I have now worked for forty days straight. According to NaNoWriMo, I average close to 3 hours a day. Mostly, it is exhausting and anxiety provoking. I feel like a hamster on a wheel. Wake up – work. Next day – wake up, work. Endless. The good news is that I finished editing another chapter. Four down, six to go.
I have plans to fly to Florida next week. Because of the pending governmental shutdown, everything is up in the air (no pun intended). I don’t enjoy flying in the best of circumstances. Thinking about doing it when there will either be pissed off traffic controllers who aren’t getting paid or less of them is terrifying. I hate the Republicans.
This is going to be a short post because I have little mental bandwidth left. I have worked over 91 hours for 33 days. This week, I worked 3 1/4 hours a day, on average.
I am trying to do three or four things at once. Look over a chapter and make changes, edit the citations, and add them to my ongoing bibliography, using ZoteroBib. Sometimes after a few hours, my brain hurts. I am not sure I will keep this up, but I must try.
I picked up the pace this week, working an average of 3.7 hours a day. The weekend was particularly productive. On Saturday, I worked for 3.5 hours and on Sunday for over 5. My hard work this week led to my sending another chapter to my editor.
I tried using Zotero, installing it with help on Friday. Then I started adding citations. The process was overwhelming. My conclusion was that it was more trouble than it was worth. I am going to do the footnotes manually and use the cloud version of Zotero, Zotero Bib, for my bibliography. I will have the editor copy-edit everything. This is the best solution. If I was just beginning a project, I probably would use Zotero or some other citation manager. It is just too late in the process to learn something new.
This journey of getting my manuscript ready for publication is anxiety provoking. It is hard to find the balance between trying to perfect it and realizing I have to finish. Without the deadline of May 20024, I will probably keep tinkering and tinkering with it with no end in sight.
Tonight is Erev of Rosh Hashanah. L’Shana Tova to everyone who celebrates.
I continue to work every day, editing my manuscript. Counting today, I worked 19 days so far, about 2 hours and 15 minutes a day. I have been editing and tightening the last chapter, which deals with college presidents’ wives.
As I go about my editing, I am aware of all the parts I have cut out of the manuscript. It is painful to contemplate some of them. I also wondered if I had cut out too much. Of course, I will be the only one who will know what is missing.
The other overwhelming aspect of this process is something I talked about last week. I am still trying to figure out the most efficient way to get my footnotes or endnotes in order and then do a bibliography.
I installed Zotero, but I am not sure it is the answer. It seems like there will be a significant learning curve and a lot of manual entry of information. Another problem is that probably my editor would also need to install Zotero, so if he doesn’t want to do that then it is not feasible for me to use it. I will let you know when I have this all figured out.
As I said in my previous post, Good News, I am under a strict, self-imposed deadline, to send a clean as possible copy of my manuscript, Dames, Dishes and Degrees, to Levellers Press, by May 1 2024. This still seems like a daunting prospect, but I have made some progress.
I started work on August 21, and was able to send the introduction and chapter one to an editor I am working with. I have worked eleven days at an average of 2 hours and fifteen minutes a day. I am hoping to get to more like three or four hours a day, at some point.
I then started working on editing and tightening up Chapter 8. Most of my book deals with people who are dead. The last chapter, however, looks at two different college president’s wives and some controversies they were involved in. Because of this, the press wants to have their lawyer look at it. That is why I have skipped from the beginning to the end in my editing process.
While I was working on the chapter, I realized I have done a terrible job keeping track of my citations and sources. Years ago, I was using a citation manager, RefWorks, which I got from UMASS since I am an alum. Long story short, they went private a few years ago and the school no longer offers it. I was too busy to start with a new program, so I just continued powering through to finish the manuscript.
Now I have to figure out how to format all my notes and generate a bibliography. I am going to try to use Zotero. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know.
On July 26, I finally got a yes from one of the many publishers I have sent queries, book proposals, and sample chapters to. Levellers Press will be publishing Dames, Dishes, and Degrees in the Fall of 2024. This is long-awaited great news and I am incredibly happy.
I barely had any time after this revelation to process it and figure out how I would get a clean, ready to print copy to the publisher by May 2024, nine months away. Shortly after I found out my book will be published, I went to Seattle and then on an Alaskan cruise.
The whole family went on this wonderful adventure, and we had an exciting time. We saw glaciers, whales, bears, and bald eagles. We walked through a rain forest and learned about the history of Sitka which the Russians settled.. We also had a lot of fun in Seattle which is a beautiful city with many views of water and mountains.
We got home around midnight Tuesday evening and have been getting back to our real life the rest of the week. I have come up with a plan to complete the work to ready my manuscript for publication. Starting Monday August 21, I am going to do a mammoth NaNoWriMo with a minimum expectation of two hours of work a day, every day until May 1st.
