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#21 [url]

Feb 6 13 5:19 AM

Janet, wonderful. I think this is the biggest lesson from writing. The process of writing and working through your ideas leads to opening so many doors that you wouldn't get to unless you start. Congrats on fleshing out that story. I love the idea! 

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#22 [url]

Feb 6 13 5:22 AM

With almost 1 week under our belt I am beginning to hear the grumblings of negativity seeping in. Life happens, and it will continue to happen as long as you are aware of it and  you will have to adjust occasionally. Don't beat yourself up, refocus, new day, new opportunities. Really if your 250 or 500 words short at the end of the 28 days are you going to feel like a failure, I think not! Write on! 

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#23 [url]

Feb 6 13 7:35 AM

Hi all, Just a little behind... funny how life gets in our way sometimes. I've posted on my blog for three days and expect to catch up today or tomorrow. My plan seems to have taken its own path. I find myself writing about the challenges of finding ancestors. With such a large French family, we're all trying to find that one special family member who eludes discovery. By offering my results for this family or that, one of my cousins, first, second or shirttail twice removed, will maybe have a bit more luck. My experience has told me that you find who you need when you don't concentrate on the obvious. I hope this new direction is okay with you, Lynn, and the other bloggers. I'm thinking it may help someone with a brick wall by reading "my story" and giving them hope with theirs.

Also, rather than focusing on just the French side, I've had other "ah ha" moments in other families that I had and couldn't believe my luck. So I'll add another side or two to reflect that as well. My blog is


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#24 [url]

Feb 6 13 8:04 AM

Whenever I've been discouraged and not sure what to do next, I've picked up an old fashioned pen and notebook and just started writing ANYTHING.  Pretty soon, an idea for my project(s) comes.  This hasn't always worked, but this week, it has!  I've managed almost 5000 words in the challenge which is about 4000 more than I even planned for!  And that's not counting the "crap" written in the notebooks.  My advice: momentum.  Just keep writing.  ANYTHING.


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#25 [url]

Feb 6 13 9:51 AM

Patt, there are no rules in writing, where ever the path leads you. I've made note of your blog and will be sure to add it to the list this week. 

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#26 [url]

Feb 6 13 12:48 PM

I have been faithful about writing my 250 words a day but it seems so very disjointed. I write on the suggested tip each day and am just barely beginning to see how I can weave it together. The fun part has been trying to add interest to my writing. I have a friend reading it each day and she asks great questions and sometimes says it's fascinating. BUT unfortunately, I decided to write about the two grandparents I know little about even though I wanted to make my story a memoir. Very challenging to say the least. 


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#27 [url]

Feb 6 13 1:50 PM

Louise, I can't tell you how many times I thought I'd research a bit and ended up spending several days deep in reading.  It's pretty common.  You will also find that days will come when you'll write much, much more than you planned.  That makes up for it.  

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#28 [url]

Feb 6 13 7:29 PM

My writing has been sporadic based on schedule. So far I've managed 2351 words. My original goal was 1000 words per day...I think that might be on my best day, but not every day. A bit unrealistic. Since I haven't yet finished my writing today, my average word count is 470. So, to push myself a little more, I'm going to revise my goal to 500 words per day with the intention that if I get into the flow, I can upgrade my quota. I have the day off tomorrow, so I am really counting on some substantial writing time! 

In reading the opening chapters of Joyce Carol Oates' memoir, A Widow's Story, I see how she writes in the present progressive tense, allowing her to be more descriptive about feelings and sensations. At times she reflects on past events, but doesn't get stuck there. She keeps it ever moving forward. Last year I read O Beautiful (John Paul Godges)....and the year before (although I didn't participate in the Challenge), I read Suzanne Berne's Missing Lucile: Memories of The Grandmother I Never Knew. I think I may go back and reread passages of those two books as well to review how the authors treated different topics.

This year, also, I have finally gotten to the point where I don't have to immerse myself in research, but just need to jog my memory with a few details on hand. Much better!

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#29 [url]

Feb 7 13 6:41 AM

It's day 7, and we're 1/4 of the way through the challenge. Are you where you want to be? Are you struggling? Excited about the next 21 day? Or are you still overwhelmed? Let's hear from you! 

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#30 [url]

Feb 7 13 8:04 AM

Maybe I should have pledged 940 words because I just can't seem to make 1000 but I am not bogged down by that. I had a bit of serendipity yesterday. After all those years with only a tiny picture of my grandmother's mother, I accidentally (chasing a date for another family member) found her on I was prepared to dislike her because she was an awful parent. It's interesting what a photo can do and I found myself tearing up because with the new pictures, she became a real person with her own story.

