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What's Your Biggest Writing Struggle?

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Mar 12 12 4:28 AM

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Since we have new members joining us, and maybe members who haven't yet participated in the online discussion, I thought I would throw out a question to to get some conversation going. 

Therefore, a simple one - What is your biggest writing struggle?

I will start. For me, definitely time, too many projects not enough hours in the day, too many distractions. I have to stay on a strict diet of time management or I am easily off course. Also finishing, I can rewrite something until the cows come home, rarely "shipping". For me the scary part is not the writing but the shipping - having someone else judge my work. I'm managing my time with various tools and I need to stick to that very strictly, but now I have to start publishing more and letting go of my numerous projects that I seem I want to continually revise. 

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#1 [url]

Mar 12 12 5:03 AM

I think that perhaps the most difficult thing, for me, is to stop researching and concentrate on writing & formatting. We all know that we can continue to gather more information, documents & photographs on a family branch forever. We all hear about people who inherit boxes and bags of research and memorabilia from someone who gathered and gathered but never shared. I don't want all my work reduced to binders and boxes, passed on to my children who have their own life's projects and goals. I'd rather pass on books that I have written about our family. 

However, I also fear sending the book off to the printer and then making a huge find that solves a family mystery; puts us back another generation or shines a new light on something we thought was solid fact. Having a blog makes me feel better in this regard. I can post new findings there & there's always Volume 2! ha.

Knowing when to stop gathering and when to start sharing is a struggle for me.

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#2 [url]

Mar 12 12 5:09 AM

Right now my biggest struggle is a big excuse I am using for not writing, namely a research trip in May. I am going to Cincinnati in May for a genealogy conference, and while I am there I will visit the library and interview relatives. So I find myself writing down research questions instead of continuing with my story. No doubt that the trip will help fill in some holes in the story, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be continuing to write down what I already do know!

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#3 [url]

Mar 12 12 6:00 AM

I'm with you, Lynn.  Time management and finishing.  I've only had two minor publications, both of which were for editors who had a deadline, so it wasn't up to me.  I had to finish and submit the finished product to them.  This is under my control, so I need to have my own deadline and work accordingly.

I've sent one of the chapters to my cousin to proofread and edit.  That helps.  I tell him when I'm going to send another chapter, once I've done the rewrite, so I'm imposing a deadline for myself.

Time management for me is just having to grit my teeth every day and work no matter what.  I'm getting better, because of how good it felt during the challenge to turn out pages, to turn off distractions and tell myself, "I will do this no matter what comes at me to make me stop."  I've turned off the TV, put the phone on voicemail, and made myself have tunnel vision.  It's a challenge every single day.  

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#4 [url]

Mar 13 12 4:25 PM

Kim, while you think it may be a waste of time now to work on those research questions, I think you are on the right road. Going into a family interview session without preparation is a waste. The other thing I have learned on that topic over the years is that some people are reluctant to answer head-on you might think of things to talk about that might sneak info out of people. Sometime people know things that are helpful to our research and they don't even realize its importance, so they remain silent. Sometimes it's by talking about incidents involving other family members that can elicit additional details. In any event, I wish you success on your trip!

As far as my greatest's usual. Having a job as a Deli Manager this past year has definitely been more consuming than when I was an Asst. Manager. I find that even when I go on a family research trip, I am still engaged via telephone helping to solve problems at work. Other times, when there's turnover, it's a matter of rescheduling...which often puts me doing double duty...and leaves me too exhausted to do any writing when I come home.

Since the end of February, I have been able to find some of the answers to the questions I had RE: the events at the start of the Battle of New Bern. A research colleague sent me some recently released photos of Civil War river gunboats, and answered a couple questions I had about how it might have impacted my great grandfather-in-law's community.

I've decided to go back to Scrivener and write a short descriptive piece on each of the chapter elements and then weave them together later.

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#5 [url]

Mar 14 12 4:53 AM

Deb, I did not mean to imply that writing down my research questions was a waste of time, merely that I am working on those instead of writing currently. I am super excited for the genealogy conference, which will have many sessions on my areas of research, as well as the fact that it is located in the city of my birth.

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#6 [url]

Mar 14 12 5:37 AM

Hey, Kim.  I'm hoping to go too.  Having knee replacement surgery April 2 and the rest of the month every-day therapy, so by May 1st I should be in decent shape.  Also spend some time with my family.  Maybe we can meet up.  b.

