Well, by not spending time writing blog posts, obviously.
The manuscript must go to the publisher (for editing) in about week, so the last little while has been just a teensy bit frantic.
I kind of finished working on the text a few weeks ago, and since then I have:
- drawn up a Macarthur family tree (thank you PowerPoint),
- included a list of NSW Governors from 1788-1855 (eg, in Elizabeth Macarthur’s lifetime),
- written an epilogue in which I discuss Elizabeth Macarthur’s legacy and her importance to Australia’s historical view of itself (including very brief biographies for each of her children and grandchildren – a sort of ‘what happened next’, if you like), and
- tidied up and made consistent all the footnotes (now endnotes) and the bibliography.
I’ve also been sourcing images. Naively, I learned upon signing with the publisher that all the images (including copyright permissions, if relevant) have to be sourced and, where necessary, paid for by me. Much daunted, I duly compiled a very long list of all the images I’d quite like to include and then discovered that some institutions are likely to charge me as much as $150 per image. My image list quickly became shorter! Others charge $45. And still others, like the State Library of NSW, charge nothing for digitised images that are out of copyright. Guess where most of my images will be sourced from…
For those of you who enjoy meaningless statistics, the draft manuscript currently has:
- 22 chapters
- 257 pages
- 121,791 words
- 842 endnotes
- 119 works/sources listed in the bibliography
- and a partridge in a pear tree (not really)
And of course, now that I’ve stepped back from the text, I keep thinking of things to add to it. My haphazard To Do list reads roughly as follows:
psychiatrist’s opinion of John Macarthur’s being bipolar(done)
- rum rebellion – more depth
Elizabeth Farm renovation, add letter from EM to her son. ‘The important improvements your dear father mentions’, Elizabeth explained in a letter to Edward, ‘are little other than delusions.’(done)
- ‘Quarrels’ chapter – fix it.
Banks of Parramatta River – no mangroves! (done)
- ending, add EM’s comments about collecting sea shells at Bude and her comments re memories of Bridgerule.
Then all I need do is step back and look at the manuscript as a whole and completely revise and … who am I kidding? As a long time promoter of the saying that finished is better than perfect, perhaps I should start practicing what I preach. And I don’t quite have the chutzpah to imagine that I’ll ever achieve ‘perfect’ anyway, so best get the jolly thing off the editor to see what she thinks of it all.