05 March 2016

Editorial workarounds

I am putting together a newsletter, as happens four times a year. This is the editorial desk, with very little space for anything except the computer. The current issue is showing on the screen, greatly reduced size, to show which pages have space on them. That happens in InDesign file, and I also have an all-important Word file of what article is at what stage - which is conscientiously updated every time an email goes out, or an article and/or photos arrive and is saved in the issue folder. (The emails are given a label and can be tracked down, but it's so much easier to have an up to date record in one place. Record keeping is vital - it's so embarrassing to find that you've left something out!)
The articles are put on double-page spreads - they each start at the top of a page, rather than follow on from the end of the previous one. This means the order of articles can be changed ... which means that at the start, the order of articles isn't particularly important. I just add some pages and add the latest article.

But you can confuse yourself unnecessarily by having things all over the place, and not being able to see all the screens at once. So I went back to paper, and made myself a flat plan. Not wanting to draw all those tedious boxes, and not finding a template online, I folded a sheet of paper, aiming for 48 pages ... er, 6 x 6 doesn't equal 48! Never mind, the bottom row will have to squish up a little, and we can forget the cover. Here it is, minimal drawing of boxes. Page numbers are vital though -
Then I started pencilling in the articles, but soon found a better way

A rummage in the desk drawer turned up some post-it index tabs, bought in Canada 10 or 15 years ago - yellow for articles, red (cut in half) for fillers. Organisational bliss. See it at a glance -
Tabs can be filled out when article arrives - next issue, I'll have a border for parking those still to be put in the InDesign file. And some of the tabs can be reused in the next issue.

The point isn't just that "the old ways are the best ways". We get used to the system we've built up for ourselves, and sometimes limp along with it and grumble at the bits that don't work so well. In a work environment either it's imposed from above or we don't have time to step back and think about how to make improvements. It's good to have a chance to step back and see a better way.

1 comment:

irene macwilliam said...

Wow Margaret. I used quark when doing the magazine and I could have all pages on screen if desired or how many I needed. I like your way of colour coding the type of content.
Until you do a magazine one has no idea how one has to think out arrangements and what works for a particular type of content.
Thank you for all the work you put into it.