In this post you will discover my goals for 2015, which include a brand-new endeavor for Uncommonplace Book.
Projects and Goals for 2015
I have 3 major projects and 1 germinating idea that I would like to make significant headway in 2015: My book, podcast, blog, and an experimental project, a public history mastermind.
These projects have been, and will be, vital to my career as an historian, especially as I work with with one foot in academia and the other foot in public history.
Book: America's First Gateway
Project Goal: Compose a solid draft of my entire book manuscript by the end of 2015.
I am still working on revising my dissertation into a book manuscript.
I do not want to be one of those historians who talks about how I am working on my book for the next 5-10 years. I want to finish it and send it to a publisher.
At this point, having a solid draft of the entire manuscript by the end of 2015 seems like an ambitious goal.
I am 9-10 months into the revision process and thus far I have my dissertation and 2 new chapters in very rough form.
My attempts to draft 2 new chapters that explore the cultural development of Beverwyck/Albany between 1614-1725 forced me to acknowledge how little specialized knowledge I have about colonial New Netherland/New York.
I spent 7 months trying to read most of what has been written about colonial New Netherland/New York in an attempt remedy this gap in my knowledge.
Additionally, I spent months working on the Beverwyck chapter trying to fit the entire history of the community into 25-35 pages. After several attempts to accomplish this huge feat, I admitted that I could not do it—historians have written entire books on the subject and barely covered it all.
In 2015, I need to be more selective in terms of the stories I tell, especially when I rework my drafts of chapters 1 and 2.
Although I plan to use these lessons as I push forward with my work, I am still not sure how to answer the question: “How will I accomplish my ambitious goal?”
Rather than agonize over the question, I am plan to start with what I know: I need to develop a serious revisions calendar.
The first item on my calendar will be chapter 4 as I have to have a presentable version of it ready to turn into the Boston Early American History Seminar the first week of February.
From chapter 4, I will work my way back to chapter 3 and forward through chapters 5-8.
Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History
Project Goal: Continue to grow my audience by producing consistent, high-quality content throughout 2015.
Listeners have told me that they enjoy learning about history from the historians I interview and how I let the historians talk. Admittedly, this last bit of feedback is a positive consequence of my still learning how to conduct interviews.
All of my interviewees have told me that they have enjoyed their interview experience. One guest told me that they have seen an uptick in interest and conversation about their book since the release of their episode. Another told me that they appreciated my well-thought-out questions.
I am glad for this positive feedback but I refuse to grow complacent.
I have big plans for “Ben Franklin’s World." I want it to be an inspirational program that inspires people to talk about history and visit more historic sites. To this end, I need to continue to produce high-quality content and grow my audience.
In 2015, I plan to make two changes to Ben Franklin’s World.
First, the podcast will become a weekly program. After the release of episode 10 on December 30, 2014, a new episode of Ben Franklin’s World will release every Tuesday, instead of every other Tuesday.
Second, I will make Ben Franklin’s World more social.
Sometime between January and February, I will introduce a new segment: “Ask an Historian.” Listeners will be able to submit questions either via e-mail, Twitter, or a new Facebook community I intend to build. I will either answer these questions or find an historian who can.
Project Goal: Blog a book about social media for historians.
Thank you for your e-mails, comments, tweets, and in-person comments. I am gratified that my posts have helped you to better navigate your historical studies, research, and writing. I plan to publish similar content in 2015.
Many of your inquiries requested more information about how you could better use social media to promote your work and to interact with other historians.
Ask and you shall receive! I intend to dedicate at least one post per month to exploring the how-tos of social media for historians.
Posts will cover information about individual social media networks as well as tips and tricks for how you can use it to promote and facilitate your history-related research, writing, courses, and historical sites.
The other 2-3 posts that appear each month will continue to offer insight into history, research, writing, and organizational/productivity tips.
Experimental Project: Public History Mastermind
Project Goal: Continue to think about how I can help further the work of public history organizations.
For several years, my brain has been working on ideas about how I can help further the work of public history organizations. In addition to connecting academic and public historians, I would like to facilitate collaboration between public history sites and help these organizations better publicize their activities.
To help my brain speed up its thought process, I intend to feed it more ideas. To this end, I have co-founded a small, public history mastermind in Boston, which will commence meeting monthly on December 18, 2014,
The goal of our meetings will be to help each other find solutions to challenges, foster collaboration among sites, look for opportunities to assist with program promotion, and celebrate the successes each member might have.
Perhaps this group will help my brain better formulate ideas for how I can help ease and promote the work of public history organizations.
Each year I set ambitious goals. I don’t always accomplish what I set out to do, but I always try.
Will I accomplish all I set out to do in 2015?
I don’t know, but I love being an historian and I love a good challenge.
What are your goals for 2015?
Do you have any tips that may help me and others revise their books?