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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in armchair genealogist (6)

    Wednesday
    Oct232013

    Will You be NaNoWrMo-ing Next Month?

    Crest bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafb

    I sort of feel like I joined NaNoWriMo in spirit when I wrote How to Archive Family Keepsakes. Under deadline, I wrote 45,000 words from Sept 15 to Jan 15 with two New England trips, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a fractured elbow. Ouch! I loved every minute.

    Something happens when I get totally, completely immersed in a project. It's a Zen sort of experience. The clock stops ticking and I forget everything outside the space where I am working. I've felt the same thing working on a big, complicated quilting project or in turning the heel of a sock [knit jargon for "knitting a sock heel" which can be tricky but is always very cool].

    NaNoWriMo is for writers what fair isle socks on #2 needles for the entire family are for knitters -- a chance to push yourself toward a big goal in a limited amount of time. During the month of November, writers commit to drafting a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The "rules" stipulate that you can't include anything written before November 1, and the product must be a work of fiction. In 2012, over 340,000 writers participated.

    The Rebellion

    Every Crusade must have it's Rebels. The NaNoWriMo Creed is strict -- 50,000 word count valid Nov 1-30, 11:59pm, any language, fiction novel. 

    Writers who want to bend the rules to write nonfiction, scripts, academics, or just do their own thing yet still participate in the official NaNoWriMo project, are known as NaNo Rebels. If Clue Wagon Kerry Scott or We Tree Amy Coffin ever join NaNoWriMo, I bet they will be leading the Rebel Pack.

    Unlike most official programs, NaNoWriMo makes room for Rebels by giving a space on the official website forum and access to other Rebels. Wikiwrimo notes:

    "You're writing a memoir, a script, a nonfiction book about turtles or something else that's not a novel. You're a NaNoRebel, baby! Converse with your fellow outlaws here."

    Writing is a lonely life, and the NaNoWriMo forums are undoubtedly one of the strongest and most valuable reasons to participate in the project. When stuck for words, nothing is better than a whack on the side of the head by a fellow-writer. 

    A lot of people argue that NaNoWriMo doesn't really help produce novels, it just gives writers a push to write a 50,000 words. And, that's true. What comes out of intense writing sessions is a draft, not a finished polished product. But, a draft is a beginning. 

    FamHisWriMo

    Genealogists and family history writers are fortunate. We can join NaNoWriMo in November and craft an historical novel or mostly-fiction memoir, or we could be a Rebel and work toward that 50,000 word goal in another form of writing.

    OR

     we can start planning our family history writing project now and join The Armchair Genealogist's Family History Writing Challenge in February 2014.

     

    Writer Lynn Palermo organized the first Challenge three years ago to encourage family historians in writing their own family history during the month of February. The project has grown every year, and like NaNoWriMo, Lynn offers a forum where participants can share their ideas and reach out for support. Over 800 family history writers joined the Challenge in 2013. The Challenge helps family history writers commit to their own project, whatever it might be, and their own word count goal.

    Just think, if you started planning now for The Armchair Genealogist's Family History Writing Challenge, by researching, outlining, and organizing what you want to write, by February you might be ready to compile a pretty good first draft of the family history project you've always wanted to write.

    Think About It

    I came across this chart the other day and it made me think about getting into Zen writing again.

    NewImage

    The numbers on the left are words per day. Some days I barely made 500 words, but when I was in a crunch I managed to write over 3,500 a day. You can see that I didn't write every single day from December 12 to January 8; more like 14 days out of 28. I took time off for Christmas. My total word count for the 14 days was 24,465; draft writing, to be sure, but you have to start somewhere. And I had that deadline hanging over my head. Looking back at those statistics makes me realize that IF I could write almost 25,000 words in 14 days, the notion of 50,000 words in 30 days is ALMOST concievable. But, that's if I don't break any bones.

    I'm thinking about it.

    Thursday
    Feb142013

    Join Me for a Chat with The Armchair Genealogist About Writing and Publishing 

     

    This week I'm honored to join Lynn Palermo during the Family History Writing Challenge for an interview at The Armchair Chair Genealogist about writing my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes. I think Lynn must have been looking over my shoulder because she was on target with some great questions, from motivational tricks to working with a publisher.

    It isn't always easy to maintain focus and enthusiasm during a long writing project -- or even a month-long writing challenge! -- but you can do it! I hope you will join join us today at The Armchair Genealogist for another chat about the writing life, and peek inside my office in yesterday's post (the tidiness may not last long!)

     

    Wednesday
    Feb132013

    Peek Inside My Office and Chat at The Armchair Genealogist

    It's nearly the midway point in the Family History Writing Challenge, and if you're like me, it can be hard to maintain focus on a writing project about halfway through. I get excited about starting and ending a project, but many times, the middle can be a bit of slog and I have to pull all kinds of tricks to keep working. 

    Last month, during the blog book tour for How to Archive Family Keepsakes, Lynn and I talked about the book's focus on organization as a first-step toward becoming a more effective researcher and family history writer in A Coffee, A Comfy Chair, and a Q&A with the Author. On Thursday, 14 February, we continue the conversation at The Armchair Genealogist to talk about the writing, publishing, and marketing aspect of authorship. In these days of e-books, blogs, and self-publishing, it's not enough to simply write a book; authors have to be ready to take on many roles to get the word out about their work.

    Lynn's questions made me feel so "professional" that I was motivated to clean up my desk and snap a few pictures. My office doesn't always look this tidy, but I sure do feel more in control when it's like this.

    DML office

     

    DML desk

    Sometimes, a mid-project "tidy up" is all it takes to help me get over the slump and back to work. Other times I have to employ other tricks, like playing games with word counts or promising myself a special coffee treat. Whatever it takes, it's worth it if it can keep me moving and avoid the dreaded "writer's block."

