Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Writer's Diary, #4, Getting Real

This week has not been as productive as the first two. The task for this week is to write about cataloging and access for oral histories, the topics I know most about. Does that make it harder to write about them? I've entirely reorganized the material three times in three days, essentially wasting two precious writing days. Very frustrating, but I hope I got it right the third time. Now that I have the organization plan in my head, of course I have to transfer it to the keyboard. Another days work. And so it goes ...

In spite of this little setback, I am  pleased with my accomplishment and progress, not the least because of close email collaboration with my colleagues around the country. It makes all the difference in the world to get a question resolved right away, or get feedback on a troublesome passage, or generally get a social fix after a long day alone with my computer. Thanks, Barb and MK!!!

Despite good writing days and bad writing days, I always must remind myself that, in spite of all the progress, we are still in the early stages of creating a book. .A first draft is like a skeleton, or a fancy outline. Many, many steps to follow. Here's what goes into this particular writing project.

1. You get the idea and mull it over, changing it many times - DONE

2. You find publisher, and he gives you both encouragement and real deadlines. Thanks, Mitch!! - DONE

3. You create a book outline, which you know you will change many times, or get thrown out altogether, but still is important to give some structure to a big, amorphous project like writing a book. - DONE

4. From the outline, you break down the pieces into smaller pieces -- volumes (in this case), chapters, sections, knowing that it will be changed about a million time as you move through the project - DONE

5. You take a deep breath, pour a glass of wine, and remind yourself and your loved ones that you aren't really a masochist to write a book. - DONE, MANY TIMES

6. You sit down  with your outline close at hand,  and stare at the computer screen, waiting for inspiration to come. - DONE AND ONGOING

7. Then at some point your fingers start moving, and words appear on the screen, almost without effort. You keep typing, and you can't stop -- not for lunch, not to go to work, not to give your sweetie a kiss. The writing just keeps flowing. - DONE AND ONGOING

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 about a million times till you have a first draft. - IN PROGRESS

Once you have a first draft you have the skeleton of a book. Then comes
  • revision;
  • reorganization of content;
  •  fact checking;
  • inserting forms, examples and screen shots; 
  • verifying citations;
  • discussions about format and appearance; 
  • creating appendices; 
  • sending it out to readers; 
  • getting legal permissions for copyrighted material; 
  • preparing a final draft. 

Whew!!  In this case, I've only just begun .....

But I got out to do at least a little sight seeing. Here are photos from the San Javier Mission at Sunset:



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