                                                It failed.

With trusty Photoshop in hand, I tried again.
                                                It failed.
The Learned Ones said, “You need InDesign.”
“No, I’ll do it my way,” I replied.
                                                It failed again.

I put the project aside ...
Nasty thing that wouldn’t co-operate.
It whimpered and whined until I said, “Alright already!”
Giving in, I bought InDesign, uploaded it ...
Prepared to begin again.
It was Photoshop’s cousin; bound to be simple.

    Step 1 … one week … two weeks …
    Buy an online course …
    27 videos later:
    Step 1 … one week … two weeks …
    Microscopic aha.
    Page 1 … 2 … 3 … on a roll.
    Page 4 throws up a new rule, refuses to go on.
                                                Start over.

More videos, a thousand Googles, and a pretty aha.
Redo pages 1, 2, 3.
Even 4 works.
But, now I don’t like any of them.
                                                 Start over.

Starting to see daylight, excited, want to wrap text.
Simple, but doesn’t work.
Rewatch videos. Retry.
Rinse and repeat. Again. Again. Again.
Something is wrong.
                                                 Start over.

Eureka! Problem solved. Clarity at last.
Progress made.
30 pages in, decide to test.
12 broken links.
23 overtexts.
                                                 No partridge in a pear tree.

Back to videos. Back to Google.
Curse internet for storing answers from 2012.
Reread current answer 5 times trying to understand geek-speak.
Search for Link Panel … pictures would be nice.
Play with preferences.
Undo the mess preference changes made.
Fix all the errors committed along the way.
Day 746 (it seems) exported my first pdf.

I love learning new stuff!
Assuming InDesign and I keep dancing, eventually there will be a book about my two years in Mexico … why I moved there, some of the beauty I saw, a few of the things I learned, and, I hope, a deeper understanding of why I left a place I loved.

The book cover is above and here is the Contents page and the opening spread for Chapter 1.


  1. I'd say you are one tenacious woman!!! Congrats.. you did it!!!
    Can't wait to see it!
    Proud of you!