Lessons from Book and Tree

It’s important to hit deadlines.  You set targets and you work towards them, however, sometimes obstacles can get put in your way, however, sometimes a path can be cleared for you, so you can deal with those obstacles.

Let me explain.

Having decided that I wanted the book, the ‘Sheeple Principle’, to be available for my keynote speaking presentation to Dover Rotary on June 13th meant that I needed to address the feedback from my proofreaders and have a proper last read through myself. Thus a lot to do in a short space of time, bearing in mind, that it can take three days for the book to go through Kindles Publishing system, a week get an author copy, to make sure it had all come together and then another week to order a large number of author copies.

Time was tight.

My ‘day’ job involves supporting children in care.  One of my colleagues had handed in her notice. Her shifts were put up for cover. I volunteered to do the bank holiday (the 27th May); it wasn’t taken up. A shame I thought, I could’ve done with the money.

Monday 20th May.

I begin my final proof reading. I manage to finish this on Thursday the same week. It’s a lot of work to carefully read a book, making corrections and putting noticeable arrows near each correction, so you can find it.

Friday & Saturday I’m on a shakedown walk.

Sunday 26th May, I get half the corrections done. I then wake at 3am on the Monday. Totally awake. (Really!) So I get up and finish the corrections before going back to bed just as the sun is beginning to show. I was seriously considering putting some clothes on and walking the dogs, I do love dawn walking, but went back to bed for a cuddle.

Really enjoyed waking to a half doze state too.

Monday 27th May

On the work whats app the day becomes available for a ‘long day sleep’. I’m seriously considering doing it, but didn’t, I had a book to upload, however it shouldn’t take long and I wanted to stay home and enjoy a day with my wife.  Turns out she had had the same thoughts too. Great minds…

When I went to upload the book, the cover went up quickly and was fine, however the manuscript was all over the place, all the paginations were completely out. As I now do on these occasions, I take a moment to think. I can’t change the cover, that’s a PDF, so that just leaves the text. It turns out the template I was using was a different size to the cover. School boy error.

I download the correct size template, then copy and paste the entire manuscript, which takes a little while. Of course, the pagination is out. When I correct that it means all the chapter references will be out. There’s a lot of small sections to this book! It also turns out that some paragraphs are line spaced and some are not. 

I enlist the help of my wife. I sort out the paragraphs and the chapter starts, and she writes down the relevant page numbers.  We follow this with a chapter page ref revision. My wife reads them out and I enter the numbers. I do a random page select to make sure all is well.  It appears to be.

With bated breath and fingers very crossed I upload this manuscript.

It’s fine, breathe….

Set the publishing in motion and sort the kindle out too.

Two hours later than expected.

Press the buttons, job done, enjoy the day.

The tree, I knew we had to deliver a twisted willow to a local school. Didn’t know I was supposed to be planting it too. I was less than enthusiastic; to say the least.

For about ten minutes, and then I caught myself. Here was an opportunity to put something back into the system. A feel-good factor. I rose to the challenge. Tree looks damn fine too. It’s the centre piece of what will be an amazing wildlife garden.

That evening, I discovered I had a small correction on the publishing of the book. Did it there and then.

Lessons from a book and a tree. Well, the book is obviously meant to be out there, and ‘something’ knew I would need the 27th May to sort out the issues.  There have been several of those occurrences this year. If I had worked there is almost no way, with everything else I have to do, that I’d have made it.

The tree, always grab an opportunity to put something back in, be humble, do it. As an unintentional payoff, earn the extra appreciation of your efforts from your wife.

The more you put in, the more will come and find you.

Simon Pollard             Urban Countryman                          May 2024

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