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Your Single Most Important Lesson!

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Feb 29 12 6:22 AM

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Today marks the end of our challenge. It's kind of a sad day for me, maybe not so much for you guys as you look for a little breathing room. I hope everyone got what they needed. On the flip side I am excited the forum will be moving forward as a tool for all family history writers.
To continue the conversation tell me the single most important tool, element, lesson you learned from this challenge and tell me about something you would like to learn more about. 

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#1 [url]

Feb 29 12 6:51 AM

The single most important lesson I learned is that for me to accomplish something, I have to set goals AND have someone to report to.  But there were several other things I learned, too- Scrivener is great, the list of books is great, the small ideas I gleaned here and there have been great.  I'm really glad the board will continue, as I'm excited to continue this writing journey!  Thank you so very much.


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#2 [url]

Feb 29 12 7:51 AM

I have learned not to be afraid. Like many people, I can be utterly insecure. In this realm I have doubted my abilities as a family historian and as a writer. But I have come to realize through this process that I am not alone, that we all have fears and that fears can be paralyzing. So really, I have learned that the only one standing in my way is myself, and that I really can accomplish something if I set my mind to it. Cliché, I know, but it's true. Like demascot, I have also learned the value of goal setting and having someone to report to. It keeps me going.

I'd actually like to learn a little more about how to deal with footnotes/end notes. Such as how much of my story should be numbered, when it's appropriate to make a footnote, etc. I'm afraid by book is going to simply be littered with little numbers... 

This has been fantastic. Thanks again to Lynne and everyone in the forum.

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#3 [url]

Feb 29 12 8:52 AM

Like the others, I have learned that goals must be set, and I must be vigilant in my pursuit of those goals if I wish to succeed..  I also learned that if writing a book is what I want to do, my research has to be much more than searching for facts about my ancestors.  Since this is the first writing project I have undertaken, I still feel very overwhelmed and intimidated by the project, but I now have enough self confidence  to continue and know it can be accomplished.

All of the suggestions and support from you and the forum, have given me much to read and think about.  I have downloaded the trial version of Scrivener, and begun reading "Journey Takers".

I am glad the forum will continue. Like Michelle, I would like to learn more about footnotes/end  notes. 

This project has been a great help.  Thank you Lynn and thanks to everyone else also.


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#4 [url]

Feb 29 12 9:17 AM

The most important thing I have learned is that I need to get my family out of the file cabinets and into a story where others can enjoy their journey. I would like to learn more about ways to transition from one line of the family to another without losing the reader. I also really appreciate all the posts from Lynn and the comments of my fellow challengers. Hope to keep seeing everyone here in the forum!

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#5 [url]

Feb 29 12 2:05 PM

To keep on writing, even when I'm researching.
I had gotten bogged down in the research.

Plus - I discovered Scrivener which makes it so much easier to incorporate the research into the writing.

I would like to learn more about the end product - publishing. My book was written last year - I got bogged down in the fact checking and revisions. I still have a lot of revision and fact checking, but sooner or later I will need to move to the next phase.
I had started to read about the publishing - formatting, size of book, type of binding - it's mind boggling.

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#6 [url]

Feb 29 12 2:40 PM

The most valuable thing I've learned is to set small slow down and step into the character's POV...getting the details from newspaper clippings about what the weather was like on that important night when the battle ensued...about what the sounds, sights and sensations of the atmosphere...and to (try) not to be afraid of what it will turn out realize that it's just a draft and can be changed.

It was great having the forum because I have always felt so alone on this. It's nice to know there are others we can learn from and support!

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#7 [url]

Feb 29 12 3:50 PM

The most important tool that I learned about is Scrivener-I had already heard about it and bought it but never tried to use it. I love it! An important lesson I learned is that I should have organized my research better before I tried to write-I wasted a lot of time trying to find things. This month has made me realize how much I love writing and I want to continue. 
I would like to learn more about footnotes too-while it's important to give my sources I don't want my narrative to look like a term paper! I'm glad the forum is continuing!

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#8 [url]

Feb 29 12 6:53 PM

For those of you who want to take the next step and publish, I formed my own publishing company in 2009 and have written and published two print books and an eBook so far. I would be happy to share my experiences with you. I am also on the board of the St. Louis Publishers Association, so I have lots of experts I can call upon for answers. I'm sure others in the forum have published already as well. It would be a great forum topic!

