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.

 

Recap NaNoWriMo Summer Camp

This is the second time I have done something connected with NaNoWriMo. This past November I did the official NaNoWriMo, using it to complete the first draft of my manuscript. I started updating again on the NaNoWriMo site in January but did not continue. This time, with summer camp, I was able to complete it. I posted every day, averaging over three hours of work. This was great production because I had set the low bar of 1 hour every day, and I well exceeded that.

I would highly recommend NaNoWriMo for anyone who is looking for a way to both motivate and structure their writing process. Even though most of the materials are oriented towards fiction writing anybody can take the process and make it their own.

I have given a lot of thought to how to maintain the accountability that NaNoWriMo Summer Camp offered. Although this was the third time that I posted every day for a month, that is not something I want to continue. Once a week for my blog posts is usually plenty.

I hope to continue to work on the manuscript every day going forward but I am first going to take a two-week break. After that, starting Aug. 14, I plan to continue to update my progress on the NaNoWriMo site, and tweet about my output every day, using the hash tag #accountabiltiy. On Sundays, I plan to have short posts about my work production for the previous week. So I do not burden myself with overly elevated expectations, I am making a commitment to work one hour every day, a total of 1,680 words in the four week period.

On Fridays, I will have regular weekly post about a variety of subjects. I will resume this on August 19th. My first Sunday blog about revision will be August 21st with a note about my first week of this self-initiated process. I hope to sustain these activities for four weeks, twenty-eight days, ending on Sept. 10 as far as NaNoWriMo updating is concerned and my final Sunday post on September 11.

This is just a plan, and we will see if I can stick to it. Hopefully all the structures I am trying to put in place will keep me focused and motivated.

Day 31 – Last Day of NaNoWriMo Summer Camp

Today is both the last day of July and the last day of NaNoWriMo Summer Camp. I worked almost 2 hours. A while ago, I had someone read the whole manuscript and they gave me both line level comments and big picture conceptual comments on every chapter.

The last few days I have been going through those comments for one of the chapters. It is a slow process, and I am worried that it will take a long time. Since Summer Camp is over, I will have to figure out how to continue to make progress on the revision of the manuscript.

Tomorrow I will post my reflections about how I feel NaNoWriMo summer camp went and tell you what my plans are for accountability and continued work on my book

 

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 30

One more day to go. I worked for two and a half hours, revising the chapter on activist faculty wives. It is slow going but I do think I am improving the manuscript. Ironically, I am adding as much as I am cutting. That may be an exaggeration, but there are places that need amplification while other parts need shortening or elimination. My revision class teacher, Kate, said that revision is not just cutting, and she was right. Tomorrow, I will continue working on this chapter. I also plan to go swimming. Self-care is important.

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 29

Only two more days left to NaNoWriMo Summer Camp. Today I worked for four hours. That is the longest stretch of time I have put in all month. It was possible because today, Friday, was the freest day with no appointments all month.

I have had various people read various parts of my manuscript. Today I tried to integrate all the comments, from the current Chapter 8, into one document. This was very tedious and hard to do.

I still have more work to do on Chapter 8. I am hoping to do that tomorrow. I also hope to get outside for at least a little bit over the weekend.

 

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