Writing at a gallop!

Writing at a gallop!

A few weeks ago this blog discussed starting work – or rather not starting work – on a new article concerned with the 1840s business papers of Eastern Cape Settler business woman Harriet Townsend (click here). In the spaces between other things, including writing some intervening blogs, things have happened.

Soon after writing the ‘I can’t write’ blog, suddenly it fell into place, in the sense that I devised a way of structuring the draft article, and then started writing writing writing it. The result still focuses around the three documents mentioned in the earlier blog. It begins by commenting on an 1846 stocktaking document as a route into the scale of Harriet Townsend’s business activities, then goes back to 1842 and a sales register that her Cradock shop kept, then returns to the 1846 stockkeeping, and then looks at 1848 and a financial statement issued by the firm Twentyman’s and her key merchant advisor William James Smith, which summarises business transactions between them for that year. As well as the business dealings themselves, the article uses these documents as a means of bringing much more to the fore the networks of other working women she was connected with, some of them providing the backcloth to her entrepreneurial interests, others of whom were co-producers within her business activities. The result, I hope, will blow the binary mode of ‘separate spheres’ thinking out of the analytical water with regard to Settler women.

Having thought and thought and got nowhere, once the matter of how to devise the structure was settled, the article has almost written itself. Literally, it took three days from start to finish. Yes, editing followed and some changes have subsequently been made. However, a complete workable draft was indeed completed in a few days of concentrated activity. I have an academic journal in mind to send it to, so what remains is ensuring that it fits house-style with regard to referencing et cetera.

And the main thought I am left with is that minds are weird things!

Last updated:  27 June 2019


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