Angela Lansbury

My original plan for today’s post was to update you about progress on my book. However, on Tuesday, Angela Lansbury died,so I have decided to say something about that today. Tomorrow, which will be the last day of my latest self-initiated NaNoWriMo, I will post about that process.

As my faithful readers will remember, from the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2022, I watched every episode of Murder She Wrote and read a book by Angela Lansbury. More recently, I read a book that had Jessica Fletcher as the heroine.

When Angela Lansbury died this Tuesday, the New York Times ran an obituary which included  a mini documentary about her life. It featured her speaking. Something she said was very meaningful. “I’m an actress not just a pretty face.”

She was a woman of character and immense talent, and I really admired her. You can read my post about Murder She Wrote here.

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.

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 27

I am continuing with my attempts at reorganization. I also attended a Zoom presentation on “Academic Publishing” and virtually  met with one of my revision classmates.  All of these activities totaled 206 minutes. I have averaged, so far, 110 minutes a day.

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 26

Today I did a little bit of everything in two separate spurts. The first hour I looked at two inter-library loan books I have, read some of Tell IT Slant, and wrote a query to the University of Minnesota Press.

The second hour, I continued with my attempts at reorganization, taking two chapters that are about clubs at two separate institutions and reassembling them. The new structure would have one chapter about Dames and their national organization, the National Association of University Dames. The other chapter would be about faculty wives clubs and some of their activities. I also updated my working outline to reflect these changes.

It was a productive day, but I am happy there are only a few days left to NaNoWriMo Summer Camp. This has been a difficult pace to keep up and I am glad I will be being taking a few days off from the project in the beginning of August. I will explain my plans for maintaining accountability as we get a little closer to the end of the moth.

 

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 25

Today is the start of the final week of NaNoWriMo. I procrastinated  and I have a doctor’s appointment, so I only worked for the minimum of 60 minutes.

I spent the time working on the new chapter I created yesterday “Choices”. I am trying to keep the chapter tightly focused on providing examples of the different options available to faculty wives in the late 19th and 20th century.

I am pleased with the work I did today and, hopefully, that will continue tomorrow. Wish me luck.

 

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 23

Today I worked a little over two hours. I now have two outlines. One would be all the chapters I went through and did revision via quotes. I would need an introduction and a conclusion. The other outline has two new chapters.

After I wrote up the outlines, I started looking through all my previous drafts for whatever I have already written about sexuality and intimacy. I have mixed feelings about this process. I wonder if I am just making busy work for myself and retreating to my comfort zone of research. Research is easier than either writing or revision. Writing is easier than revision.

I may continue down the potential rabbit hole of intimacy for another day or so. Now I am off to Jacob’s Pillow to see a dance performance.

 

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp Day 22

Today I went through the epilogue, revising and cutting quotes. I worked for 103 minutes. So far, I have worked an average of almost two hours a day. It may not seem like a lot but what I am doing is hard.

When I began revising via quote, I started with Chapter 2 because I had been working for so long on Chapter one, I was sick of looking at it. Today after I finished with the epilogue, I turned my attention back to it. In the end I decided not to do the quotes in Chapter 1 because I have so many different versions of it that it was very confusing.

What I did instead was think about the organization or reorganization of the whole manuscript. Realizing that there are two problematic chapters one, and seven I produced an outline that simply eliminated those chapters. That gave me a potential manuscript of seven chapters in 272 pages.

I then thought about what I was leaving out by eliminating those chapters and what I wanted to work back into this new structure. Because I have been working on this manuscript for so long, I have multiple chunks I can move around and put in either existing chapters or new ones.

By the end of my 103 minutes, I had a new structure that that would include a revised chapter one, a new chapter on cookbooks, and a new chapter on sexuality for a total of ten chapters and probably, but this is just a guess, 380 words. If I do wind up with a manuscript that is 380 words, it means I would have only cut about sixty pages from the current manuscript. When I think about it that way it is a lot of work for little pay back. As you can tell, this is still a work in progress. I am still trying to figure out what I am doing.

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