IWSG: My Secret Weapon

We writers are a diverse lot. We approach writing with different goals and objectives. We have different styles. We use different tools. Some of us have secret weapons. Today, I’m going to share my secret weapon with all of you.

My02 You Fool

But first: April was a pretty good month for me. I did a totally awesome interview with Sue Archer at Doorway Between Worlds. We touched on a number of things, but mostly we talked about sciency research.

This was an eye-opening experience for me. Like the proverbial frog who doesn’t realize the water around him is gradually coming to a boil, I never realized how much research has come to permeate every aspect of my writing life. I’ve become a research-oriented type of writer.

And this is where my secret weapon enters the story. It’s called Google Scholar. A few of you may be nodding your heads, but I’m guessing more of you have never heard of this particular resource before. For a long time, I didn’t know about it; now, I can’t imagine life without it.

Google Scholar is basically Google with a twist. Rather than searching the entire Internet—including all the political rants, conspiracy theories, and “simple tricks” for weight loss that make the Internet such a special place—Google Scholar zeroes in on academic publications and academic publications alone.

That’s not to say Google Scholar is flawless. It’s only as good as the publications it searches, and not all academic journals are created equal. Even the best peer-reviewed journals make errors.

But if you’re a research-oriented writer—like I apparently have become—this is a resource that can really help you find the kind of reputable sources of information you need.

So there you have it. I’ve revealed my secret weapon. Well, one of them.

My02 Operation Sassafras

So fellow writers, now it’s your turn. What’s your secret weapon?

* * *

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a bloghop where insecure writers like myself can share our anxieties, offer advice and encouragement, and sometimes give out tips to help us all get better at this writing thing.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, M.J. Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris. Click here to sign up and to see a full list of participating blogs.

15 Responses to IWSG: My Secret Weapon

  1. I’ll have to check Google scholar again. BTW, have you heard of sci-hub? It’s apparently in wide use throughout academia, even among researchers who have access to traditional subscriptions.

    I don’t have a secret weapon yet. Maybe that’s my problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diane Burton says:

      Thanks for sharing sci-hub. Looks like a great place for research.

      Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      Sci-Hub looks useful. Google Scholar helps me find stuff, but since I’m not part of an academic institution, I still get stuck by paywalls. Really, really high paywalls. It’s a big problem for a lot of people who want to learn more about science (and other things) on their own.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loni Townsend says:

    That’s cool you’ve found a tool that works for you. I’ve heard of Google scholar, though I haven’t used it much. As far as my writing goes, it’s a lot of mythology and made up stuff. Though I have looked up information on liquefying a human body and cannibalism before…

    My secret weapon? An over abundance of arrogance…er, I mean, confidence!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diane Burton says:

    I never heard of Google Scholar. Thanks for sharing. My secret weapon is perseverance. I call on it when I feel like giving up, procrastinate, or just dog around playing Mah Jong. Without perseverance, even the best writers won’t make it. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Google Scholar! ooh, good to know. Thanks, James! I’m off to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good looking out! I am lucky to be in a situation that allows me access to academic libraries (hurrah for Jstor), but if I’m ever not in that situation, it’s good to know there will potentially be something there to help me sort through what’s available.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the tip and the advice on my covers. I’ll have to check Google Scholars out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. chemistken says:

    I’ve used Google Scholar before, but not for researching a book. I’ll have to add that to my list of things to do. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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