Research is a never ending quest for truth that can morph into a real productivity killer. Still, we love it.
Research is tricky. When I’m doing it I feel like I’m moving mountains, but in reality I’m not creating anything new. My novel’s outline has been in the can for many moons now, but as I plug away at my work in progress I find it difficult to resist this deadly distraction.
For example, last week I decided it was time to tame the beast. To grab it by the horns, and take a real jab at storytelling. You know? The creative writing part of writing a novel. After two business days of no-research-just-writing, I received an email from a woman offering primary source materials that I never knew existed. Scans of 160-year-old letters, photographs, a genealogy I had not seen — it was the mother lode. Before I knew it, I was back in the throes of a habit I thought I had kicked.
I suppose that is the nature of research, right? One good clue leads to another that brings us closer to the truth. But there is another reason why I have a hard time pulling myself away from research: the fact-finding journey is way too much fun.
What do you love most about the research process? How do you resist the urge to continue researching when you should be writing? Please comment. I’d love to hear from you.