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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6 comments:

  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.

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

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  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.

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    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.

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  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.

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    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.

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Your comments are appreciated. Thanks.

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