Old Habits are Hard to Kill

The other day while driving home from picking up hay, I ran through the current scene I was writing in Healing Stones. I played it out in my mind as if a movie. The actors spoke their lines and I analysed each one. I got inside their heads and thought about how they were feeling, what they were smelling and what they were seeing. Did their equipment dig into them uncomfortably?

Then something disrupted the scene. The image of the story on the computer stuck there like a sore thumb. Had I done it again? Had I started this manuscript, which will most likely end up around 150,000 words, just as I would a genealogy column?

In other words, were there spaces between all the paragraphs? If I were only a fiction writer, the habit of creating an easier to manipulate document would become habit. But I switch from fiction to nonfiction weekly, so sometimes, I begin on the wrong foot…in the wrong format.

Although some claim you can easily eliminate those spaces with a few clicks, I have not yet discovered this miracle way. Instead, I have to remove each one individually. That can add up to a lot of monotonous wasted time in a manuscript of 150,000 words.

When I arrived home, I checked the file. Yes, I had done what feared. I did, however, discover this error before I passed the 7,000-word mark, so the fix was quick. Phew.

What it looked like before the fix.

Paragraph Spacing

What it looks like now.

Paragraph Spacing b

10 thoughts on “Old Habits are Hard to Kill

  1. Or Diane, you could rethink how you do your nonfiction column and instead of using two paragraph break, just add space between paragraphs in the paragraph settings box. Then by altering how much or how little space you add it will work with all your writings.


    • Oh, I don’t know, Art. That sounds like the logical solution, and I’m sure many do that, but my brain doesn’t like automatic. It feels like it is giving up control. I’m stuck in manual. Perhaps I am too set in my ways. No one can even convince me that cruise control is a good thing, so I’ll never use it. Still, after I think about this for a few months or a few years, I might convince myself to give it a try: the formatting of nonfiction that is, not cruise control. Thanks for visiting.


    • Yes, it is, Pat. I tried this, and it’s the other way around. I wanted to remove spaces between paragraphs, so when I FIND ^p^p and REPLACE with ^p it works. Thank you! We should learn something new every day, and I just did.


      • By the way, Pat, I tried this solution and it works like a charm. I have to recheck spacing between chapter titles and things, but that is a lot less time consuming than removing every line between paragraphs in the body. I’ve also used it when editing manuscripts for other writers. I can quickly and easily transform their format into a clean copy thanks to this method. Thanks again.


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