Thursday, January 31, 2013

Online research can be a pain in the neck... literally

After months of only using my computer sporadically for email and catching up with friends on facebook, yesterday's endeavor to organize one ancestor's documentation and draft a timeline caused my neck to begin stiffening up toward the evening.

That is how it always starts. And if I ignore it and continue on like this for a few more days, one morning I will wake up, turn my head, and hear that familiar crack as pain radiates from my neck to my extremities. It's happened before. Several times.

Sitting in front of the computer for hours on end, every day for days on end, whether working or researching, it always happens to me if I don't force myself to take breaks. The eye strain headaches are bad enough, but a compressed nerve realigns your priorities with early morning shock therapy treatments.

I have strategies for bringing the pain of a compressed nerve down to a bearable level. A hot shower on fire hose setting directed at the source of the pain does wonders for up to 30 minutes. Ibuprofen. Alternating heat for circulation, and cold packs for numbing.

But that first initial lightning strike through my nervous system when I take my first step in the morning... that special kind of hell is still fresh in my mind despite the fact that it's been about two years since the last time it happened.

So the logical thing to do here, of course, is pace myself and take regular breaks. I know it's going to slow down my progress, and I may not even have my outline done before the Family History Writing Challenge is over. But I'm setting a timer on my phone for 30 minutes every time I sit down at the computer.

And there it goes now. Time to do some laundry.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

FHWC: I'm in, but way behind

The Family History Writing Challenge, in case you haven't already heard, is a 28 day project to motivate genealogy researchers to put their family's story down in writing. Though I'm a little late in getting my research organized, I am going to at least do the best I can to get started writing before the end of February.

So, I've chosen an ancestor to focus on. I decided to go with Joseph Ben Nowell because I actually tried to sit down and write up a little history on him a few years back for some cousins who were interested. He is my ggg grandfather, and could easily be the oldest relative we have actual photographs of.

After gathering all of my documentation into one place this morning, I wrote up a timeline of his life in Notepad. I included the source citations for each fact in my timeline for convenience later. That took the better part of the day because I had to go back and look up the proper citations for census records I had downloaded from FamilySearch and HeritageQuest Online.

I'm missing some documentation too, but one of my cousins will be mailing it to me soon. My next step will be to add historical events to his timeline. I'm not sure how long that is going to take, but it will give me a better feel for what his life was really like.

I haven't even set a word count (probably 500, but we'll see) because I know I'm not going to be ready to start writing on Friday. I still need to determine how I want to write it, and get an outline drafted. So, I'll be getting a late start when it comes to the actual writing, but maybe I'll be able to stick with it through March.

Anyone else out there taking the Family History Writing Challenge? Am I the only one too far behind to get started writing on February 1st?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...