Still writing

June 14, 2006

My goal was to write one chapter a week for the new edition of the book I’m revising. It seemed a reasonable approach and I felt if I put in 30 to 40 hours a week I could do it. That assumed I wrote from 6 am to noon then went in to work for a few hours. Educators have most of the summer off, but as an educator-administrator (oxymoron) I need to show up about 3 days a week. Even as late as Friday I was still anticipating completion of the first chapter. By Saturday I was in good shape, but then I had to transfer the writing to edit sheets, revise, revise, revise, and do all the detail work that makes the editor happy. At that juncture I realized the writing is the easy or the enjoyable part of the process. It is these kinds of details that drive me crazy. Determining what photos to include, securing permissions, making sure the endnotes are correct, double checking the edits to make sure I got all the changes. That almost takes the fun out of writing. Almost, but not quite. Okay, too much whining. No more of that!
I am starting work today on the next more challenging chapter. I’m moving from facts to futures. Facts, when presented well and not just numbers but should be a good read. Futures scenarios are creative writing and more challenging. My goal will be to engage the reader in the next chapter in a different way then I have to this point. Vivian Gornick in The Situation and the Story states, “engagement makes experience, experience makes wisdom, and finally it’s the wisdom–or rather movement toward it–that counts” (p. 14).
I am also trying something else in the introduction to the book. I plan to share “first person” accounts of leisure experiences. In doing so I have asked several people to write on a specific topic and I asked them 3 questions. Taken from a request for a NASCAR weekend, I asked the following:

Would you write me a one-page first person account of a NASCAR weekend. Take it from the idea to the actual experience. I want to know how you felt, what where your emotions (before, during,and after) the NASCAR weekend. I’m not so interested in why you do it rather than the feelings that come about from preparing, participating, and reflecting.

These are good qualitative research questions and simply applied without a desire to move through a thorough qualitative research approach. That may come later. I have yet to apply these into the book, but I’m looking forward to its implementation. It will be a creative process and that is what writing is all about. As always, I will keep you posted.

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