Reading Report

I had originally planned to do a post about my summer reading. Because I have been working so hard on Dames, Dishes, and Degrees and just posting about that, the blog about my reading kept getting postponed.

Now it is Fall so I have produced a new plan. I will just tell you about some of the twelve books I read  from the end of June until September 19. The book ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime. My brain is often so full of the manuscript and revisions that, in the evening, when I am trying to relax, I want to read unexacting books.

In that vein, I read a Hannah Swensen mystery, Christmas Cake Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. The Hallmark movie series, Murder She Baked is based on the Fluke books.

As you may remember, a while ago, I watched all of Murder She Wrote with Angela Lansbury. There have been almost sixty spinoff novels that the series inspired. I read Skating on Thin Ice by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. Obviously, I picked that one because it was about skating.

I also read Maggie’s California Diaries by Ann M Martin. It is about characters from the babysitter’s club series. These three books were all easy reads and there was nothing unpleasant to think about.

I also read several nonfiction books which were ostensibly more serious and maybe more taxing. Three of them –  They Called Us Girls; Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men by Kathleen Courtenay Stone, All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food and the Battle for Women’s Right to Vote  by Laura Kumin and Educated American Women: Self Portraits by Eli Ginzburg and Alice M. Yohalem.

I read these books for insight into how to organize my manuscript into a publishable book.  They Called Us Girls and Educated  American Women were okay. All Stirred Up was terrible. It was a mishmash of recipes and rehashed history. Reading these three books was not that helpful an exercise, so I   have put on hold reading more books for that purpose.

My favorite book from this reading journey was Small Marvels: Stories by Scott Russell Sanders. I loved this book. The writing was particularly good,  and the author conveyed the humanity of the characters beautifully. Both funny and sad, Small Marvels shows that ordinary people can do extraordinary things by the relationships they have and what they do for and with the people in their lives. I could have kept reading more about Gordon Mills and his family. I was sorry when it ended.

ALS Walk 2022

On September 11th of this year, I participated in the annual ALS Walk. I had signed up in June and had a goal of $250 for my fundraising. I actually raised $515 in a relatively brief period of time. I then got very busy, as you may remember, working on my book and didn’t do any more work towards raising more money.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. ALS can strike anyone, and presently there is no known cause or cure.

Both my brother, Fred Mittelman and my first cousin, Lowell Stewart died from this terrible disease. I pray no one else will.

The fundraising effort is continuing, and I would like to encourage all my readers, especially those who are so interested in meths drinking, to donate some money. With your help, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of people affected by this disease. This is the link to my Facebook fundraising page.

 

28 Days of NaNoWriMo Done

I did it. I completed 28 days of my self-initiated NaNoWriMo. I worked every day from August 14 to today, September 10. This last week I worked a total of 1,351 minutes or almost 23 hours which is over three hours a day. For the 28 days I did a total of 3,498 minutes or over 2 hours a day.

The 28 days were very productive as I produced several organizational schemes and finally have settled on one. I have completed a full second draft of two chapters and I am well on my way with a My process is the one I described in Second Week Progress Report.

I plan to continue with this process for the remaining chapters. I have accepted that this is a lengthy process, and I am giving myself until the end of December to complete turning the first draft into a second one.

Although there were days I dreaded going to work and procrastinated about it, the structure that I set up ultimately provided the motivation for me to start working each day. Because the NaNoWriMo structure works so well for me, I plan to continue to use it.

My idea, going forward is to take a few days off and then start another NaNoWriMo, starting September 19 and ending October 15. Because the Jewish holidays will occur during that period, I am going to build in a few days off. The total working time will be 22 days.Since I won’t be posting every day on NaNoWriMo, there are some badges I will not get but I don’t care. I am using it for me and I have to adjust the process to meet my needs.

Although tweeting every day both in July and for this 28-day period has boosted my twitter numbers, for the next round I don’t think I will do that. I also plan to go back to posting  about other things besides my book and NaNoWriMo. My first post of that kind will be on September 23. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey.

Eight Days to Go

I have completed 20 days of my self-initiated NaNoWriMo. This past week I worked a total of 610 minutes, a little over 10 hours. Today I worked for almost 4 hours, the longest stretch so far. It was very taxing, and my brain is fried.

I have been working on one of the “new” chapters that I created because of my new organizational structure. I put new in quotes because it is an amalgam of different parts of already written chapters so not something I wrote freshly from scratch.

After revising it, I am not sure I like it. I may want to go back to a previous version of the material. This whole revision process is two steps forward, one step back. I am not sure how much longer I can do this. September 10th will be 28 days and is my end date. I am going to blog on that day instead of Friday September 9th.

After the 10th, I am not going to start another regimen right away. I know I will need a break. Happy Labor Day!

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