To begin writing-for-thinking, I created two documents, one for analytic brainstorming, and one for what I called source narration–writing about my primary sources.
To begin writing-for-thinking, I created two documents, one for analytic brainstorming, and one for what I called source narration–writing about my primary sources.For about a month, I added things to both documents.It was hard to incorporate a lens onto the evidence when I didn’t have it in mind when I first chose and wrote about the sources. I broke the ice and enjoyed the first part of the writing process.
I now had to figure out what the analytic through-line could be and weave that into the text.
This meant lots of reorganizing and rewriting the introduction and conclusion.
I wrote in full sentences, completely cited my sources, and organized the evidence into categories.
But I didn’t expect any of the text I produced to be my chapter.
I chose a moment and told the story, then drawing in other primary sources that I felt helped explain this original anecdote.
I developed the structure as I added more and more primary sources.
As I read sources carefully, I realized that the argument wasn’t quite working.
I changed the introduction and then went back to analyzing more sources.
Once I had written all the sections–first the body sections, then the chapter introduction and conclusion–I finally put them all together.
I removed some redundancies, and added a few things that seemed to be missing as the whole coalesced from the parts.