Editor’s Desk #4

Desk Work with ScanCard notebook

I merged two versions of my autobiography this week and that puts the word count over 60,000. I printed the 155 draft pages of the book on Friday and this weekend is time to get a grip on the narrative.

My hope is by reviewing everything page-by-page, I can identify structural deficiencies, make a list of sections that need to be written or improved, and generally grok the person I am and have been. A revision of the outline is in order and I’m getting out my 25-year old ScanCard organizer to keep track of what requires attention. I keep wanting to deny there is a lot of simple editing to do in the form of typos, sentence structure, word choice and the like.

I now have four main tools: 3 x 5 note cards, a draft, an outline, and the ScanCard system to keep track of where I am and what needs doing.

Between this blog, rushes, and additions to the draft book, I produced 106,254 words since Jan. 1. It’s definitely time to get a grip.

Readers may have noticed my posts about 19th Century Minnesota, which were related to that section of the book. To do adequate research took time, more time than expected. I happened on the work of John Radzilowski who studied the exact community where my family settled beginning in 1883. I bought two of his books about Poles in the Midwest. It was a balancing act to stick with my memory of what happened, and oral tradition, yet provide a broader historical context. I’m not done with that section.

What’s best about writing is forgetting about life outside my writing space and immersing myself in whatever topic is the day’s subject. Those hours are among the best. Crossing the 60,000 word count was also good.

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