Finished that dang chapter 30 last night just after midnight. I’d write a section, then site with B on the couch and sip champagne and watch a little bit of Trollope’s “How We Live Now” with David Suchet as un-Hercule Poirotesque as could be, the dash back into my office and tap out the next section.
Not feeling quite as bad today. Sure, as always, some things are not getting done, but you know traction always feels better than slippage. One little dose of yoga seems to have gone a long way toward unkinking this walnut-sized knot/seizure implanted under my left shoulderblade (not the clavicle… scapula? spatula). Chapter 23, my next purgatory, is well underway. I may actually get it done today (tonight) and perhaps even get a little more than six hours lead time ahead of my editor’s scythe.
But I’ve been pounding the keys since I dropped off B downtown and I need a break. This is my idea of a break from writing instructions. Here’s the weird part, maybe the tech-writer’s dilemma: I love writing the hard parts, the conceptual explanations that take forethought and molding and spontaneity and talent and experience and skill and polish to pull off. I hate writing the easy parts, the step-by-step how to information, but that’s the line share of the writing. It’s too expensive to hire out and not everyone can even do it well. It’s draining, actually, more than the explicative parts, because I still try to maintain an entirely steady and reliable voice, using style with subtlety, mostly through restraint, when in fact much of the information is monotonous, rote-like, and not so much repetitive as semantically analogous to all the other instructional modules in the book.
Somehow, the prose matters, even for “Another of MS Product’s useful shortcuts is the Bling Bling Wizard. Use it when you need to crank up a Bling Bling but aren’t sure of what’s required. The Wizard walks you through:
- “Click the Bling Bling icon.
- Skip the intro and click the Next button.
- et cetera …”
Maybe somehow the pure functional part of the language could be abstracted out into catchy design elements, but text, even in this innocuous explaining how to do something mode, is a rich and powerful medium.
Time for a real break.