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.
I want you to know that you have so many stories. You have so many stories on the inside of you. I want you to be brave enough to look for them. This week, during the second week of Back To Writing Month, I want you to find what is brewing in your mind and go after it.
I want you to seek it out.
Don’t shy from it.
Get at the story. Chase it. Don’t let it get away this time.
I love new projects. I love the excitement of them. I love when fire comes through fingertips as a new thing is being formed. That is the magic of any and all drafts.
This is what writer’s chase.
What I think is the most devastating thing is when you have an idea for a work, and won’t even try to see where it will go. It may be a hang up, it may be confidence, but don’t ever think that it should be discarded! Your thoughts are valuable. Your talent belongs to you.
Do not tell the work “No.”
Not everything will be a novel, this much is true. Not every story will become a short story, or even see eyes other than yours. But, how do you know this, if you don’t write it down? How do you know if you haven’t allowed the idea to grow or bloom from the pages? You can’t remember everything!
Say ‘Yes’ to the work.
Saying ‘yes’ to the work requires you to surrender to what you don’t understand fully–which is the breadth of your talent. The depth of it. Following ideas even when they may be uncomfortable. Even if that means you follow it to a comfy stopping point. Even when you write to your level of time and comfort to put away the work. Until you have time to pick it up again.
Say ‘yes’ to the stories yet to be told.
Say ‘yes’ to the stories you are already working on.
Say ‘yes’ to the things you’re even scared to write!
But don’t give in to the doubt that wishes to drown you. Don’t listen to the thoughts that tell you to stop and abandon all hope of success. Let me tell you a secret: sometimes the success is just to start.
Writing is one of those careers that is both static and dynamic.
The latest thing that I have come across my desk is the idea of morning pages. I had heard of this concept, or writing exercise from a YouTuber I have followed for years now (Shira: SugarFreeTV/SynchoncityStudios/VisionClass. If you haven’t followed her or heard of her, she is a gem!). She was going this free (FREE!) YouTube hosted class, Vision Class, and she introduced this concept. This was about 3-4 years ago. The idea, the purpose for this, is to write as the first thing when you get up.
The ideal is to create, pour out if you will, whatever is on your head.
Now, this is not a practice a lot of writers that I know implement. I journal, and have on and off since I was bout 8 or 9. Morning pages is alike a heightened form of journaling. It’s stream of consciousness–whatever is on your head–no feelings necessarily involved.
For some writers it could be assumed this will help clear your head. Clean the slate for the day ahead. I get that. It’s a tool. Every writer needs tools. What works for one doesn’t work for another, and that is the glory of writing. Use it if you can; if you can’t, it’s rubbish. Writing is a discipline. Remember that–we can use all the help we can get.