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Behind the scenes of writing Vue 7 From the Ground Up

My mom said something very true the other day, that I really can’t separate myself into parts: wife, mom, writer, etc. Every facet affects every other one. It’s all one me. So this “making of” topic is going to drop all the professional/public face stuff I usually show to everyone. The fact is, I’m a woman with teenagers, an almost teenager, and a pre-schooler. I’m involved in the schools. I’m a wife. I run. I read a lot. Fitting writing into that gets complicated.

Fitting a 70,000 word/250 image book into that, in two months, gets really simple: Family, writing, church and nothing else. To achieve my goal, I set a daily goal of 2000 words. This gave me Sundays off so that I could recharge.

My morning started with seeing one kid off to her bus and taking another her bus, which is far away because she goes to a magnet school. Then I came home, grabbed a bowl of cereal and sat down at my computer. I’d take care of my email, any other tasks I’d have to do, and then play a short game. I used this short game as kind of a relax, transition kind of thing. Then I’d start writing.

I used two computers: My powerhouse computer to run Vue with, and my laptop I use to write. As well as ALWAYS having Vue open, sometimes more than one version on different computers, I kept three Vue manuals around for versions 5, 6, and 7, and the phone handy so I could call Vladimir. I knew Vue pretty good but I always like to confirm what I thought I knew with both what the program actually did and what the manual said it did. Plus, honestly, there were nooks and crannies that I hadn’t explored yet. Needless to say, I know a bit more about Vue now. I also kept some fuel at hand: either Nerds or some form of chocolate – or both :).

My youngest daughter was “off track” for a portion of the time, so she played with my preschool son while I wrote. But still, every morning he needed a bit of a “wake up snuggle”. So he’d come down and spend a bit of time with me, and then I’d get back to writing.

Slowly, day by day I ate into that word count more and more. Kids came in and needed things. I didn’t always make my word count. Some days I only managed 500. But other days were wonderful and I got 3000 on to it. My daily goal gave me a bit of wiggle room, but not much. I wrote the chapters first, and then the tutorials, and then I put together all of the images. I had a goal for how many images I needed to finish too, but I forget. I think I did that part in about two weeks.

I had one more week until deadline when Vladimir came home in the morning. He’d been laid off work. That was a strange situation, since he’d had no warning signs and everyone in the office was very surprised. So, we swallowed the shock and decided to not do anything about it until we had this book and it’s website ready. Geekatplay isn’t quite up to making a living for us yet, especially when we need insurance for the family, but it gave us some wiggle room. He helped me finish some of the tutorials, generating a lot of images. Vladimir isn’t the writer in this team, but a lot of both his technical knowledge and his artwork is in that book.

Finally, the day came when we sent the finished manuscript in, electronically of course. It felt, mentally, like I’d just run a marathon and crossed the finish line. But it wasn’t quite finished. I had a few missing images (despite double checking) and then there were proofs to do, and getting the word out. The editing team over at Focal Press is fantastic to work with. I also had a technical editor, Peggy Walters, who was just a joy.

But still, the whole process happened so fast that I almost feel like someone else wrote the book and dropped it into my lap. It’s been an amazing journey in which I’ve learned a lot about more than just Vue.

I got my box today, with copies of the book. It’s beautiful, and I’m so excited about it. Excited that finally Vue has a good book out there on the shelves. It’s such a fantastic program. Excited that people can stop being afraid of a few things (The function editor :)) and bring their artistry with Vue to a new level. Or just start out. Vue Pioneer, BTW, is free. And yes, it’s kind of cool to have our name on it.

To see a bit more about the book, take a look at the website: http://www.vuefromthegroundup.com.

About amichopine

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3 comments

  1. I can imagine that was a hard task with all things that will have to go on in life. For me it will be a few months before i can get the book, i need a new puter first end this month. ut definatly going to get a copy sooner or later. Kinda sucks to hear Vladimir lost his job, but stay positive and look for a new one. Anyway it was fun to read how it came together. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Mannie 🙂

    Once I had the manuscript turned in and most of the website finished, we went full time looking for work for him. We spent hours a day looking up new jobs at several websites, I reworked his resume into a couple of versions, and sent out about 4-5 cover letters and resumes a day. We got several bites, but Vladimir is fairly senior and career wise it isn’t good to settle, even if the job sounds really fun (sadly). There was one job that would have been a great salary, and was freakishly cool, but had two big strikes against it: an out of state move (too hard to sell the house) and a bad school system. If nothing else had come along, we would have taken it though. But a better match did find us, and Vladimir got some work. Other than a long commute, he’s in a great place now that is doing quite well under the recession. He enjoys the work environment there a lot more, which is a great thing.

  3. Congratulations on the new job then. Lucky it didn’t take that long to find one in this time with the recesion going on. Althugh i have my doubts about that recesion by the way, i don’t really think there is one 🙂

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