Why did this topic continue to command my attention?

What exactly do you want to know about the topic that is not already known?

Easy, I can answer this… the main reason this topic continues to command my attention is because it is a personal goal for my husband and I to be homesteaders someday.

It also commands my attention because it is more than just a fad that has come back but will soon fade away.  The homestead movement is alive and well.  So much so that there are numerous television and reality shows that follow families to their own personal dream to simplify their life.

It is important to remember, that simplify in many ways is making some things in life less convenient for oneself.  I pose to find out why it is that people are willing to give up their modern amenities in order to simplify their life.  How did we get to a place where convenience is such a hassle?

Due to the fact that the homestead phenomenon is ever present, and has been a recent phenomenon in the last decade, following numerous decades where homesteading was unpopular and look at as a hard and dull life.  Due to the fact that this phenomenon is so new AGAIN, I would like to find out what the main reason is for this lifestyle to come back and wave its beautiful option of freedom in front of us.  I am guessing that some of us get to a point where there are too many conveniences, too many gadgets and too many options out there, that end up making what is supposed to be ease, a rather painful decision.


I am finally to the point where I am confident that the “Homestead Movement” is not only a great topic, but because this is such a new trend again, it makes the topic of why and un-answered question as of yet.






These questions keep me up at night…

These questions keep me up at night… Well, not just these questions.  It is my lack of answers.  My lack of complete focus for the direction of my book proposal.  Here I am, been waiting for an opportunity to make myself focus on an idea and follow through with it through its entirety.

This week, I have been trying to take into consideration the four questions, Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato, authors of, Thinking like Your Editor, ask at every decision about a book idea.

more questions

This week, I have been trying to take into consideration the four questions, Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato, authors of, Thinking like Your Editor, ask at every decision about a book idea.

They are as follows,
1. Does this project have a self-selecting book buying audience?
2. If yes, who makes up that audience?
3. What will this book say of significance to those within the audience?
4. Will this audience, once made aware of this book, go out and buy it?
My idea about, how to homestead, is something I want to stick with. However, in order to qualify as a serious non-fiction piece, I am going to tweak the concept to, The Homestead Lifestyle is on the Rise, something along that nature. I feel that the research would be more focused, on past, present, and future homestead trends. By changing the focus from a how to, or personal journey, to look into why the homestead movement is so strong, not only am I representing the non-fiction genre, I am also able to answer those four very important question listed above with more confidence in my idea.
I am thinking that my audience would be much broader by changing the goal from how-to, to, a more informational, fact -based, trend -based, and based on specific past and  present examples such as how technology and television have added to the audience, and why homesteading trends went down from the 80’s to recent days.   Rabiner and Fortunato have something to say about the audience and how not to make it too specific.  Meaning not to focus on just on group, but choose a topic that make different readers may buy,

“Trade books make every effort not to exclude even one potential reader” (Rabiner & Fortunato).

Fantastic, because my topic, Why the Homestead Trend is on the Rise, has an audience inclusive of numerous groups interested in, off-grid, homestead, self-sufficient lifestyles, farming, historical trends, statistical gurus,.and I could list many more (written with a smile).
The main obstacle I now face is coming up with my a more narrow thesis.  As I go through and try and answer those 4 important questions, sometimes I feel as if my thoughts are going in circles.  There is one question that seems to trip me up, Good old question number 3!!!!

3. What will this book say of significance to those within the audience?

I laugh, because I just had a huge reality check.  My past and even present writing practices will not work for a serious non-fiction book.  I am going to have to be SERIOUS!!! go figure.  No seriously, lol.. sorry, but really, seriously, I usually write in a very unorganized fashion.  Even when I am writing a super long paper for school, many times, I will start on one topic and by the time I am finished the entire thesis has changed.  Sometimes this is due to lack of quality resources.  Or, sometimes, I will be writing the paper, and I will come across something so interesting, so intriguing, that I have to change the topic or thesis just so that I can add that tidbit.  All in all, my writing practices most likely reflect that of a more creative genre.  Where your thoughts are changing with your moods, the weather, the time of day, or just because.

