Weekly Update, Week 14

It is December, which is amazing. Officially, NaNoWriMo has come and gone since it is only for the month of November. I, however, am still on my prolonged NaNoWriMo journey. NaNoWriMo says, if I keep to my current pace, I will complete my goal by Feb 9. This would mean I would have to work almost three hours a day.

My goal is to complete the work before my birthday in February. I will be 70, so I would like to have a relaxing, romantic weekend away with my husband.

I am still deciding about chapter 7. Since I can’t reach a decision, I’ve started reviewing the edits from my editor. Hopefully, the tedious work will bring clarity about my decision.

My plan is to work for about 2.5 hours a day so I can go away for my birthday.


 

 


 

Weekly Update, Week 10

I find it hard to believe I have been working on the manuscript for seventy-six days straight. I’m trying to strike a balance between revising for the best possible manuscript and acknowledging the need for a hard stop. Even if I worked on it forever, I would probably not think it was perfect.

The process of editing and revising the current chapter has been interesting. I cut some material I thought was unnecessary . Then I  added some material to amplify the remaining topics. Right now, it is the number of pages it was when I stated. It is like moving around puzzle pieces to get a clearer picture.

Weekly Update, Week 9

The grind continues. I did up my game this past week. One day I worked four hours: another five. It has been sixty-nine days, and I don’t see an end in sight. I would like a day off, but that doesn’t seem possible. Next weekend we might see family which would make a pleasant change.

Right now, I am working on Chapter 5. After that I will have two more chapters and the conclusion to go over and then send to the editor. Each chapter is taking a different amount of time to go through. The footnotes are the most tedious part. I am not sure if anyone reads them, but I can’t shake my historian training. I am doing them, but on some level it seems pointless.

 

 

Weekly Update, Week 7

It is Saturday. I thought this would be a better day to post than Friday, but now I am not sure. I have been working so hard on the book that the blog honestly feels like a distraction. There probably isn’t a day where I would feel like I have enough time to post..

I assumed this would happen, which is why I planned on just doing statistical updates about my progress. Now that even feels like too much. I know it would not be good to have this website go dark for the next six and a half months. It is just that I feel panicked about getting everything done in time to meet the May 2024 deadline.

For now, I am just going to muddle through. I have now worked 55 days straight, averaging about two and a half hours a day. To finish on time, I have to step it up considerably. Today I worked almost four hours which is better. I am thinking about clearing the decks of all my extracurricular activities so I can have several totally free days to work. I’ll let you know if I do.

Weekly Update, Week 6

This past week I worked nine and a half hours. Since I started, I have edited the manuscript a total of 121 hours or over 20 hours a week.

I am going to change my posting day from Friday to Saturday. My next post will be October 14th and will cover eight days of work.

Wish me luck!

Weekly Update, Number 5

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.

Weekly Update, Number 4

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.

Weekly Update, Number 3

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.

Good News

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.

Retreat, Again

Sunday I came back from attending Nashim: A Jewish mediation Retreat for Women. It was in-person for six days at Wisdom House, Litchfield, Connecticut. The retreat was remarkably like the virtual one that I participated in at the beginning of the pandemic, three years ago.

While I was at Wisdom House, I experienced this retreat as vastly different from the Zoom one. Reading over my 2020 post about the experience, I see more similarities. Yesterday at the closing of Nashim, one of the leaders told us that we should be scheduling our next retreat right away. The wisdom one receives during multiday silence needs to be replenished either periodically or regularly. I came away from the week hoping to reinvigorate both my mindfulness practice and my spiritual observances.

One of the differences between the virtual and in-person retreat was Wisdom House. This retreat and conference center was originally the home for the Daughters of Wisdom College and Convent. The Daughters of Wisdom began in 18th century France. The grounds are beautiful with lovely gardens and impressive views of mountains.

Although its’ website describes the campus as an “inter-faith” community, it felt very Christian to me, with a wooden cross in my room. As a Jew, I most often think about Christians from a place of trauma for past mistreatment and wounds. During my time at Wisdom House, I was able to open my view and see that just as there are many ways to practice Judaism, Christians come in many flavors and varieties.

It turned out that one of the most peaceful places I have ever spent time in was a small garden with two statues of Mary. I found these to exude a sense of warmth and comfort that was very healing. During the retreat, I gained insights about myself and a better understanding of the potential of inter-faith interactions.