Family History Writing Challenge - Day 2 | The Armchair Genealogist
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Family History Writing Challenge - Day 2

Don’t Get Caught Up in Grammar and Punctuation!

Writing is really a creative mindset, and grammar and punctuation can really stifle that creative flow especially on the first draft.(Don’t tell my English teachers what I just wrote) You have to rethink the premise learned through your years of schooling and allow the story to flow and save the grammar and punctuation for the revisions. 

I believe when writing a family history you have two priorities at least on the first draft,
  1.      Write accurately, making sure, you’re transcribing all your facts from your documents and sources into your storytelling with accuracy.
  2.      Write creatively, you can’t if you are uptight about sentence structures and punctuation. This was the first thing I learned when I started writing. 
In a creative writing class, my  professor pointed out to me my spelling or sentence structure errors when I submitted an article, and I would be devastated and embarrassed.  I still am pretty freaked out if I find an error after I have posted on my blog.

He told me to get over it. It was his job to point it out, but he was more interested in whether, I understood the assignment and if my writing was creative and engaging.  He didn’t want me to spend all my time editing and revising but writing creatively. As well, the more I wrote, the less the technical stuff became an issue. Now, if you’re submitting it for print, then that is another matter, but this first draft is for your eyes only so write with abandon.

One last suggestion for today, don’t get trapped by going back, reading, and rewriting what you wrote the previous day.  Our natural tendencies will be to read yesterday’s words. The next thing you know your allotted time has passed and your word count is the same. You don’t want to spend the next 27 days rewriting the same 250 words repeatedly. Trust me it happens.  Just write.  You will deal with rewrites, and editing later. The purpose of the 28 day format is too continue moving forward so you have a completed body of work at the end of the month. It may not be polished but at the very least, you will have a beginning, a  middle and an end.  

 As we move forward, I will continue to offer you advice for these first few days to stay in your face and keep you on track, as we get further in I’ll drop in on you a couple of times a week. However, the last week, will give it a big push. (I hope you don’t get tired of me.) If you’re doing just fine , don’t be afraid to check in when you need some motivation.

If you want to discuss any concerns, I've opened a discussion at the Armchair Genealogist facebook page where we can exchange our successes and concerns. Leaving a comment here is just fine too.  

There is still time to join The Family History Writing Challenge click here for more information.