Writing Tips: Don’t Let Difficulties With Research Hold Back Your Writing jane sandwood

Writing Tips: Don’t Let Difficulties With Research Hold Back Your Writing

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” ~Robert Benchley~ Click To Tweet


By Jane Sandwood

04/12/2018

Do you ever reach a point where you feel you know enough about the subject you’re writing about? Whether it’s a novel set in the midst of the French revolution or a high school essay on geology, it’s a question which many writers often have to deal with. In fact, it’s rhetorical: you can never really know everything! What’s important is combining your research with something which makes your work interesting and exciting to your readers. After all, as Albert Einstein may or may not have said, “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?”. You can find inspiration in all kind of random places, even a lemonade stand, so don’t let the fact you might not know everything about the turn of the century Argentina stand in your way. Here are a few simple tips to get you going.

you can never really know everything! What’s important is combining your research with something which makes your work interesting and exciting to your readers. Click To Tweet

Use the internet – with caution!

The internet can be a great starting point for any keen researcher. Susanna Calkins, historian-turned-novelist, notes that sometimes it can seem like there’s nothing the internet can’t answer. The World Wide Web can be a treasure trove of the smallest niche, anything from when the Battle of Hastings took place to the location of every airplane currently in flight.

On the other hand, using the internet can only get you so far. If you’re starting to use the internet as the basis of your research and to cite key facts in your fiction or non-fiction work, it’s worth cross-referencing what you’ve found online with other, more reliable sources. These can include good quality reference books from your local library, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, primary sources such as personal letters or artifacts like furniture. A good trick with the popular but potentially unreliable information source, Wikipedia, is to follow the citations at the end of each article. These are great places to look for information on your specific topic.

Know who you’re writing for

Another really important thing for any aspiring writer is to get to know your audience intimately. To create content of any kind, you need to know what makes them tick. Ask yourself questions like their age, what they do for a living, and what their hobbies and interests might be. This is not only important to your writing itself, but it will also direct what kind of research you’re doing. If you have a research plan in mind, when you get to the writing stage, the gaps in your knowledge will be a lot easier to fill.

Another really important thing for any aspiring writer is to get to know your audience intimately. Click To Tweet

The search for research

Being careful with the internet and thinking about your target audience could seem like pretty obvious advice, but in reality, when you get super focused on the writing you’re producing, it can be easy to overlook how you’re conducting your research. The research will never be the center of your writing; your voice will, however, that doesn’t mean it’s something which isn’t vital to any composition.



Jane Sandwood

Benefits Of Reading For Writers  two drops of ink

Bio:

Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and editor with over 10 years’ experience working across many fields. When Jane isn’t writing, she is busy spending time with her family. She also enjoys music, reading and travelling whenever she can.

Jane Sandwood is widely published. You can Google her name for more of her work. 

Published on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Benefits Of Reading For Writers 

2) Does Having a High IQ Make You a Good Writer?

3) Finding Writing Inspiration In The Present And The Past


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4 comments

  1. […] https://twodropsofink.com/2018/04/12/writing-tips-dont-let-difficulties-with-research-hold-back-your… “Do you ever reach a point where you feel you know enough about the subject you’re writing about? Whether it’sa novel setin the midst of the French revolution or a high school essay on geology, it’s a question which many writers often have to deal with. In fact, it’s rhetorical: you can never really know everything! What’s important is combining your research with something which makes your work interesting and exciting to your readers. After all, as Albert Einstein may or may not have said, “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?”. You can find inspiration in all kind of random places, even a lemonade stand, so don’t let the fact you might not know everything about the turn of the century Argentina stand in your way. Here are a few simple tips to get you going.” I know I worry when I can’t find a lot of info on places or subjects whether I should write the story. I have done so with TGW, but I will go back in-depth for what I can find to verify things. […]

  2. It is true that research can become overwhelming and you can never do enough. There is always that extra piece of information to find. What is important is knowing when to stop. I was on the final edit of a piece this week when I discovered something had not been researched, so it is also true that it is never too late to research a point.

  3. Good post, Jane.

    While many would think doing the research distracts from the artistic side of writing, it’s critical for achieving authenticity. While I was working for five years on my memoir, I was constantly doing research. It’s not something you do up-front and are done with it.

    Wikipedia is a good source to start with – as long as you double-check their facts. I found that some of their articles were pretty solid. Others not so much.

    Perhaps one of the best sources I was lucky enough to have was a collection of letters my mom wrote to her parents during WWII when she was in the Marine Corps. I’m so grateful I have them.

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