I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks working on my book, which is due to go to the publishers, Routledge, in the autumn.  The first task was to apply for some money to pay for a few high quality images and the rights to use them, and I’m still waiting to hear about that.  Then there was the task of looking again at the rest of the images, primarily to decide which ones I could afford to lose in order to reduce the number to the required level, but also to try to find manuscript sources that I could transcribe for some of the tunes.  Rather than get rid of lots of musical figures, I decided to combine the manuscript transcriptions with a vocal line and lyrics, which has proved to be a good way of bringing the numbers down to manageable proportions.

Of course, I have also had to spend time addressing the issues that the readers raised – nothing was particularly dramatic, but there seemed to be a lot of it.   At first, I was a bit overwhelmed.  After all, it wasn’t something I’d ever had to do before and I didn’t feel like I knew where to start.  I spent an entire day tinkering with bits and putting them back how they were, basically procrastinating.  I was trying to avoid acknowledging my anxiety.  By the end of the day I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and I had to ring my fiend for advice on how to deal with it.

The answer was to spend the following day breaking down the readers’ reports into their constituent parts and making it into a list that I could tick off.  I even added in some of the things that I knew I wanted to do but hadn’t managed to get to.  It was about 50 items long, ranging from the sublime (looking again at my entire theoretical framework, for example, with a view to making it more my own) to the ridiculous (checking specific little details such as checking that individual footnotes hadn’t wandered away from their point in all the rewrites).  My fiend’s further advice was to start with some of the little ones, so that I knew I was underway.

It seemed to work.  Once I’d got started and ticked a few things off, I felt a lot better. Actually, I didn’t just tick them off, I put a big squiggly crossing-out line through them too, which was much more satisfying, as well as making a note of how I’d approached the changes where necessary.  By the second or third day I was able to tackle some of the bigger things, and I’m well on the way now to having it all ready.

Now most of it just depends on the out come of the grant application…