Monday, June 30, 2014

On Writing a History of the American Bible Society--Update #14

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.

2 comments:

Sam Lufi said...

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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