When to stop researching and start writing?

Good afternoon from the Northwest!

OK, I have identified a serious personality weakness of mine….I love the research but I am less wild about the writing!  So a little discipline is necessary.  Check out Michael Hait’s comment on this blog about “passion” and the confines of the client request.  In response to that comment I went back and read my contract and what I said I would do.  I agreed to work on my client’s Jens T. Dahle family line but it was a little vague. Here are the components of what I said!  (Michael, you were so right!)

  1. “to investigate and report on your great grandfather, Jens T. Dahle, of Waseca County, Minnesota, his family and his ancestors and those of his wife, your great grandmother, Anna Oline (nee Seim) Dahle.”
  2. to produce a graphic narrative “This graphic narrative will be similar to what I have published of my ancestors with limited citations.”
  3. to also produce a lineage report: “The lineage report will be fully documented three generation ascending lineage report starting with Jens T. Dahle, adhering to approved citation and reporting standards.”

I have been very busy this past weekend working on Jens T. Dahle.  So busy that I have his lineage back about 5 generations.  While I stopped myself from checking out all the siblings, I have got both his line the three generations I said I would in the contract as well as his wife’s, Anna Oline.  So it appears that it is now time to stop researching and start writing the lineage report and start the graphic narrative.

An interesting development is that while the report for certification will include the Civil War information about Jens, I have decided to also use Jens T. Dahle’s Civil War experience in the Lincoln General Hospital (LGH) as the topic of the report for my class.  This paper will be about the development of nursing as a profession.  It became more visible as a profession at the time of the Civil War (think Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix) and so there is quite a bit of information available.

It is important to note that these two documents will be very differently focused.  The one for the client (and certification) will be about Jens T. Dahle and include his Civil War experiences.  The paper for the class will be about the history of nursing and bring in the intersection of that with Jens’s experiences in the hospital.  Note:  Clara Barton was at the battlefield of at least 3 of his battles after he got out of LGH.  The latter is due after I have the report for my client completed.

So, I am back to writing but still have some great resources coming my way that I have ordered.

Happy Hunting!


What I have worked on since the last post:  I have read a book called Norway to America: a History of the Migration and done a lot of parish and census work for the various parishes of Norway associated with Jens and his wife Anna.  I have started bibliography and a Research Log (should have started earlier!) for both Norway and US for Jens.  I ordered the latest Stephen Oates book on Women of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War and done a lot of “noodling” around the internet finding resources on nursing, Norway, migration etc.  I also took pictures for 3 researchers wanting tombstone pics for FindaGrave.


3 comments on “When to stop researching and start writing?

  1. Old Jules says:

    Tough call. It hits again when the time comes to decide when to quit re-writing and call it a day with a finished final draft. It ain’t often easy and it ain’t often fun.

  2. Like you, writing is my road block…. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

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