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Being a Writer is Being a Researcher

If you’re Googling the most trivial things – you’re not alone!

Forgetting the most superficial things and struggling to Google them is something we go through every day. Researching is an integral part of writing. Even if you’re writing about something you’ve spent years learning, there is that lingering doubt in the back of your mind, urging you to double-check.

What if I was wrong? So you log back onto your computer and look up something you’ve known for years… just to make sure. While it is easy to write about personal experiences, it is still important to make sure you get the tiniest details accurate. You cannot base your story in Ancient Rome and not know how their plumbing worked. This is when research is necessary.

1. Read Everything

The key thing to know when doing your own research is that you will come across a lot of unnecessary information. But it is important you read everything in order to figure out what you need. In a world dominated by the internet, it is never quite difficult to find all the facts you need… jumbled in with all the false information and rumours and assumptions. If the writer cannot cite any credible sources for where they got their facts from, it would be safer not to trust them.

2. Note down what you think will be important

As you read articles upon articles, you get everything mixed up. You no longer remember where you got a particular fact from, in case you ever needed to elaborate on it. Therefore, write down everything you think will come in handy; bookmark the web pages or email them to yourself. 

3. Avoid info-dumping

Just because you know how the plumbing system worked in Ancient Rome, doesn’t mean your readers need to know it unless it’s necessary for your plot. The purpose of knowing the smallest details of the world you’re creating is to give it an underlying richness that your readers will definitely pick up.

Info-dumping is a very real problem. While it is fascinating for the writer to know everything, readers might find it akin to a history lesson. As an avid reader, I know many authors who get carried away with all the cool things they know.

What should you do when you forget a word?

You’re on a roll, your fingers blurring with the speed of your typing, when you forget an important word. Your flow of thought is interrupted as you wrack your brains trying to recall it. You can describe the word but you don’t know what the word is.

That is exactly when sites like Tip of My Tongue come in handy. They let you describe the word, or tell them what letters the word has, and then give you guesses.

There are countless tools and resources online for writers. You no longer have to spend hours in the library, reading pages and pages of boring books. You can merely filter your search results and find exactly what you want. This is what being a writer is like: reading a ton of things that will most probably never be used in what we write.

May 28, 2021

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