Sunday, August 10, 2014

Writer's Blog Tour

My genealogy friend and colleague Carol Kuzel invited me to participate in a writer's blog tour. The blog tour is a way for a writers in a variety of genres to showcase their blog and discuss their writing. I have a genealogy blog but thought this posting best fit on my personal blog. However, I have also posted a blog on incorporating social history into family history narratives on my genealogy and social history blog.

Each participant answers four questions:

What am I working on?
The biggest writing project right now is research for a thesis that will complete my graduate work for a master's in history. I am not yet to the writing stage, but am getting closer.  I am using one woman's collection of medical recipes from the 1600s as the source and am analyzing characteristics of the recipe vs. characteristics of the people who contributed the recipe.More details are available here. I have a long list of writing projects in the queue (for which I am doing some research now) that I will work on once the thesis is complete. I would like to publish the results of my thesis, as well as some follow-up work on the manuscript collection including a social network analysis of the contributors and perhaps some text mining of the recipe collection. I would also like to write a history of Mormons in the 1800s using my ggg-grandfather as a lens into the goings-on and daily life of the Mormon Battalion, trek across the plains and early settlement in Utah. I would also like to write my life history in a digital scrapbook format and to start up (today!) keeping a regular journal. I occasionally do some creative writing as well.

How does my work differ from other of its genre?
The thesis work differs from most masters theses in that it is heavily quantitative. I am a statistician by training and am able to apply that knowledge and way of thinking to analyzing historical sources. I am also more of a social historian than many historians, so I hope that my writing is less dry and more engaging to a general audience. My genealogy writing also differs from the standard genealogy in that I incorporate a fair amount of social history and other documents in order to bring the person to life.

Why do I write what I do?
I only write about topics that interest me and that I am passionate about. I want to share that knowledge with others in a way that is interesting to them. I use creativity as an outlet. Sometimes that manifests itself in writing a poem or short story. More recently it has been manifested in photography, jewelry making and paper crafts.

How does my writing process work?
Most of my writing over the past few years has been geared towards research papers for my graduate degree. For a given topic, I will take notes from a variety of sources and type them up. I will then cut up all the quotes and small notes and organize them on a table or floor in the order I want to write them. From there, I can just start writing and then move thoughts around as needed. I always save the introduction for last. Once I start writing, it usually just flows. Writing is the easy part, editing is the hard part.

I asked several other writers-bloggers to participate, but they were either too busy or not interested, so unfortunately I do not have any other writers to showcase.

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