Things I want to talk about

The zine. It’s coming together nicely. We have stories to print. No one has run screaming at the sight of our publishing contract (yet). Two people have even thanked us for prompt and polite rejections. Buying InDesign was bad for my credit card, but it’s a dream to work with. Still need to figure out where we’re going to print it, and find out if I can get it into any local stores.

Publishing. It’s a weird business. I was thrilled to rediscover that the front of the Chicago Manual of Style is a guide to bookmaking, which has enough crossover for serial publications to be useful and interesting. I really wish someone had a similar kind of guide to serials, though. I’m discovering that print on demand is a hot topic right now, even though it’s immensely impractical for most kinds of publishing. I’m discovering that most people still don’t want to talk about business mechanics and economics. I don’t get this, because looking at the mechanics of things makes me feel like I have more control. Don’t other people want to know where to apply the lever?

Work. There isn’t much I can say in public. I’m feeling frustrated and burned out. We’re so close to finishing the project, and yet… not.

Planning. This is another area where it’s all about mechanics. You have resources, you have time, you have goals. Getting all of those to work together is mostly an issue of breaking it up into pieces and knowing where you can compromise. One of my coworkers likes to talk about goals as a kind of boundary. You use them to determine whether a given activity is inside or outside. So if the goal is to fix the car’s engine, you don’t waste time cleaning the windows. It doesn’t feel hard to me, but it must be more difficult than I think because a lot of people are really bad at this. They don’t pay enough attention to the details.

I’ll stop there, because I have a long list of bugs to fix. If anyone feels like commenting, tell me: what have you been wanting to talk about?

Addendum on planning: I’m really tired of people acting like I’m an asshole when I say, “Given our resources, the only way we can finish by Tuesday is by cutting a deliverable.” or anything similar. I’m not doing it to yank anyone around. It’s just my honest assessment of the situation. If you don’t like it, change the timeline or add more resources (though there’s a limit to what you can do with that second one–see Mythical Man Month).

One response to “Things I want to talk about

  1. I keep meaning to write a post about my latest mobile phone. It’s a frustrating combination of awesomeness and brokenness.