Sunday, February 3, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge - What's my plan?

You may have noticed in my February Photo Collage post earlier today I did not attempt to write my 500 words for the Family History Writing Challenge.

I found this approach was just not working for me as all my Fullerton information is still saved on my computer hard drive in a rather disorganised manner. I was spending too much time looking for my data and source information, and it was time that I simply didn't have to spend. 

Therefore, from today I will continue both challenges but, I will attempt them separately. I will use the February Photo Collage posts on this blog to look at some of the different photographs I have and will post basic biographical data about the people in the photograph.

For the Family History Writing Challenge, I will still try to keep to my 500 words a day pledge (I'm thinking maybe 250 words a day would have been a bit more conservative of me! Oh dear!). However, I have decided that this will be mostly offline and I will now take the one-source-at-a-time approach as recommended by Carol Baxter in her book Family Tree Tips: Writing Interesting Family Histories
  • I take one source document.
  • I extract thedata from that source document into my word processor in simple form (without worrying too much about how boring and factual it sounds in its first draft)
  • I create a source citation and an entry in my bibliography for that source document.
  • In a separate 'To do' word document (or maybe in Evernote?), I write out all the questions I have about the source document and/or the background history. 
  • I will make a note that I have extracted the information from that source document and move it to an appropriate folder on my computer hard drive.
  • I will then move on to the next source document.
As Carol Baxter mentions in her book (page 67), this means I have started to write my family history while also processing and filing my research (my ongoing goal). That sounds like a great way for someone like me to do things!

I have been going over some of my University assignments, as well as plans and timelines I created a couple of years ago. There is a lot to work with, I just need to get started. I am still looking at Personal Historian 2. In addition, after reading a recent blog post by Denise Barrett Olsen at the Moultrie Creek Gazette blog about Scrivener, I have downloaded a trial version of that software to have a play with. Both Personal Historian 2 and Scrivener are now added to my 'software to learn' list, which is consistently growing. Perhaps I should just stick to the software I already know like Word or notetaking software like Evernote or OneNote?
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  1. Allin, I always planned to keep the photo & writing challenges separate. Thanks for the links to Carol's book. I have seen references about Scrivener. I personally use word & then keep a note of things I need to look up. Data I need to check I usually type in red so I don't overlook it.

    1. Thanks Julie. The idea of typing in red for uncertain data is a good one, I'll have to try that.

  2. I've tried both Personal Historian 2 & Scrivener and even paid for both, but I am finding Scrivener the much better program. I like how you can change your mind all the time, and have a research section which is more or less how I do my work - the research and then the story and then openit up in split screen so you can look at one thing while writing another. I watched quite a few Youtube videos to help me learn, I'm always too impatient to go through the manuals, but once I get going then I'll usually refer to them. I've been pasting my blogs into srivener and conents of research emails and moving them around etc to get a better sequence, when I learn more things. Off course we all have different styles and must get things to suit us.

    1. Thanks Sandra, I'll certainly be giving Scrivener a closer look and I'll watch some of the YouTube tutorials when I get some time. It looks like an interesting piece of software.

  3. I do much the same as Julie write and make notes with the "to do/follow up" bold and coloured. I'm not sure that this style of work would be effective for me but then when I was writing much of my info was in hard copy, which I personally find easier to deal with. Each to their own. I'll be interested in how you find Scrivener. I decided to combine my two projects as I wanted to have a personal memoir to bequeath which combines personal and social history of the time.

    1. Thanks Pauleen. The idea of bolding and colouring to do and follow up items is one I'll definitely be trying. Scrivener certainly looks interesting, I hope I can find some time to learn how it works. Thanks again.


Your comments are appreciated. Thanks.

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