To Tweet Or Not

On Sunday, after I learned that Elon Musk had reinstated Donald Trump. I started thinking more seriously about stopping my own presence on Twitter. Deactivation of my account seemed like an extreme move and I wasn’t ready for that yet. Instead, using the focus tools I have access to, I blocked Facebook and Twitter 24 hours every day except Friday. My plan is to continue posting about my blog on both sites.

My habit for the past few months has been to tweet my Wordle and Nerdle results every evening after I have played each game. On Sunday, after I completed Wordle in six tries, which is the maximum, I looked for another platform to post my results.

I thought I would try Instagram but it was beyond my technological abilities. While I was googling how to post on Instagram, I came across Charles Blow’s article about his experiences reducing his access to Twitter. Reading it confirmed my desire to disengage.

I am at the beginning of my journey to disentangle myself from social media. I plan to explore other ways besides Facebook and Twitter to promote my blog, Brewing Battles and, hopefully, a published Dames, Dishes, and Degrees. I will let you know what I come up with.

What to Write

Today is Wednesday and I am at Nerissa’s writing group. I have missed a bunch of meetings and it feels like I have been gone for much longer. I most often use this time to write a blog post, but I am at a loss of what to write.

From the third week of October to the beginning of November, we traveled. We arrived home on November 7th, the day before Election Day. I had so much anxiety about what was going to happen during the midterm elections, as well as worry about the relative I visited in Florida, and no sense of what I should do next on my book.

Although we have been home nine days, the first week back was a wash. I had a lot of trouble reintegrating myself into my daily existence despite being thrilled to be home. In Florida, where we spent 10 days no one wore masks, and it seemed like no one cared about COVID anymore. Once we got home, back to saner western Massachusetts, more people were wearing masks and seemed to realize that COVID hasn’t gone anywhere. A cruise ship that just embarked in Australia had eight hundred passengers with COVID.

So far, my husband and I have escaped getting COVID which is amazing. It feels like everyone is going to get it at some point. On the other hand, since my husband has asthma, I have tried extremely hard to protect and prevent us from getting the virus.

Before I left for Florida, I had finished a second draft of my manuscript. I also have a few queries and proposals to some publishers. I had originally intended to do NaNoWriMo when I returned from Florida, but now that I’m back I have decided not to. I didn’t work on the book at all the first week we were back, but two days ago I did start working on the introduction.

Introductions and conclusions – I haven’t written any conclusion yet- are the hardest parts of a book to write. The standard introduction to a nonfiction history book where the author tells you what is in every chapter doesn’t feel like the kind of introduction I want for my book. Having said that, I don’t really know what kind of introduction I do want

My plan is to continue to work on the introduction and then read aloud the eight chapters to see if they hold together as a book. In other words, if a reader finishes chapter one do they feel compelled to go to chapter two and so on. I am also going to try to send out more queries and book proposals in my, as of yet, never-ending attempt to get a publisher. As always, I will keep you posted about my progress.

Book Progress

I completed my second self-initiated NaNoWriMo today. It is a little confusing because I thought I was going to stop yesterday when I set up the counter in NaNoWriMo, but I worked two hours today. NaNoWriMo will not let me add the two hours without creating a new goal, so I am not going to bother.

I worked for twenty-one days out of the twenty-seven because I had to take a few days off for the Jewish holidays, some other activities, and a personal matter. I worked approximately ninety-eight minutes a day for a total of over thirty-four hours.

I now have a second draft of all the chapters except one. I hope to complete the revision on the first chapter by the end of this month. I am not going to start the official NaNoWriMo until Nov. 9th or 10th and then will work the remainder of November.

Next week I will be attending Skate America which is in Boston so I will not have a blog post Friday, Oct. 21st. Tune in again on Oct. 28th.

Angela Lansbury

My original plan for today’s post was to update you about progress on my book. However, on Tuesday, Angela Lansbury died,so I have decided to say something about that today. Tomorrow, which will be the last day of my latest self-initiated NaNoWriMo, I will post about that process.

As my faithful readers will remember, from the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2022, I watched every episode of Murder She Wrote and read a book by Angela Lansbury. More recently, I read a book that had Jessica Fletcher as the heroine.

When Angela Lansbury died this Tuesday, the New York Times ran an obituary which included  a mini documentary about her life. It featured her speaking. Something she said was very meaningful. “I’m an actress not just a pretty face.”

She was a woman of character and immense talent, and I really admired her. You can read my post about Murder She Wrote here.

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.

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!

Second Week Progress Report

I have now completed 13 days of my latest NaNoWriMo process this past week. I continued working on my book proposal. One of the presses wants sample chapters so I turned my attention to revising the two I want to send.

I read the chapter aloud, recording it. Then I listened to the recording, making edits on a printed copy. Finally, I added these changes to my Word document. This process went smoothly and revising the chapter was the most focused work I have done far. I cut about eight pages which is great progress.

This coming week I plan to repeat the process on the second chapter I want to send. I will let you know how it goes next Friday. Have a great weekend.

My First Week of Progress

I have completed six days of my 28 day self-initiated NaNoWriMo. I have worked almost 12 hours or around 2 hours a day. Revising the manuscript is difficult. I have created a new organizational structure for the book which I am hoping will be the last structure I use.

I spent the last two days working on my book proposal, both because this is something I have to do and because it is a break from the tedious revising. Because I changed the structure, I had to change the table of contents in the proposal, and I still need to fix up some of the chapter blurbs. I will continue to work on the book proposal for the next couple of days.

I will post again next Friday when I will have, hopefully,  completed 13 days of this round of NaNoWriMo. Have a good week.

Change of Plans

 

In my blog post, Recap NaNoWriMo Summer Camp, I said I planned to restart working at least one hour a day on my draft for the period that will begin this Sunday August 14th and end four weeks later on September 10th. As far as blogging during that period, I had planned to produce regular non book related posts for Fridays, my normal blogging day, and short progress posts for Sundays

I am nervous about starting up again on the book because in the two-week respite that I took I have been to busy with my life to do much with the  manuscript. Thinking about the work I plan to do during the next four weeks, I realized that I had been too ambitious with my blogging plans. Since I really want to focus on the draft, I do not think I will have the bandwidth or energy to also produce original posts.

I am changing my plans so that Fridays will remain my blogging day but the four Fridays of my self-imposed NaNoWriMo regime will have posts that detail my progress. This means that Sunday will not be a second day of posts.

See you next week.

 

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