Research Before Writing: How to Not Sound Like an Idiot

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Dear WordPress bloggers and Writers at Large,

I’m an amateur writer. I got my degree in music, not English. But I’m trying to get better at writing, like lots of other bloggers out there hoping to refine their craft. It’s easy to make myself the Queen of deciding how I should improve, but like any worthwhile endeavor, it’s apparently crucial to do some research!

Someone recently told me that sometimes hours of research go into one blog post. Who’da thunk!

My writing style is more personal and reflective. This post is a sort of reflection on how I’m doing with writing, as well as a call to engage my audience, in seeking assistance in ideas. Since I don’t write informative how-to’s or “this is what you should know about such-and-such topic” articles, I started out thinking I could just do this blog thing all by myself, guided by my inner writing spirit. But then I wondered if I was starting to sound like a dummy.

So I started reading, not just writing.

In order to write well, you have to do your research. You’ve got to know a thing or two about what you’re writing about, or at least the form you should be using. In order to not sound like an idiot on my blog, I’ve chosen to immerse myself in reading books, articles, more books, and listening to smart people talk on NPR (so far). If you have any suggestions for what a writer like me should be reading/listening to (podcasts?), the comment box is just below this post. (Help me get better! 🙂 )

Here’s what I’m reading and what’s on my list. By looking at these titles, you might get an idea of the kind of writing that inspires me (memoirs, short stories, theology, psychology… etc.)

I am reading

I hope to read

I would like to keep adding to my list. What kind of research do you do for your posts? What inspires you, challenges you, motivates you and intrigues you to the point that you must write and have the drive to do it well? What resources, books, podcasts, etc. fuel the fire and give you the knowledge you need to write something worth reading?

A preemptive thanks for your thoughts!

-Leslie

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4 thoughts on “Research Before Writing: How to Not Sound Like an Idiot

  1. For my current novel, I’ve spent I don’t even know how many months researching history, current events, dialect, setting, culture and I’m still doing it as I write. I’m an outsider. I probably know Belfast better than my own hometown lol. It has to be done though to be fair, objective, and honest. I feel like I’m becoming a journalist author lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *Realized I didn’t reply to this earlier! WordPress fail.* Sarah, It is so cool to hear from someone so dedicated. I agree with you that any work that’s going to get published needs to be fair, objective and honest. Those are good ideas for me to keep in mind! Thanks for your comment! Good luck on your book!

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  2. One of my favorite books is “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. She is one of my favorite writers, and that book explores writing so it’s a really helpful read for those who want to hone their writing.

    P.S. I enjoy reading your blog!

    Like

    • Annie! It’s so fun to hear from you on WordPress! Thanks for the recommendation – I love Anne Lammott but I’ve never read Bird by Bird. I’ll have to check it out! Good to hear from you. Thanks for reading my blog 😀

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