I had hoped to get the sequel to Been Blued out by Christmas of 2007.  But the unexpected has been happening from the moment I finished it.  First, my old laptop couldn’t send it fast enough for the publisher’s site to upload the manuscript.  (I finally put the manuscript on a memory stick and uploaded it from that.  The memory stick worked much faster than the computer.)  I’d been thinking it was just about time to replace my aging machine–7 years is ancient for a computer–and I found one that was at a really good sale price in the computer store.  Meanwhile, the editorial team finished their evaluation and sent the manuscript back to me for revisions.  Okay, no problem.  Or so I thought.

The new laptop has a Microsoft Office program, something I’ve never used.  It also appears to have been programmed to throw files into that program without input from me.  Worse yet, things that take minutes in the works program seem to take hours in the office program.  That may be my fault, since I’m not used to the office program, but it took far too long to realize I could simply cut and paste the document back into a works file.  By then I’d wasted several frustrating evenings, thinking, ‘there must be a simpler way of doing this.’  I ended up asking for an extension beyond my initial deadline, something that isn’t a problem with my publisher, iUniverse.

In the meantime, I couldn’t locate the product key for the office program.  I finally quit looking and downloaded one; right before I located the one that came with the laptop.  Of course a person can get tied in knots inside, thinking someone else has made a mistake, but I try to remember that’s counter-productive.

The point is, unexpected delays tend to throw me completely off schedule.  That’s why I prefer airline delays.  They delay you, they take care of it.  I have to rethink everything, and try to figure out how to salvage what’s left of my plans.  Maybe it’s because I seldom make solid plans.  I’m not good at coming up with the original plan, how could I be good at reworking it when it’s been messed up?  I’m far more productive if I don’t plan, since I’m extremely creative and planning often just gets in the way.

This might sound shallow, but for me it’s all about having fun.  I suppose it always has been.  If I can find a way to turn the unexpected delay into some kind of fun, then I’m okay.  When a flight got delayed in the US and they offered to send me back to Calgary through Winnipeg (several hundred miles in the wrong direction, but I suppose it’s their dime,) it would mean spending several more hours in the airport.  I was thinking two things.  First, I was about to go to Winnipeg on Air Miles, just like in the commercial!  Second, I was getting to spend several more hours in the States!  (My paternal grandparents were American so I feel more at home in the US than in Canada.)  The airline even paid for my supper.

  Finding the fun in a delay helps me gain perspective.  My experience with the office program brought something to my attention.  In the current reality of constantly changing computer programs, I’d been severely set back when faced with an unfamiliar one.  So once I’m done getting my sequel to the publisher, I shouldn’t draw back from the office program, but learn it inside out instead.  I tend to learn things quickly on my own, and of course if there’s a hard way to do something I will find it.  But I’ll also find a way to turn it into fun.  What are delays for?

Thanks for reading.  🙂

Phyllis K Twombly


About Scifialiens

Author of the Martian Symbiont series: three titles, so far; Been Blued, Martian Blues, Martian Divides. Currently writing screenplays. 'Mating With Humans' can be found on her Stage32.com account. Enjoyed writing from the start. Also a Star Trek and Doctor Who fan. Canadian so far. Paternal grandparents were American. Feels more at home in the States. Loves dogs and most other animals. Loves cats from afar--allergies. Plays flute and saxophone; 'messes with' keyboard and electric guitar. Single so far. Not really looking at the moment. Age: irrelevant. Not to be confused with the fictional comic book character, Phyllis Twombly, who lived for 600 years in the American Midwest.

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