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...

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Book Writing Rules

[April 2012]
In March 2012, I learnt the wonderful news that I’d been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship of £101,000, in order to give me a year’s research leave in which to finish writing Elusive Church.

This means that I now have an eighteenth-month stretch of writing time stretching out ahead of me – a great privilege in a busy academic job, a source of real excitement, a big responsibility, and also a rather daunting prospect. Writing a complete monograph on an extended period of leave is the intellectual equivalent of a marathon. One of the big challenges is keeping your mind clear and your spirits up, so that you can write well and at the necessary pace. I’m trying to learn from some of the big mistakes I made when writing my first book, so I’ve written myself 7 rules for book-writing, and put them prominently on a shelf next to my desk.

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