A while ago, I committed to my writing groups that I would write 4,000 words per week. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don’t. Regardless, it is a worthy goal.
Recently, though, I have been struggling. It’s not writer’s block. It’s research.
The part of the book I’m working on now includes topics I know little about. I don’t mean to be vague, but I don’t want to give away too much of the story. The point is that I have to do research as I write. I know how the story goes, but I need to include background information about what’s happening.
For example, if I were writing a book that took place in a candy factory, I would need to know something about what happens in a candy factory. I’d need to know how the people there dress, what the temperature there would be, if it is noisy, and more.
Google and Wikipedia are great resources for me right now. I use Wikipedia so much that when they run their fundraising drive, I feel obligated to contribute. I have a vested interest in Wikipedia’s existence.
I also turn to people I know. When I needed to learn about different communities, I was lucky to have colleagues in those cities. Having ‘feet on the ground’ enabled me to add interest to my locales and avoid mistakes that could be obvious and distracting to readers.
I have family members who know about boats and sailing. I turn to them for advice and suggestions. “How long would it take to sail from PLACE to PLACE?” “What would you have to do if THIS happened?”
All this takes time. It slows down my writing. When I did my first draft, I wasn’t particularly concerned about accuracy. I was too busy creating the story. Now I’m filling in the blanks, correcting inaccuracies, and adding details.
4,000 words a week is still my goal, but there are days when I only end up with a few hundred words by the time I do the research and make the necessary changes. Fortunately, my software tracks my daily word count which I record in my planner. Sometimes it gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and other times it frustrates me. But I keep going . . .
Thanks for following the journey! I welcome feedback and suggestions.
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