I have done NaNoWriMo for revision for five days now and have worked about two hours and 40 minutes a day. It hasn’t been easy, and I have some doubts about my ability to continue committing  least an hour a day to this process.

The first day I looked at the first chapter I wrote when I started on this new version of Dames, Dishes and Degrees in 2015. Carolyn, my teacher from my Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop class, had suggested I go through the manuscript looking for places where I could add my own voice. Some of the reading we had to do for this month’s class involved revision.

One of the exercises in the textbook was to go through the manuscript and try to add scenes. On January 1, starting NaNoWriMo, I picked the chapter on the University of Chicago and its faculty wives clubs. I was able to go through the first few pages and add scenes and voice. It went well. Then I got to a section of the book which I found harder to change and I got overwhelmed.

Around that time, I had contacted a friend of mine who has graciously agreed to read the whole manuscript. She is a poet and I know I will get really good feedback from her. Because I now have to send her the chapters, I switched to fixing up the chapters for spelling, grammar, and passive voice. Essentially, I switched from global revision to line revision, but it was what I felt I could do at the time. I have now finished that level of revision and, yesterday, I was not sure know what to do next.

Yesterday I attended a 2 hour seminar that the Writer’s Digest magazine held about getting your book published in 2022. It was interesting, and it gave me a lot to think about. The presenter, Jane Friedman, made it clear that, if you want to query editors and agents about your nonfiction book, you need a book proposal. This was one of the main takeaways for me from the webinar.

I am in a bit of a bind. In October I sent three chapters to an editor I know, and she hasn’t responded yet about whether she is interested in proceeding with the project. I don’t know if it is proper etiquette to pitch my manuscript to other editors or agents while the first editor is still deciding what to do.

After thinking about it for a while yesterday, I decided I would email the editor today just to see if she is ready to give me a decision. After that I am going to think about where else I might like to have the book published if the first editor says no. The webinar had good tips about how to research agents and publishers. I am also going to continue to get the chapters ready for my friend to read.

I will let you know how it goes next week.


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