Friday, July 24, 2009

The Emotional Roller Coaster

Life is an emotional roller coaster for me, maybe for most people to a certain degree. Rare, I think, and probably drug-induced, is the person who doesn't have emotional highs and lows. For some the track tops and bottoms are higher, the run-ups and -downs steeper, and the twists sharper than for others. But I think it is all there for most people.

Seasons in life are another factor. When we lived in Saudi Arabia the roller coaster was particularly pronounced. A lot had to do with our time in life (children ages 3 and 1). A lot had to do with the harshness of the country and culture. A lot had to do with being at the whim of the company for everything from drinking water to rides to spending money. Back in the good old USA was the merry-go-round to Saudi's roller coaster.

I find the writing life to generate those roller coaster type swings. They can be quite wild at a writers conference, where you're at the peak one minute and 15 minutes later, after a meeting with an editor, at the bottom of the trough. Other aspects of writing can do the same, almost as quickly.

Take for instance. I'm now up to 26 articles posted, in 31 days. Several of those articles rank high on a couple of search engines for key words I included in the articles. I had one article selected as an Editor's Choice. I'm starting to generate a little revenue--emphasis on "little," but that's better than none. Everything was humming along.

Then, Suite101 adds the requirement, previously a recommendation, that every article include an image. No exceptions. So I quickly had to ramp up on how to find copyright-free images, how to download them to my computer, how to save them to the right type of image, how to upload them into Suite101's image uploading system, complete with caption, file name, source reference, and available link. I got several uploaded on new articles, and even went back to some earlier articles and added some photos and map excerpts.

Then I captured an image of Ben Franklin to illustrate my latest article. Poof. The image wouldn't upload. Not from my computer at work. Not from my computer at home. No reason why. It took a couple of days to get help from an editor, as the site trouble-shooting guide and the editor's e-mails contain many terms I don't understand. And I find I can't really do things I don't understand. I have to understand what I'm doing. Save the image as a jpeg or png file? What do those mean? Why, or when, should I use one instead of the other? Make sure the dpi is 72 or less? Okay, never done that before. How do I do that? And why is that necessary? Make sure the size is not more than y by z? That I think I can handle, but I'm not real sure. Use shorter file names? Okay, but how do I keep them straight on my hard drive?

All these are going to take weeks to come up to speed on. Meantime, all my creative writing time has gone into writing for Suite101. Now suddenly all my creative writing time is going to go to learning photos and images and how to manipulate them for the Internet. Doggone it. I want to write. I don't want to be a photo manipulator, or a layout artist. The bloom has certainly come off the Suite101 rose. Whether it will bloom again remains to be seen. I'm not a happy camper.

Oh, I also was out of commission a couple of days this week, having a colonoscopy. Not the world's greatest experience, but at least all seems well (one "small polyp" removed). Bad week to have that in terms of emotions.


Gary said...

Yes, the level of technical knowledge needed to do seemingly simple things is overwhelming to newbies (ya gotta learn jargon too, btw). It'll snap in, though, when you finally reach the first plateau. Your problem is you don't have a tutor so you're wasting time thrashing. Mathematics and statistics are that way for me and every bit of knowledge about them is hard won (and often forgotten in too short a time). Email me with questions and I'll try to fill you in.

David A. Todd said...

I appreciate the offer of help, Gary. I'm taking a few days off from Suite101 to decide what I want to do. I'll most likely pout a while then bite the bullet and begin learning it.