What I want you to remember as Month 4 of this process ends, is that writing will require you to chase your imagination. It will require you honoring your intellectual curiosity, and be willing to have a certain amount of walking around (working) knowledge.
Now, what do I mean when I say walking around or working knowledge? This is a set of information that you have independent of other outside research or knowledge. These are just things you know because you have experience them, learned of them, or even went to school to learn. Since you know these things, research is not paramount to your writing–it is a back up!
Lydia King is a writer, and a doctor. When she wrote Opium and Absinthe, she had the medical knowledge to write about the pain her protag was experiencing and even the reason why. Yet, due to the setting of the story, she still had to research what would make the setting accurate! You cannot get away from research: it is only the amount that you must research!
Reading is the cheapest way to feed that working knowledge. Feed your head–keep reading. Your imagination will thank you.
This is a group of at least three sources that you go to verify, authenticate, and secure the information that you funnel your information through. These sources need to be legit as well! No open sources!
One of my favorite people to follow on social media (read: TikTok), is George Lee (TikTok: @consciouslee). He has this quote that I ascribe to: “Research over Me-search“. As a writer, I cannot agree with this more! There is a portion of writing that deals with, even requires, that you allow your imagination to run! It requires that your creative prowess be at its absolute peak in order to create the work or world you want.
Don’t think of research as drudgery: it isn’t! Think of research as brick and mortar for a work. It is an essential part of working on a project. Research has a dual power–foundation for your imagination, and ‘sturdiness’ for your reader. The more accurate and detailed you make a story, the more believable your story! Details are what draw your reader in! Don’t skimp on them!
When you start a new project, especially if fiction or non-fiction, a degree of its creation is powered by your talent, the other is a degree of research. The amount and depth of research depends on the need of the story. It is always better to have a wealth of research before you start, than to stop your momentum in order to research.
Now, here is the tricky part!
Sometimes the story (especially, fiction!) will take you points where research can only help! It could be a street map, a globe, airport codes, or even local history–research matters! Think of it as another way to fuel the fire of the story. Research is snacking for your imagination! So forth and explore the worlds outside your own head!
Research Tip #1:
Label your research! This can be bookmarks or a digital file, but label them! This way your work won’t be lost and can be easily organized.