Weekly Update, Number 2

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.

Weekly Update Number 1

 

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.

Lucy Stone

I recently read a book,  Leaving Coy’s Hill: A Novel by Katherine Sherbrooke which is a fictionalized  account of Lucy Stone’s life. Lucy Stone was an abolitionist and suffragette who also promoted marriage equality. She was the first woman in Massachusetts to obtain a college degree. She attended Oberlin, graduating in 1847.

She eventually married but kept her birth or “maiden name”. Today about twenty-five percent of women keep their own names. Since the 1970s, women, whether married or no,t have the option of calling themselves Ms. This was not available to Lucy Stone.

I liked the book, but I had some issues with it. I think there are inherent problems with writing fiction about a real person. If the author fictionalizes or imagines thoughts and feelings of the subject, the reader wonders how they could know.

Since Lucy Stone was an amazing person that many people know nothing about, my concern is that the novel’s version of her life may be the only information the reader receives. They may think it is all true when it is not.

Following the Civil War, the suffragist movement split, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony advocating for the vote for everyone; leading them to oppose the 15th amendment which gave black men the vote. Lucy Stone took the opposite position supporting giving the franchise to black men; thus delaying the same opportunity for all women.

Leaving Coy’s Hill presents this controversy and division from Lucy’s point of view. With historical hindsight, we can see that there wasn’t a good choice. Given Sherbrooke’s approach, Susan B. Anthony becomes the villain of the story which may surprise people.

Reading Leaving Coy’s Hill made me think about winners and losers in history and who becomes the face of a political or social movement for subsequent generations. Stanton and Anthony won the suffragism history war while Lucy Stone lost. The women I write about in Dames, Dishes, and Degrees are the losers in a historical narrative that places second wave feminism front and center.

 

Year in Review

In 2022, I completed a second draft of my manuscript, Dames, Dishes, and Degrees. I used NaNoWriMo and a revision class from PVWW to achieve this. Having accomplished that, I am not sure what to do next. I am still thinking about it.

Our house renovation finished in the spring, and I am enjoying the new space tremendously. We now park our car in our new garage which is great when it is raining, snowing, or very cold.  We have a lot more room and the laundry being upstairs is a big improvement,

I had 78 blog posts this year. Posting every day in July helped push that number up. As far as Twitter goes, before I stopped tweeting, I was on track to well exceed my rate of one tweet a day. As you know, I stopped tweeting and looking at Facebook about a month ago. I don’t miss Facebook at all, but I do miss Twitter. I particularly miss following Jackie Wong, Rocker Skating.

I also missed being able to comment on political events, tv commercials, and other topical  occurrences. I have been seeing a commercial that encourages tourism to Texas. The advertisement shows groups and families of diverse looking people  enjoying visiting the state. The problem I have with this commercial is that the policies of the state would actually preclude people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and other minorities form visiting Texas. Greg Abbott, the governor is behind the recent transporting of migrants, some dressed only in T shirt to Washington, D.C., depositing them at Kamala Harris’ official residence. I won’t go to Texas until these policies and the people who implement them are changed.

I did a lot of texting to help get the successful results of the midterm elections. I am dreading Republican rule of the house of Representatives, but it is only two years. Hopefully, their do-nothing obstructionist policies and their continuing fealty to Donald Trump will mean that in 2024, we hold the Presidency, regain control for the House and expand our lead in the Senate. A girl can hope.

Next week I will reveal my plans, such as they are, for 2023. Happy New Year!

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.