NaNoWriMO Summer Camp Day 11

Today I had an appointment at 11 a.m. which got cancelled. I dislike when that happens because I usually tightly arrange my days. Being a control freak, it is not easy for me to change already made plans. In other words, I am not that flexible.

I worked for 96 minutes today. I started my working period with yoga which NaNoWriMo offered as part of Summer Camp. It was lovely and a wonderful way to form a mindful writing intention.

I did not have time to continue working my way through Tell It Slant. I also did not do anymore research on publishers and agents. I see in my email that one of the presses I queried has answered so I will look at that tomorrow. In a little while I am going to go to a pool in Holyoke and get a swimming lesson. This is one of my concessions to it being July and will be self- care.

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 10

Despite having only gotten about four hours of sleep, I worked on the quotes from Chapter 2 for two hours and fifteen minutes. I also read a chapter of Tell It Slant and did some researching of potential publishers.

I thought cutting or tightening the quotes would lead to an overall reduction in the number of pages. After working on twenty-two pages today, I am not so sure. The revisions I did included rewriting some of the quotes in my own words. All that work has only reduced the length of the chapter by one page.

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 9

I was completely lacking in motivation today, so I eked out 60 minutes of querying publishers, researching places to query, and reading chapter 1 of Tell It Slant. I have also been reading a book, Educated American Women: Self-Portraits by Eli Ginzburg and Alice M. Yohalem but I am not counting the time spent on that in my NaNoWriMo updates.

I may use the book as research or background material as I continue revising. I might also write a review of it for this blog, at some point. My hope is that tomorrow I can get back to more substantial revising. I plan to look at the many quotes I have in chapter two and see if I can reduce, rewrite, or eliminate them.


NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 7

I have completed one week of NaNoWriMo Summer Camp. Today I worked for about two hours, earning a badge from NaNoWriMo for updating my word count seven days in a row.

For the next few days I am going to regroup  and spend more time sending out queries to try to find either a publisher or an agent. One of the main books we used during the year long PVWW  manuscript class was Tell It Slant.  My plan for the next few days is to re-read some of the book and do some of the exercises. I am hoping that stepping back will help me regain my focus and motivation which has been lagging.

First Quarter Report, 2022

In the post I wrote saying goodbye to 2021 I wished for a more even keeled year with less difficulties. Now that three months of 2022 are gone, I’m not sure I can say that has happened. Several members of my extended family have been ill and that has consumed some of my time as well as the fact that our house renovations continued into the new year.

Most of the work for our new mud room and laundry room finished in February and we have now been spending time filling the new space and reorganizing the old spaces. Because I am a neat freak and more than a bit compulsive, this work has elated me.

When the new year started my plan was to begin revising the first draft of my manuscript, Dames, Dishes and Degrees, which I completed in November. I have had a couple of false starts and will honestly admit I haven’t gotten that much done yet. The university press that I had sent a couple of chapters to in the fall eventually said revise it and then send it back to us again without providing any concrete advice about how to do that. It felt like a less than completely enthusiastic response.

This was a little discouraging, but I rallied and then sent off the whole manuscript including a book proposal for a writing contest that an affiliate of Writer’s Digest is sponsoring. You can read more about the contest here.

I also sent a query letter to an agent who then asked to see my book proposal. Other than that, I haven’t really done much work on the manuscript itself. I did sign up for a revision class that Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop is offering, beginning in May, which will hopefully  jumpstart my revision process.

I have managed to continue to post every week even though sometimes it is hard to figure out what to write about. As far as tweeting goes, Wordle has transformed that process. I jumped on the Wordle bandwagon a few months ago before the New York Times bought it. Doing the game every day and then sharing it on Twitter has increased my tweeting output considerably. On the other hand, I am not sure figuring out the word every day is so great for my overall productivity and focus.

This is how the year has been going so far. I will keep you posted on any new developments in my revision and publishing endeavors.


Book Contest

As part of my never-ending quest to become a better writer, a while ago I subscribed to Writer’s Digest magazine. As a result, I get a lot of emails from them. One that I’ve been getting for a while concerned what they call a “trusted partner” Book Pipeline having a contest for unpublished manuscripts.

Initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to make the deadline because they wanted a book proposal, and I hadn’t really started working on that yet. However, on Sunday I got another email about the book  contest, and I decided to go for it even though the deadline was only five days away, Thursday March 10th.

Deciding to enter the contest motivated me to try to fix my book proposal and I did it. I worked very hard the last few days and on Thursday I submitted the book proposal and my nine chapters, which are just the first draft, for the contest. I won’t hear about the results until October 10th but revising the book proposal to enter the contest means that it is now in decent enough shape that I can send to other publishers and agents along with query letters. Therefore, I don’t feel that I wasted time applying for the contest. Since finding out whether I’ve won or not won’t be for seven months, I will let you know then what happens.

