Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

When I turn on the shower I expect water. On one particular morning, what I got was an anemic trickle. Uh oh. How do I fix this?

I remembered reading somewhere that soaking the showerhead in vinegar could clear out any mineral deposits. Later in  the day, I marched into the bathroom with a basin and a jug of vinegar.

With the basin of vinegar in the tub, I removed the hand-held shower attachment and let it hang. It didn't reach the basin. Hmm, what now? A lightbulb went off in my head. I dug through the linen closet and found additional basins. If the showerhead wouldn't reach the basin, then maybe I could make the basin reach the showerhead.

Now, now, I hear all those groans, but I thought it was a dandy idea. I stacked the basins until they resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Only this leaning tower gave way, and the vinegar went down the drain. Someone later said to me, "Why didn't you just unscrew the showerhead?"

Because I tend to do things the hard way.

Unfortunately, this tendency isn't limited to plumbing dilemmas. My critique partners can attest to my rather creative attempts to format a manuscript. They have saved my neck more than once in the formatting wars.

I'm still learning how to format the right way, but I sure wish I had a teacher, who could walk me through the steps. ACFW Genesis Contest gave detailed instructions on how to format the contest entry. Does anyone know of an online class or craft book that teaches how to acquire this skill?

Writers: Please share your toughest formatting challenges and how you fixed them.

Readers: Have you come across books where the formatting messed up? I recently read a Kindle book where sentences and paragraphs ended in strange places. The distraction pulled me out of the story for a few moments, but didn't totally wipe out my concentration.


Linda O'Connell said...

Susan, I think you are a creative thinker. Hope you have a great week.

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh Susan, LOL, I might have done the same thing! I agree with Linda.
My biggest formatting thing was probably changing all my double spaces to single spaces. Grrrr. What a pain!!

Karen Lange said...

Formatting can be a challenge. Sometimes I can fix it easily, other times there is some grumbling at my desk. I've even started a new document if I couldn't fix the problem.

Happy Monday,
Karen :)

Jaime Wright said...

I hate formatting. My toughest challenge is page numbering and headers when they change multiple times within the same document. :P

Rhonda Schrock said...

Oh, bless you for sharing this, girl. :) I can empathize on the trickle of water deal, only ours happened in this summer's drought. Out of which, naturally, sprang a column. :)

Nancy said...

I hope you got your shower head going great. My husband did that trick and it worked.

Those contest rules do seem a bit overwhelming.

Loree Huebner said...

Susan, you made me laugh. How often do I do something the hard way?...A lot!

I hate formatting, but you can google almost any question and find out how to format properly.

I recently needed to have a page break. I googled it (How do I make a page break in a Word document?) and found a step by step youtube tutorial...and it worked perfectly.

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Haha, I can sort of picture you watching your tower of Pisa coming down...
Formatting, I don't mind really, it takes a lot of patience, I struggle sometimes with indents, but nothing major. Have you checked Karen Lange's coffeehouse for writers?

Raquel Byrnes said...

The technical side of writing is the bain of my existence. I'm with you...I learn the hard way. :D

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda - Thanks for being so kind.

Hi Jess - It took some major mental gymnastics for me to stop using two spaces after a period.

Hi Karen - I do the same thing on occasion only to have the formatting come out wonky again!

Hi Jaime - I hear you. Doesn't Word put those commands in the strangest place? I always forget and have to look it up.

Hi Rhonda - There's nothing like real life to provide fodder for a column or blog. :)

Hi Nancy - My neighbor ended up replacing the entire unit.

Hi Loree - This was my funny story from Janette's question list. I'm glad it made you laugh. It wasn't so amusing at the time, but I can muster up a smile when I think of it now.

Thanks for the tip.

Hi Marja - I wasn't happy seeing all that vinegar go down the drain. Hopefully, it cleared out some clogs along the way.

No, I haven't checked out Coffeehouse for Writers. Thanks for the reminder.

Hi Raquel - I'd rather write an entire first draft than format the manuscript!

Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Too funny--sounds like something I'd do! I love the way you think.

Yes, formatting is a thorn in my side, too.

I always get help when I shout out on FB--people are very willing to hand out free advice.

Terri Tiffany said...

I finally learned how to format better by asking another writer --especially about page breaks. I press control/enter and it works!

Crystal Laine said...

Susan, you gave me a laugh!

Formatting--ugh. Fix, fix, fix--seems to always be what I have to do. Sometimes don't you wish everything could be just be brand new? LOL.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen - Too bad it didn't work. :)

Hi Terri - I don't usually put in page breaks because of all the editing. Each chapter is in a separate document and only gets merged when I'm finished. Of course, it's NEVER finished. Argh.

Hi Crystal - I'm glad I made you laugh. It's good medicine, and something positive should come from my bumbling. :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. sometimes these things just happen - I have read someone's book where the formatting was all over the place - not sure how they corrected it: but know formatting is a challenge!

Cheers Hilary ... PS hope the shower head works ultra smoothly now?!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

LOL! I ended up replacing it.

Susan :)