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#9 [url]

Mar 1 12 6:09 AM

Yes, I'm also interested in the publishing aspect as well. For now, I intend to self publish a handful for my family only. I'm a graphic designer so I plan to design and layout my own book and have it printed by Blurb, which is the print on demand company I use for my photography and art books. This way I can make a really special hard cover "coffee table" version for my family. However, I am hoping the book will be good enough that I'll want to publish it and try to sell it on Amazon and B&N, etc. So I'd love to discuss that whole process.

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#10 [url]

Mar 1 12 5:55 PM

I echo all of you who feel you learned you can do this during this past month.  Me too.  I'm surprised actually how much I accomplished.  I stuck with it.  I'm into editing now, and it's going well.  I'm going to self publish as well.  I'm interested in forming my own company too sometime down the road.  I'm so grateful for everyone here and all the discussions.  What a great group!

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#11 [url]

Mar 2 12 1:16 AM

I learned over this past month how amazingly easy it is to let anything - and I mean ANYTHING - get in the way of writing your book.  Even 'good' things like genealogical research - and things which aren't so good, but are oh-SO-enjoyable, like watching TV, surfing the net, eating pancakes...and things which are essential, like breathing in and out.  Or should 'eating pancakes' come under the heading of 'essential'? LOL

I also learned the price of honesty when I went through the proper channels for getting permission to use a photo I found on the Internet.  Incidentally, although the copyright owners have my cheque (they confirmed it only when I asked), they still haven't cashed it, so I don't consider I have their permission.  Yet.

I, too, would like to know more about publishing and self-publishing.  It may be a while before my book gets anywhere near good enough for publishing - let's say 'a long time before it gets finished enough for publishing' (sigh) - but I am very aware of the HUGE delight it can give you to find something written by an ancestor, and so I would like future genealogists to find my book and do the genealogy happy dance.

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#12 [url]

Mar 2 12 4:23 AM

Self-publishing has never become a consideration for me, most likely because I have a dual BA in Creative Writing and Psychology. Two professors I had, both established authors, had challenged me over the years, and this is just something I need to do. Jack Leax (poet) had challenged us in Sr. Writer's Workshop to consider weather our writing was for our sake, or for literary sake...I chose the latter, desiring to write the great epic historical novel that would survive for a broad audience over time. That is still my goal. My novel that I started in college was based on my Russian Jewish ancestors; but at that time, I knew NOTHING about genealogy. Now that I am experienced in that field as well, I am combining my efforts to produce a product that will speak to a current generation. Jay Neugeboren had encouraged me with Dubnow's History of the Jews in Russia and Poland...hopefully one day I will learn more of the particulars  so that I can tackle that project once again. Prof. Neugeboren always said that talent that is not used benefits no one. That is my challenge.

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#13 [url]

Mar 2 12 4:47 AM

The best part of this challenge has been the connection here on the Forum. Sharing our goals, our road blocks and encouragement for each other has been an unexpected benefit.
Concerning footnotes: I think they are important, even if some pages are littered with them. A genealogy without sources is of little value. 
Self publishing: I wrote a genealogy of one branch of my family already & used a local self publishing company. They offer a long menu of services that you can select from. I did all my editing, formatting, etc. but you can have that done for you. It is all a matter of preference & price.

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#14 [url]

Mar 9 12 9:32 AM

The single most important thing I have learned is that I can write something besides facts.  There are many things that I learned, but the three things that really stick out in my mind are, 1- Using flashbacks
 2- the three tools to use when you don't have all the information, such as "He likely..." or "They almost certianly"
 3. Don't overuse the tag, "he said" or "she said", example: "John walked toward the ship, "Gooddbye Mother". 
 Also the video "Fleshing out the Story" was such an inspiration to me on how you can take the basic facts and create the backbone of the story and then add various research finds to put the flesh on.  I had never heard the word "Fleshing" used before in this context.  In fact, I don't think I have ever heard the word fleshing used before in any context.  I was impressed.
I have used these tools in my writing and am very pleased that it makes my story more readable and interesting and creative.  Thanks so much. and Thanks so much for keeping the information available on your blog.  Sarah

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#15 [url]

Mar 10 12 4:55 AM

Hi Sarah, I'm happy to see you posting here. I'm also very happy you made some progress with your writing during the month of Feb. Keep up the great work, looking forward to hearing more from you. 

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