Revision 2022

As promised, here is my post about my plans for 2022. As you can probably guess from the tittle, my main plan is to revise my manuscript. I am hoping that the publisher I sent three chapters to gets back to me and wants to publish the book. That would give focus and direction to my revision process.

For a lot of reasons December was not a very good month and I was not as productive as I hoped to be. That is however backward looking, and I am trying, for 2022 and beyond, to be in the present and do only a modest amount of planning for the future.

The structure of NaNoWriMo worked so well for completing the draft that I am going to try to adapt it for revising. On the site I pledged (adapted for non-fiction) to:

“edit and revise my manuscript. I swear to undertake the un-luxurious process of editing the first draft of my book. I understand that this process can be messy and disheartening, but ultimately just as rewarding as writing it all the first time.

I will augment the collection of creative implements (pens, pencils, keyboards, touchscreens, quills, and hunks of charcoal) at my workspace with destructive ones (erasers, backspace keys, white-out, and comically large mallets). I will refine and chop sentences, paragraphs, and chapters with impartial ferocity.

Above all, I promise to regard my book with a critical but not cruel eye, for it is a work of mine and deserves to be made even better.”

One of the best features of NaNoWriMo was the word counter, which I faithfully updated every day in November. Because when you are revising, you may work on different pages, paragraphs, or chapters in the same session, counting words could be difficult. I found a hack which is to translate minutes into number of words. My plan is to try to do revisions for three hours every day of January. That means my word total for the month would be 1800 words. My minimum standard is one hour.

I am not going to blog every day of January, but I will give you, my loyal readers, updates every Friday on my progress.

Happy New Year!





NaNoWriMo Day 22

Today is the start of the fourth week of NaNoWriMo. After today there are only eight days left. I am glad about that. It was very good to do this to motivate me to work at a much faster pace than I have ever done before, but, since I have met my word count and finished the chapter, the effort now seems a little forced.

Despite that, I did write 586 words today. Whether they will eventually be in the book, I cannot say. I have accumulated at least 70 obituaries that Google alerts sends me on a regular basis. To write the epilogue I am looking at them. Some I am seeing for the first time.  Even if I wind up cutting most of this material when I start revising, I am happy that I am finding out about so many remarkable, yet unknown, except to family and friends, women.



This coming weekend I am going to be involved in two activities that concern writing.  Both are from the Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop (PVWW). On Saturday, I  will be attending the workshop, Marketing Your Book Online! The presenter is Fungai Tichawangana.

I wanted to attend this session because, eventually, I will be done with my book and need to market it. I did almost all the marketing for Brewing Battles. That was almost fourteen years ago so I am sure things have changed.

The other event I am attending is on Sunday. It is the orientation for the year long manuscript group. As you may recall, I thought I was going to participate in that the last year, but I decided not to. This year’s group, which I will be part of, is nonfiction, non memoir. I think there will be people in the group who are writing things that are similar to what I am writing.

I am really hoping that the monthly meeting with the whole group as well as accountability buddies that you have during the month will  provide sufficient structure, motivation, and focus so that I can complete my manuscript. It is a big commitment, but I think it will be worth it.

Craft Beer Books

I came across this post about the “Five Best Craft Beers” on a website called The Manual. It reminded me of a post I did over nine years ago, “Beer Books on Amazon“. In 2009, Charles Papazian’s classic, The Joy of Homebrewing was no. 3 on Amazon’s list of “The most popular items in Beer”. It is one of the five  books The Manual thinks you should have on your book shelf.

Michael Jackson’s opinion on the best beer in the world, Ultimate Beer was number 23.  The Manual chose another Michael Jackson book, Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion.

I decided to look at today’s listing on Amazon to see what has changed in nine years. The number one listing is the Kindle edition of Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser Busch by  William Knoedelseder. The sale of Anheuser Busch to InBev  was a pivotal event for the brewing industry and it is great that someone wrote a book about it. I would like to read it when I get a chance.

Today on Amazon’s list of books about beer, Papazian is no. 72  and  Michael Jackson’s Companion is no. 408. That book is 25 years old which probably accounts for it’s lower listing. Michael Jackson, however, remains an authoritative source on all things related to liquor and drinking.

In 2009 the paperback of Brewing Battles was no. 84 and today it is at 1264. Oh well, it has been in print for 11 years.

In my post from 2009, I said I would, at some point, look  and see if Amazon had any listing for temperance books.  It turns out they don’t have a separate category for that and in the Social Sciences list, I didn’t find any books about temperance or prohibition. The takeaway is that Amazon lists reflect sales and popular interest not scholarly concerns.

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