Tag Archives: desktop publishing

Well Begun Is Nearly Done: Desktop publishing workflow at warp speed

Presented at the 32nd annual Editors’ Association of Canada conference, Vancouver, May 29, 2011

It’s a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. The three humans, two droids, and one wookiee on the Millennium Falcon are being attacked by Imperial cruisers. They can escape by jumping into hyperspace. But the pilot, Han Solo, is taking time getting coordinates from the navi-computer. As laser blasts hit, Luke Skywalker shouts, “Are you kidding? At the rate they’re gaining…”

And Solo replies, “Traveling through hyperspace isn’t like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that’d end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?”


It’s this week, in an office all too close to home. A project is on a tight deadline. You have the workflow and the people lined up, but you’re taking time making sure that everything is set up the right way in the layout… and the source file… As the telephone is ringing off its hook, your project manager shouts, “Are you kidding? We don’t have time for niceties like that! Just make it happen!”

And you reply, “Desktop publishing isn’t like using a typewriter. Without setting it up the right way, we could get nailed and waste hours redoing everything when the client wants to change some element of the look late in the game. And you know they will. And that would take us way over time and budget, wouldn’t it?”


You’ve probably heard your mother or teacher or some similar person say, “Well begun is half done.”

Well, when it comes to desktop publishing, well begun is really a lot more than half done. Continue reading

“I can do that!”

This is the text of a presentation I gave at The Writers’ Community of Durham Region’s monthly breakfast on April 9, 2011.

Have you ever seen A Chorus Line? I mean the Broadway musical or the movie that was made from it.

Now, there’s a show for a triple threat. You know, someone who can act, dance, and sing. There’s one great tapdance number in it – you might know it: “I’m watching sis go pit-a-pat, Said, ‘I can do that, I can do that.’”

That’s actually a pretty good guide to becoming a triple threat. In publishing. You know, writing, editing, design. By design I mean layout – desktop publishing. “I can do that” is also a good guide to getting to earn a living doing these things. And there’s a corollary: a good way not to get as far is to say, “I can’t do that. I won’t do that.” Continue reading