Because I am on such a tight schedule and I need to stay focused, my blog posts from now to the beginning of May 2024 will primarily be progress reports, similar to what I did in the past when I was completing the first draft. Those posts will start September 1 after ten days of work.
I have a list of maybe five or six topics that I was considering for this week’s blog post. As I sit here trying to write, I feel overwhelmed. As you may remember, for three weeks in February I was dealing with COVID. Both my husband and I were sick; I was really sick, and he got a rebound case after we both had taken Paxil for five days.
Shortly after he finally tested negative, we went away for two weeks to Florida to visit my aunt. The trip had its stressful moments, but the weather was beautiful and the ocean was gorgeous. We walked on the beach a lot and I swam most days. It was definitely a vacation mixed with familial responsibilities.
We have been back a few days and it’s been up and down with how focused I can be. The trip to Florida did restore my energy level which was set strongly depleted by COVID so that’s a good thing. However, life keeps intervening, occupying my brain, leaving less space available for things like blog posts.
Besides blog posts, the main thing I want to make progress on is my book. Since I can’t stand the thought of further revisions of my manuscript, I have decided to focus, once again, on trying to get a publisher. I spent a few days this week working on getting my submission packet in shape to start sending it out to a list of publishers I compiled before we left for Florida..
I intend to include a marketing plan along with my book proposal and CV. That is what I have been working on this week. I have a marketing plan I did after Brewing Battles was published. I developed it because if I had waited for my publisher to do any marketing, I would still be waiting.
I have been trying to use that marketing plan from 15 years ago as a template for a current marketing plan for Dames Dishes and Degrees. It was going okay till I got to the review section. Book publishing and marketing has changed tremendously since Brewing Battles was published. Whether or not a journal or magazine accepts books for review and publishes book reviews is not that easy to find out. My attempts to research that wound up sending me down a rabbit hole that was rather discouraging. I’m going to regroup and figure out how to tackle the reviews section and then move on to the other parts of the marketing plan. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.
As I wrote in a previous post, I took a five-week class on submission for potential publication from writer’s digest university. One of the books I am using in my revised book proposal as a comparable title is Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez.
Because I had COVID, I had a lot of time on my hands. I watched a lot of television and read Invisible Women in three days. Although it is filled with statistics and analysis of data, it reads like a thriller. Perez is an excellent writer and has a crisp style in presenting the material.
She layers the information, one level of society upon another, so by the end you are left with the firm conviction that misogyny is embedded in every aspect of our lives. Male is the default for everything ranging from safety net benefits to military armor. Women are at best an afterthought and at worst an aberration.
Invisible Women is a meta-analysis while my manuscript is more micro in its approach because I look at both individual and small groups of women who struggled to define themselves within this misogynistic, patriarchal world.
I highly recommend this book and encourage all of you to read it. It has renewed my commitment to feminism and strengthened my desire for a more equitable world.
I have been late in posting my plans for the new year – a month late , in fact. My main, overriding goal for 2023 is to get a book contract. In my quest to achieve that, I decided to take a class on Submission that Writer’s Digest University was offering.
I thought the class could help me develop my book proposal, so it is more appealing. One of the class exercises has been to find books that I could use as “comps”, comparable titles, to convince an agent or publisher that my book has marketability.
The teacher set criteria for our choices which were books published two years ago or earlier and having at least 5,000 ratings on Amazon. That ratings number seems astronomical to me since I have seven ratings for Brewing Battles. Don’t judge.
I did find three books that fit the teachers’ rules and when I revise my book proposal I plan to use them. One is Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. I am interested in this book because the misogyny that underpins scientific research is the same misogyny the women I write about faced.
Aside from trying to get Dames, Dishes, and Degrees published, I plan to continue with my other activities – skating, swimming, recorder, and my Jane Austen book club. I am also trying as hard as possible to stay away from Facebook and Twitter.
If it is not too late to offer, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, New Year!
January 21, I attended Eastern Sectionals for Synchronized Skating in Norwood, MA. The competition determined who will go to Synchro nationals. I was there rooting for three teams.
My coach competes with the Skating Club of Boston’s adult Excel team. They came in second. She coaches the University of Massachusetts team and they came in 4th. Both teams will be going to nationals which is in Peoria, March 1-4.
This summer another one of the coaches stated an Open Masters synchro team. I attended the first practice but decided not to participate. That team, River Valley Synchro, came in third, receiving a medal. They are not eligible for nationals.
This week, through Sunday, I am busy watching United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) Nationals. This competition determines who will go to Worlds. Since I have been consumed with skating, I haven’t been thinking about much else. As a result, I decided to forgo writing a post for today. I will be back next week with a fully developed piece.