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...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A book in a folder

After a productive time in Weymouth, this week I decided that the moment had come to create a ‘draft monograph’ folder, i.e. a ring-binder with coloured cardboard dividers, which houses each chapter as it is drafted.

When I was writing my thesis, I had a battered purple lever-arch file into which I reverently slotted each chapter as, month by month, they rolled off the production line. Yesterday,  I stood over the Somerville Fellows’ printer, watching the machine spit out three draft chapters of Elusive Church on fresh, hot sheets, and feeling pleasantly taken aback at how much of the book already exists.

The monograph ring binder is a big step, the point at which the ‘virtual’ book which exists in your head, and in scattered electronic files all over your computer, begins to take on a tentative physical form. With all its immaculately printed pages, it is the monograph in embryo… something which is starting to resemble (if Kindle users will forgive me) a ‘real’ book. 

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