Well, the new book has arrived! The project was first sketched out in December 2002, when I was part-way through writing my first book, and I started in on it in earnest in October 2003 after The British Barbershopper had been packed off to Ashgate for publishing. The first year consisted of bibliographical groundwork, and then I started visiting choirs in rehearsal in September 2004. I put together a book proposal over summer 2005, and finally got the contract agreed with Ashgate in spring 2007.
At that time, I also made an application to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for research leave to write the book up. That would have given me 8 months to write 90,000 words - 4 months funded externally, and 4 months provided by my own institution. Did you know that it is possible to have a funding application rated as 'highest priority for funding' and still turned down? Fortunately, Birmingham Conservatoire still honoured the 4 months they had offered as part of the funding bid, so I compressed my schedule and knuckled down to writing from December 2007-March 2008.
I worked an average of 7 hours a day - which sounds like quite light work, until you remember that this is doing nothing except working on the book - no phone calls, no emails, no chatting while you make a coffee. Call me a wuss, but 7 hours a day is about all I can sustain of really intensive intellectual work. I had a complete draft by 7 March, at which point I had averaged 1,564 words per working day.
I spent 42.95% of my time on research leave actually writing, nearly 20% of the time processing ideas (planning chapters, organising evidence, getting stuff figured out so I could write about it), and nearly as much on presentational things (footnotes, copy-editing, tables and figures). 11.3% of the time was spent working on the video material for the accompanying DVD and 3% on admin (such as maintaining these nose-bleedingly detailed records of my working patterns, and backing everything up daily). Just over 4% of the time was spent on non-book activities, including supervising research students and attending a staff research event at the Conservatoire.
And to celebrate the publication, I thought I'd share with you the list of typos I compiled during the course of the four months of writing. These were not the only typos I made (ahem), but these are the ones that made me laugh out loud at what appeared on my computer screen as I attempted to create something that made sense. (I realise that, if this is the kind of thing I find entertaining, I should get out more - but if I'd have got out more, I wouldn't have got the damn book written, okay?)
- wee (for we)
- Triped (for triple)
- Pervy (for Percy)
- Dong (for doing)
- about a minute and a quartet
- metaphoric matting
- wimply, dimply (trying for simply)
If you'd like to see any of these words spelt correctly, you are most welcome to purchase the book!