Welcome!

This blog takes you behind the scenes of the writing of an academic history book – like a ‘making of’ featurette. Its aim is to make visible the traditionally invisible process of what it’s like for a university academic in the Humanities to write a research monograph, i.e. a single-authored 100,00 word book.

I’m a History Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford, and the book I’m writing has a working title of The Elusive Church: Luther, Poland and the Early Reformation. This project is supported by a British Academy Mid Career Fellowship (2012-13).

On these pages, you'll find a regular 'log' of how the book is progressing, plus information about the project. I welcome your comments and thoughts - whether you're studying or teaching history at school or university, or writing non-fiction yourself...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Fictions of Book Writing

The monograph felt as if it were moving at a good, steady speed (like an athlete making it around a track) in the late spring, but since the summer holiday it has rather lost momentum. The point of a 2 week foreign holiday at this late stage in the book writing process (90% of book drafted) was to clear my head, so that I could come back to the last section fresh. It cleared my head a little too effectively,  and that  - coupled with a major house move - has showed that no matter how hard to you plan, how determined and self-disciplined you aspire to be, how keenly you try to coax your brain into deep historical analysis, sometimes life gets in the way. Writing a monograph is all about persuading yourself you have, and can maintain, control – of your routine & motivation over a period of months and years, of the stupefying mass of material you are trying to shape into a crystal-clear argument, and even of the external factors which can so easily sap a writer’s concentration and energy. In that sense, writing a book involves telling oneself a lot of fictions, in order to make task in hand appear achievable.

So I am now labouring through chapter 10, in which the Reformation stance (and religious language) of Zygmunt I of Poland is compared with that of Charles V, Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France. I had thought this would be a straightforward and relatively quick chapter, but having typed that sentence I now realise just how unlikely that always was.


There are technically about 7 weeks left of the British Academy Fellowship, the year of sabbatical I have to write the book, and now I have a dilemma. Part of me thinks the priority is to use the remaining time to edit what has already written into good shape. Such editing needs a good, concentrated chunk to time, when the fine detail of the chapters can mesh together (ideally!). Part of me, however, thinks the more pressing task is to finish the draft itself, to press on with this chunky last chapter, so that I can at least have the psychological satisfaction and comfort, come October, that there is an entire book manuscript in existence (whatever state that MS might actually be in). So I’m still deciding whether to impose a strict guillotine on Chapter 10, or whether to keep ploughing on, until I have finally worked out exactly what Francis I thought about his own Lutherans…

2 comments:

  1. WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST IN WINNING THE LOTTERY MEGAMILLION AND DEEPLY SWIMMING IN UNPAYABLE DEBTS, LOOSING YOUR FAMILY AND THE ONES YOU LOVE AROUND YOU TO AN ABJECT POVERTY CONTACT THE VOODOO SPELL CASTER FOR LOTTERY SPELL,CASINO GAMBLING SPELLS,WIN LOTTERY JACKPOT,EUROMILLION JAKPOT, WIN YOUR CASINO GAMLIN GAMES WITH THE HELP OF A SPELL CASTER DR.OGUDU


    My name is john from ENGLAND before i meet DR OGUDU i have been in frustrating debts for about 6 years i have did everything possible to pay my debts and live a normal happy life with my family and friends but to no avail, I have played lottery for more than 9 years but never win big always been mock about spending my little earns on tickets that does not yield result but i was very determined and never give up on myself with hopes of earning a better life with the megamillion games, The situation contiuned like this for about 8 years until i saw i heart touching testimonies of some many lottery winners who give all there vote of thanks and appreciation to DR OGUDU the lottery spell caster namely where BRYON STEWART, MARIE HOLMES, JULIE LEACK and more more others who he heard help in winning the lottery so i got his email and website online after deliberate thinking i decideed to give him a try by contacting him through his email address and website behold after my encounter with DR.OGUDU my first winning tickets after he gave me some numbers to see his powers on lottery spell i won FIVE MILLION POUNDS[5.000.000] My life have totally changed for good and many more which he have done for me too numerous to mention if you have tried winning the lottery but no results contact DR OGUDU for life changing tickets and lottery numbers now VIA EMAIL [OGUDUSPELLTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM] WHATSAPP NUMBER +2348106058254""WEBSITE_ http://oguduspelltemple.wixsite.com/drogudu

    ReplyDelete

  2. WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST IN WINNING THE LOTTERY MEGAMILLION AND DEEPLY SWIMMING IN UNPAYABLE DEBTS, LOOSING YOUR FAMILY AND THE ONES YOU LOVE AROUND YOU TO AN ABJECT POVERTY CONTACT THE VOODOO SPELL CASTER FOR LOTTERY SPELL,CASINO GAMBLING SPELLS,WIN LOTTERY JACKPOT,EURO MILLION JACKPOT, WIN YOUR CASINO GAMBLING GAMES WITH THE HELP OF A SPELL CASTER DR.OGUDU


    My name is JOHN REHM from ENGLAND before i meet DR OGUDU i have been in frustrating debts for about 6 years i have did everything possible to pay my debts and live a normal happy life with my family and friends but to no avail, I have played lottery for more than 9 years but never win big always been mock about spending my little earns on tickets that does not yield result but i was very determined and never give up on myself with hopes of earning a better life with the mega million games, The situation continued like this for about 8 years until i saw i heart touching testimonies of some many lottery winners who give all there vote of thanks and appreciation to DR OGUDU the lottery spell caster namely where BRYON STEWART, MARIE HOLMES, JULIE LEAK and more more others who he heard help in winning the lottery so i got his email and website online after deliberate thinking i decided to give him a try by contacting him through his email address and website behold after my encounter with DR.OGUDU my first winning tickets after he gave me some numbers to see his powers on lottery spell i won FIVE MILLION POUNDS[5.000.000] My life have totally changed for good and many more which he have done for me too numerous to mention if you have tried winning the lottery but no results contact DR OGUDU for life changing tickets and lottery numbers now VIA EMAIL [OGUDUSPELLTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM] WHATS-APP NUMBER +2348106058254""WEBSITE_ http://oguduspelltemple.wixsite.com/drogudu

    ReplyDelete