|Where I “worked” this weekend|
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It is easy to become obsessed with a writing project.
This weekend I did not read anything related to my American Bible Society project. I spent most of the weekend relaxing at my parents’ house in New Jersey while my wife and daughters were visiting my in-laws in Colorado. But I still got work done. The more I study the history of the American Bible Society the more it consumes my thoughts. I think about the American Bible Society in the shower, while I lay in bed at night, while I am watching a soccer match, and when I am driving.
Questions abound: How should I organize the book? How does the American Bible Society fit with larger patterns in American history and culture? How should I organize the first chapter? Have I read enough secondary material to start writing? Am I using my research assistants effectively? How do I balance the intense focus needed to complete this project with the attention that must be paid to the rest of my life, especially my family?
And more questions arise as I dig into more source material. This is how research works.
Right now I am in the zone. I am thinking constantly about the project and feel very productive. But what will happen in September when the academic year starts and I will not have as much time to devote to the project?
The thinking, ruminating, anxiety, and questioning are all part of the work of writing a book. So while I did not look at any ABS Annual Reports this weekend, I did feel like I had a productive weekend.
I hope to start writing the first chapter this week. Stay tuned.
Sam Lufi says
During my master's level work, my advisor frequently told me that historians are notoriously quiet about their process and methods.
I have been following your posts with great interest – both as a hopeful historian and ABS employee. It is a gift to see how a successful researcher, writer, and teacher approaches historiography.
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