The serious non-fiction genre is going to be challenging for me.  My past experience with non-fiction is academic writing and creative non-fiction.  And, I will brag and say that I have done very well with both.  Especially creative non-fiction.  That is where my audience not only reads a true story, but it can then become a beautiful true story.  The difference is Serious vs. Creative.  I need to try and figure out how I can use my creative strength and still be SERIOUS.

So, now that I have organized my thoughts a bit more (the paragraphs above, yes, that is organized thinking for me, or more like a self-advising writing/talking therapy session), I am still stuck with QUESTION #3!!

3. What will this book say of significance to those within the audience?

I guess I answered some other questions for myself, but did not come up with an answer for this one yet.

What I am thinking…

Do I just write on trends, the cause and effect?

What is it that I am trying to prove or say with this book?

When someone finishes the book, what do I want them to think about?

Do I add in a main character?

Follow a specific person’s path to homesteading?
So many questions to consider. I am confident in the direction I am going. I just feel like my ideas are all in creative thinking mode and not organized or well thought out. Research is the next step for me. Figuring out a trend or interesting consistency in the research may help me find my main point.

But, to answer the question before I dive into the World Wide Web and research, and I am not committing to this, at least not 100%, until I am satisfied with some research questions I have.

3. What will this book say of significance to those within the audience?

My answer…

This book will say to the audience that although modernization, like technology occurred to make life easier for our society, it does not always mean life is simpler.  The desire to simplify ones life is part of human nature.

more thoughts….

I don’t know anyone that embraces new or more problems.  Nothing is perfect, and everything comes with its problems.

With modernization our society has lost the simple things in life.

Lastly, I am going to end this post with something to ponder….

Now that we have a good 50 plus years of technology we can also see the effects it has had.  Here is an example, we used to ride horses, now we drive cars.  The car was invented for many reasons, one of them being to simplify life by being able to get around much quicker, dryer, and safer.  right?????  However, now that cars have been around long enough for scientific research, and medical research to be recorded and have quantitative and qualitative results we see that there are also many down sides to cars.  Accidents, drunk driving, eye problems, NOT TO MENTION, EMISSIONS!!! BAD ON THE ENVIRONMENT…



wait, what?

I am so glad that our text this semester Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Forunato, is not only interesting, but actually filled with VERY useful information.  Having not published a book myself, the mystery of the publication process scares me.  As most unknown’s do to most of us.  I have read web-sites, articles, and numerous texts on publication.  This one actually spells out most of the process that I have been left wondering at the end of many of my writing classes.

Taking into consideration a quote from the introduction,

“to use language precisely, manage data sufficient in size and persuasive enough in content to support an interesting thesis, advance and defend that thesis through reasoned and reasonable argument, and to embed that argument in a dramatic and paced narrative so that the reader stays with the book through the final chapter” (Rabiner and Forunato)

I have started to second guess my first idea.  I asked myself can I do all of the above with my chosen to topic.  And, I came up short.  At least at this stage in my writing career.

I guess, in my opinion or my thoughts as of now, I need a topic that I am more familiar with.  I understand I don’t need to be the expert NOW in the field.  However, I need to be willing to become the expert on the topic of my choice.

So, I went back and forth, and came up with a topic that involves myself (which I am an expert in).

For the entire life of my marriage, my husband and I have had a goal to go off grid, become self-sufficient, grow our own food, enjoy the land, and the beauty it has to offer.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to do this because of finances, and well, we have not researched enough to make it happen successfully.

I am thinking the topic of my serious non-fiction book, will now be on how to successfully conquer this goal.  I think by adding my personal path to off grid living, I can create a thesis and narrative that readers will stick with.

Obviously the audience would be other in search of off grid living, which this day and age, holds a pretty high count of interested individuals.

I must thank the authors of Thinking Like Your Editor , Rabiner and Fortunato, for the straight talk.  As writers, I think most of us have dozens of GOAL manuscripts, but, not all of them are the BEST choices for the writers.