I met a June deadline and since then I’ve composed only note card sentences and business emails. My output with the written word over the last month has been meager. Yet, I’ve been busy if you measure my productivity in pounds of honey extracted from my bee hive, ample produce baskets harvested from the gardens, and my research notes from our state’s archives. Yes… pouring over 18th century primary source documents is where I’ve been spending my time. I’ve discovered some real gems back in the vault and among all the cataloged boxes. Facts I’ll use when my next deadline is near.
I’ve always been fascinated with primary source documents. Whether it’s photos, town reports, school reports, or tax inventories; each item has a story to tell. The vast library of digital images we have available at our fingertips is a great research aide. But nothing compares to holding the real thing in my hands.
While I’ve spent hours reading, researching, and interviewing people, I feel each step has opened up five more paths. I haven’t sifted out all the pieces I need, but I will push on. A September deadline is looming. All my inquiries and fact gathering will need to be crafted into a story. One that I hope is of interest to others and worthy of publication.
Writing coaches always tell you to read and read widely. This I’ve done. The best part of the long summer days is settling down after supper for a good stretch of night time reading. I’ve been happily immersed in many books since June, and each one has been a pleasure to read.
I also took a leap and joined a writer’s group. I’m careful with how I invest my membership dues, but this just made sense. I’ll give it a try for a year and decide later if the return on investment is positive.
The writing life is more than choosing active verbs and smart quotes. It’s fair to say, I’ll be a better writer as a result of my hours spent reading and researching.