Today’s the last day of November. Advent starts in two days; classes end in four days (for me, anyhow); and today DigiWriMo is ending.
So, what was DigiWriMo like for me?
Maybe I should start with how I did on my goals.
Goal #1: Completed. All officer bios on Preble’s Boys are completed.
Goal #2: Mostly completed. In the last few days, I did slack off. Bad Abby. But I got a fair number up.
Goal #3: Technically completed. I didn’t do the intensive reflection I was intending. But that’s ok. I wrote some other pretty good blog posts.
I purposely didn’t tax myself all that far for this DigiWriMo. This is my first semester in grad school in a long time, and I wasn’t sure how much time my projects would take down the stretch. In retrospect, that was probably a wise decision.
Nevertheless, I did reap some rewards from doing DigiWriMo.
Because of the rapidity with which I wrote the officer bios, I saw some connections and similarities that I feel certain I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. In addition, the group has started to really cohere as a unit for me; before this month I viewed them as individuals who were just arbitrarily grouped together (although I do still think their grouping is somewhat arbitrary).
I also gained an appreciation for other people’s amazing work that they wrote about for DigiWriMo. I feel somewhat more connected to the DH community than I did before DigiWriMo, even if it’s a somewhat one-way connection for now.
Because I spent so much time in the blogosphere and on my Omeka site this month, when a speaker at Northeastern mentioned the possibility of doing a department-based group blog, I jumped at the idea. Thanks in part to DigiWriMo, we successfully launched Global History in the Digital Age in the middle of the month. This blog’s authors are members of Northeastern University’s history department, and we’re writing about things that we’re doing in history right now, digital or not. (Please read and follow!)
Global History in the Digital Age is giving some members of my cohort the chance to get their ideas out on the Web without having to deal with the admin stuff of running a blog. So DigiWriMo did something for not just me but also at least four (right now) people in my department. (Since I started the blog, I think I should get DigiWriMo credit for all of the posts on it right now–just kidding. )
I’m sure the makers of DigiWriMo will be making structural changes to the event for next year (though mad props to them for a really fantastic month of writing!). For myself, there are a few things I’d like to do or see done for next year.
1. I’d like to see more historians participating. Perhaps I just wasn’t looking in the right place, but I seemed a bit like a horse among a herd of zebras.
I’ll probably be proselytizing DigiWriMo next year several months in advance of November. I’d love to see some of my cohort at Northeastern participate. Now that we have our blog up and running, they have the platform to do the writing.
2. I’d like to do more substantive collaboration with other historians. This follows from No. 1, of course. I enjoyed participating in the opening-day collaborative poem and the collaborative novel, but I’m not that much of a creative writer like that. (I still need pen and paper to do most of my creative writing.) But I would love to see some serious historical research collaborations.
More historians would also be nice for the Twitter discussions, since the types of digital writing that might be discussed would be different from the literature-types’ writing.
3. Next year, I’m doing 50,000. You can hold me to that.
Total word count for the month (not counting FB and Twitter words): 13,800 words