    You might notice in the photos that my desk faces a wall in my office. I've thought about hanging a gallery of photos around the bulletin board, but I know it would probably tempt me to drift off into who-knows-where so I keep putting off that little decorating project. There is a wall of windows at my back, which isn't great for glare, but the trees outside the window and sheer curtains and blinds keep it pleasant. I don't work with music or tv, in fact I work best when it's pretty quiet and find that neighborhood noise is an unwelcome distraction. My office is quite small, about 9 x 12, but just right as a cozy niche for a day with words.

    I hope you'll join us this week at The Armchair Genealogist as we talk about writing, publishing, and marketing a family history book. I've got an extra chair in my office too!

    Thursday
    Jan312013

    Are You Ready for the Family History Writing Challenge?

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    Researching family history is one thing; writing about it is another. The Armchair Genealogist has thrown down the glove and challenged family historians to pick up a pen and commit to writing about their family history. "If not now, then when?" asks Lynn Palermo, writer and creator The Family History Challenge.

    The 28-day project runs throughout the month of February. The event is simple, you choose --

    • who or what you want to write about
    • how many words per day to write
    • where to write

    The best part 

    • No Judge, No Jury
    • Just write, edit later

    When you sign up for the challenge, you receive an encouraging daily email and can participate in the challenge forum to share ideas and inspiration. Still not sure, check out the Family History Writing Challenge website for "28 Days of Motivation" and the Challenge Blog for posts from last year's event.

    I'm picking up the glove; are you?

    Friday
    Jan182013

    New Reviews for How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Thumbs Up!


    Still deciding whether or not you need a copy of my new family history handbook How to Archive Family Keepsakes? Check out these reviews and news bytes from genealogists and family historians you may know --

    and remember:  

    Proceeds from book sales throughout the blog book tour will be used to fund the 2013 Student Scholarship Grant awarded to assist the genealogical education of a promising young family historian.

    Midge Frazel, cemetery / gravestone expert and techie, writes at Granite in My Blood:

    OK, so I AM organized. I love being organized, but I discovered very early in my reading of her [My California-Girl friend, Denise Levenick's] book that I still have a LOT to learn from this book. Buy it! I guarantee that you will findthings and Web sites you do not know about.

    In honor of her book tour, I purchased an different archival box for my file. . . This is what genealogist want for Valentine's Day plus a copy of Denise's book.

    Denise Olson, news hound, tech guru and bookseller, writes at Moultrie Creek Books and Amazon.com:

    In How to Archive Family Keepsakes, Denise Levenick has created an amazing reference for anyone who has inherited a collection of family letters, documents and personal items. For family historians and genealogists, this is an essential guide for organizing and managing the family archive.

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes is a great reference and one you’ll want to include in your library of research essentials.

    Caroline Pointer, genealogy and technology artist at 4YourFamilyStory, writes

    . . . after reading her book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes, I have to say she rocks it in her book. . .
In fact, in reading her book you can tell it is her passion, which is always awesome.

    With her simple how-to's, checklists, and forms, when you purchase Denise's book {Not if. I'm that confident you will purchase this book.}, you will not only be motivated to preserve your family's keepsakes, but you will have the tools to go through that box {Or if you're like me, boxes} of your family's 'stuff' you have tucked away in that closet in your guest bedroom that you keep telling yourself you need to go through and do 'something' with.

    Moreover, what I really appreciate is how Denise writes her tips and suggestions in How to Archive Family KeepsakesShe gives you many options in her preservation suggestions, and she does so in a way that makes you feel like she's right next to you sharing her knowledge.

    Lynn Palermo, family history writing coach at The Armchair Genealogist, comments

    There comes a time in your research when you decide to take all the documents, artifacts and photos you’ve accumulated throughout the years and formulate them into stories. One of the biggest obstacles we face as writers is the overwhelming task of getting all that information organized so we can begin to write. . .

    After reading Denise’s book it became clear to me she had written a book that stood at the core of helping authors prepare to write.

    footnoteMaven, Editor Publisher of the popular online photography magazine, Shades of the Departed, writes 

    You can use the book for quick answers, efficient archival workflow, digital savvy, collecting strategies, and most importantly confidence. Confidence that no matter what you acquire you have an answer as to how to proceed.

    I keep the book on my desk and refer to it often. Treat yourself! It is so worth it.

    Shades gives it 4 out of 4 old cameras:

     

    Ready to purchase your own copy of How to Archive Family Keepsakes? Now available in both PRINT and eBook editions. Click the button to see ordering options.


    Visit Week 2 of the Blog Book Tour for more exclusive articles on working with family history photos, documents, and artifacts, and a chance to win the Week 2 Giveaway Prize.

    Wednesday
    Jan162013

    A Coffee, A Comfy Chair and a Q & A: Blog Book Tour Visits The Armchair Genealogist

     

    A Coffee, A Comfy Chair and a Q & A with the Author: The Blog Book Tour Visits The Armchair Genealogist

    from today's interview by Lynn Palermo, The Armchair Genealogist

    I am thrilled today to welcome Denise Levenick to The Armchair Genealogist. Denise is the author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes. I've been talking a lot about getting organized this January. Not only because it's that time of the year, New Year's goals bring it out of us but as well many of you are preparing to write The Family History Writing Challenge. Yesterday, I talked about what a wonderful tool this book will be in helping you get ready to write. Today, Denise and I are going to talk organizing your family history stuff because we all know it can be monster. 

    Grab a coffee, pull up a comfy chair and join me for a conversation with Denise, as we explore her new book, How to Archive Your Family Keepsakes (continue reading at The Armchair Genealogist) . . .