Moving Forward; Weekly Log 9/20 to 9/25

For the first time in two weeks, I’m not doing any writing today. I’m happy to say that yesterday I finished a draft of Chapter 1. It is by no means polished; it needs a bunch of footnotes added; and it needs a few fairly significant interpretive paragraphs plugged in here and there (which there is room for, since it stands now at just over 8,000 words). But still, it’s a finished chapter draft.

Today and tomorrow I’m going to dedicate to reading and notes for the 1st half of Chapter 2, which will present an overview of 1803 New Orleans (or as I call it, New Orleans in the Age of Laussat). I’m also going to take a little time to work up a draft outline for the entire dissertation, even though it will necessarily get rather vague as it goes on; it will still help me as I move forward to have some sort of overall skeletal structure in my mind, subject to change and many revisions, of course.

Next week (a four-day week, since we are moving into our new house on Friday the 1st) I will write the 1st half of chapter 2, and the following week I may do one day for notes and reading, then do the narrative of Laussat’s ups and downs overt the summer of 1803 the rest of that week (so, by Friday October 8th). The following week I’ll do Laussat’s brief reign in December 1803, the transfer of power to the Americans, and the conclusion to Chapter 2 (so really, the overview of the city is one-third, the Laussat narrative is one-third, and the transfer and conclusion is one-third). I will have a draft Chapter 2 by October 15th.

Then, I will polish up Chapters 1 and 2 together. This will include: printing and reading the chapters over, a couple times; polishing and tweaking all prose; checking footnotes and adding missing or incomplete ones; and adding in the interpretive paragraphs that are still missing. This should only take a couple days; then I will send the chapters to Sean, Peter, and Mark, my only 3 readers for the present. The rest of that week I will do notes and review my research to start Chapters 3, 4, and 5, which I will begin October 25th, and have finished by Thanksgiving or the week after.

If I manage that, I may give myself a week off, dedicated to — music? Other kinds of reading? Time playing with kids? All of the above? — and then start fresh on Chapter 6, which should deal with 1806, the Burr Conspiracy, and the rapprochement and resolution of the “early crisis” of 1804-1805.

I had lunch with Peter yesterday and explained I wouldn’t give him anything to read until I had a decent Chapter 1 and 2, and he was fine with that. I’ve explained the same thing to Mark already, and should send Sean a progress email soon, as well.

Finally, happy birthday to little Lo who turns 4 today!

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