Research and Writer’s Block

One of the causes of writer’s block is lack of information–you’re blocked because you don’t know what to write.

How do you cure lack of information? Research!

I know that sounds boring and academic, but it doesn’t have to be. All research is about is gaining new insights/information you can use in your writing. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you need to keep your facts straight.

How do you get facts? There are four primary ways:

  1. Look things up. With so much information at our fingertips via the Internet, the problem isn’t so much getting information as it is deciding what information is useful. You’ll want correct spellings of names, the correct sequence of events, correct quotes, etc.  Also be sure you get credibile sources because once you write something as fact, you’re held accountable for that fact by your reader.
  2. Ask people. People know stuff and one of the best ways to get them so share what they know is to ask questions about topics you’re interested in. How do you know who to ask? Brainstorm with yourself and others. For example, ask, “Who do you know who’s interested in…?” or “Who do you know who can tell me about …?”
  3. Make observations. It’s been said that writers are observers of life. Well, so be it. Tune into the world around you and notice what you notice. Jot down your observations. You may even try an experiment or two to see how people react in a specific situation.
  4. Connect with your reference librarian. In my classes, I get on my soapbox about this one. Save a job. Use your reference librarians, for they are a wealth of information–or at least they know where to get information. And, if you’ve never used a reference librarian, you are in for a real treat because these people LOVE what they do and help you beyond your expectations.

If you’re suffering from writer’s block, start researching. The ideas will come faster than you can capture them. The worst thing you can do is nothing because you’re denying your readers the benefit of your good writing. What are you waiting for?

Happy writing!


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