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#8 [url]

Mar 15 12 3:39 PM

Perhaps "a waste of time" was a poor choice of words...more like something that took you away from writing. I am used to those parenthesis (as my husband calls it). But I am sure you'll discover some new bits of information that will help you once you piece it all together. Have a great trip!

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#10 [url]

Jan 17 13 7:55 AM

I'm building a family timeline to see how many blanks I can fill in.  I'm focusing on my paternal grandmother's history.  She became estranged from our family when my dad was 5 and died a mysterious death 69 years ago at age 32.

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#11 [url]

Jan 17 13 10:37 AM

I did a timeline for my 2nd great grandfather.  Really gave me a lot of insight to their lives when I wrote my narrative.  For instance, during the Civil War, they lived 20 miles from the Battle of Corydon, Indiana.  I was able to write about the war and how I imagined it affected the family.  Family Tree Maker lets you print out a timeline that it fills in for you.  Pretty awesome.

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#13 [url]

Jan 19 13 2:51 PM

Colleen, I guess your comment is from last spring; but I have to say that I share your struggle - it's going to be hard to stop searching and start writing!  But - I do feel like I need to preserve what I have found so far, in a way that people will read; if I'm successful in this, perhaps they will want volume 2!!
: )

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#14 [url]

Jan 20 13 1:03 PM

Colleen, I share your fears about completing a story and afterwards making a huge discovery. Although the other part of me is hoping most fervently that the discoveries will certainly continue, otherwise I’m done and that would be sad indeed. To keep myself on track I remind myself that those new discoveries will be fodder for the sequel.

The biggest challenge (or worry) that I face is that I come from a family of writers and feel a self imposed need to write stories that are not just good, but riveting, with perfection of flow, grammar and punctuation at every turn. It is ridiculous because my family would rejoice in anything I offer about our history. 

The other thing I’m going to try to keep in mind as I write during this challenge is to limit my vocabulary so even children can follow and enjoy the tales. I don’t want it to come off like a scholarly essay, not for my family anyway. In some cases I will be reworking essays to story form. Lastly, this challenge will be an exercise to find all the bits and pieces scattered in the corners of my pc, online tree and Family Tree Maker from the past 13 years of research.

Gads! Just writing this post is making it all seem like an even bigger challenge than when I signed up.

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#15 [url]

Jan 21 13 12:32 PM

My bigest challenge is consistency: writing with such regularity that the topic is at the top of my mind. That's when I do my best thinking and writing. So if I get on a roll then the work goes smoothly. Am hoping that by commiting to a per day word quota my output will pick up.
Another issue is my blog writing eating away at my writing time for the book. Want to keep up with blog posts too:)
Does anyone else have this problem?
Cheers, Diane

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#16 [url]

Jan 21 13 2:34 PM


I had that problem when I wrote for the Challenge last year because I really wasn't ready with all the details I needed, so I went in search of them and blogged about them. It was great that I found a lot of info I needed, but couldn't keep up with my writing quota. This year I have decided to continue transcribing the Civil War Pension Files for my great grandfather-in-law on the blog, while I write about my own family for the Challenge. By having a blogging series, I have set my blogging goal to 3 affidavits per week, and 1000 words per day for the Challenge.

Hopefully it will work...if not, there's always next year! And note: I am still working on last year's book research. Eventually I'll get them BOTH completed! 

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#17 [url]

Jan 22 13 9:41 AM

Thanks, Deb:) It's helpful to hear about getting all the resource material ready so I can hit the writing road running, then I do have a shot at making my small quota of 250 words a day. Blogging just rolls on out now and so I'm looking at that aspect as fun... if I can be quicker about it. I just need to pick up the pace.
Yeah, and there's always next year;)
Thanks again!
Cheers, Diane

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#19 [url]

Jan 23 13 6:24 AM

Diane, I don't believe so, but I write my posts in Windows Live Writer, it gives the word count tool as well as plenty of other tools. You can then publish your draft right to blogger. It also gives you a back-up of your post. Might want to check it out. 

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#20 [url]

Jan 23 13 7:22 PM

You could also write on Microsoft Word, do the count, and then copy & paste.

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