Finished (another) course!

I am very relieved to have finished the short OU course I’ve been doing. Start Writing Family History has helped me find lots of new resources and sources of family history information. However, I am not sure it has helped much with my writing skills. Part of the first assignment was to write a plan for the second assignment. I thought I had my head round what the second assignment was about and tried to show that, but tutor’s feedback implied I had misunderstood. This kind of put me off the whole thing, and it was difficult to motivate myself.

Consequently, the second assignment was put-off until it was too late to do a proper job and I didn’t focus properly – either on the question or the way I said I was going to answer it (by focussing on migration). Also, the tutor’s feedback pointed out the difference between writing family history academically and writing it for relatives of those being written about. I want to write family history as part of genealogy/family history research for others, and perhaps earn some money in the process, so this distinction was not encouraging – ie the course was not going to help me in the way I wanted it to.

I will carry on writing and researching, and now at least I have the resources to delve into family history much more deeply (although not the funds, unfortunately); there are plenty of alternative resources about how to write about it. There is another distance learning course (five independent ‘modules’) run by Cambridge University, which I would really like to do, but I can’t justify the expense, especially as I probably know some of the information already; the module on maps and surveys for family history would be particularly interesting for me.

The most important thing if I want to write, is to read – I want to read and I need to find the time to do it. There are various distractions, and I generally find that when I finish one book I don’t know what to read next and it takes me ages to get back into reading. When I do have a book I’m reading, I usually do so in bed before I go to sleep. If it’s a really good book, I’ll also read in the bath, and even lounging decadently on the sofa during the day!

It would be good if I could read books as fast as I can buy them! I love bookshops. There is an especially good one in Ely, Topping Books (who also have a shop in Bath). It is a great place to while away the hours (in Ely, three floors of books stacked everywhere, plus free tea and coffee!) – ideally followed by tea and cake at Peacocks Tearoom! It would be great to visit all the bookshops in the Guardian’s list: 10 of the best: Secondhand bookshops, especially as they’re all in such great locations, and have such inviting exquisite-looking atmospheres.

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