I get bogged down with each discovery and sidetracked into writing what I know about them. Until yesterday, I would have considered her a separate story and now realize her behavior ties directly into the story I am trying to tell. I had my 28 days mapped out and now, feel derailed. Am I the only one who get distracted?

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#31 [url]

Feb 7 13 9:32 AM

@Woodstock, don't feel derailed. This all part of the process, a map is merely a guide, you are allowed to revise it as many times as you like. This is why I remind writers not to get hung up on having it all figured out, because the act of writing itself is part of the journey of shaping your story and leading you to places you have yet to explore. That means you've given yourself overr to the process and that's a very good thing. 

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#32 [url]

Feb 7 13 1:22 PM

I think I may be getting back into the groove today with the continuing story of Clara arriving in town remembering how she met Louie at Turner Hall Dance 5 months ago.  It was fun listening to some of the old audio tapes from 1982.  This feels better than the history stuff and family narrative stuff I wrote the past two days.  I have been struggling with how to introduce the trials and tribulations that both immigrating families experienced and overcame when they emigrated in 1850s.  So read Story 7 and let me know what you think.  Or just click on my signature link at bottom.  You can submit your comments as a guest at the site.



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#33 [url]

Feb 7 13 2:20 PM

It's day 7, and we're 1/4 of the way through the challenge. Are you where you want to be? Are you struggling? Excited about the next 21 day? Or are you still overwhelmed? Let's hear from you! 


Excited and feeling very motivated by the challenge. I've kept up at least my pledged amount each day and should finish my first story at the weekend. I am going to then try a more fictional style which is way out of my "academic researcher" comfort zone but am looking forward to it. Your daily emails are fabulous resources by the way. Thank you!

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#34 [url]

Feb 7 13 2:32 PM

Yes, I'm excited about the next 21 days.  I've rerouted my approach to more of a memoir, with me as a character, and the writing is a lot easier.  I already had most of my first draft completed at the beginning of the challenge, so I've been editing the chapters, rewriting the first chapter, having no set word count, but more pledged to spend 4 ours a day, in the mornings.  I love my book!  I can't wait to get it in the hands of my family now.  

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#37 [url]

Feb 7 13 8:41 PM

Tom & Bettyann, I liked both of your stories so far! Both different types of stories, yet a great start of putting it all together.

I think I'm doing better this year than last by keeping up with daily writing (except for the several days in one a bit earlier in the week). I finished writing about the land today...just a draft that I will have to add to later...but the memories are difficult at times. Just before the end of today's piece, I went on the county Register of Deeds site and printed some copies of land documents and the power of attorney that Cousin Hattie left. It gave me the names and addresses of those who inherited her home. I plan on writing to them to see if perhaps they have any information or insights to share. You can read a bit of it here

I have been reading the previous day's writing before plunging into the day's work; but, I see now that I mentioned the siblings' reaction to my email prematurely, and then again at the end. This will have to be fixed later during re-writes. But for now, I am please that I am at least getting the story down.

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#38 [url]

Feb 8 13 7:17 AM

I'm doing ok.  Not great, but ok.  I'm glad that I pledged only 250 words per day because as I write I find that there are blanks that need research or a review of earlier research. I've been producing more than my pledged word count and that's encouraging.

At any rate, the topic(s) are moving along and I don't feel pressure to produce more than is comfortable.

One unexpected benefit of this project is that it is helping me figure out to organize the end result,.  

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#39 [url]

Feb 8 13 8:40 AM

Thanks for asking:) Am getting the flow going and missed most of 2 days while on the road, and usually that would get the guilt thing up and running. But this time, and because of the Challenge, I knew that it's the long haul that matters. This commitment to writing regularly is already starting to feel like a new habit. And that feels good. And now I recognize that days when I'm getting research in order and ready for the next writing days counts too... at least to me:)

Cheers, Diane

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#40 [url]

Feb 8 13 4:21 PM

   I have really had some ups and downs with my writing and this challenges has helped me so much.  I really loved our email message for today, Day 8.  I truly regret that I had not asked my grandparents more about themselves as well as our history.  They are gone and I do regret the wasted opportunity.  I don't know many things about them.  Their dreams, goals, favorite foods, colors.  Simple things so easily taken for granted.  I have started a Nana's Sleepover with my grandkids ranging in age from 3 to 14.  I want to instill in them the love of history and get them to open up and know me better so they won't make that mistake.  I do this the 2nd Saturday of every month and they love it too.  I do worry about my writing tomorrow but I will ask them what they would like to see in the book and them hopefully when they are asleep I will be able to write.  Just in case I can't I hope to do a lot of writing today.   Thanks again for all the points and support.


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