Research Before Writing

Hello, friends!

So last week, I told you about some of my new writing rules… or maybe I should call them writing promises.  That’s what they really are: promises that I am making to myself (or rather, promises that I’m making to my muse, depending on how you want to think about it).

Anyway, today I want to share another writing promise that I’ve made, a promise specifically related to this blog:

I promise to do my research before attempting to write a blog post, because trying to write a blog post without getting all my facts straight first is a huge waste of time.

You see, I fully intended to have a Sciency Words post for you last Friday.  I picked an easy one—a scientific term that I thought I understood fairly well—to ensure that I would get that blog post written, illustrated, and scheduled on time.  But once I started writing, I soon realized that I did not understand what I was writing about—not nearly as well as I thought I did.  Oops!

I’ve done this to myself many times before.  I try to crank out a quick blog post, then realize I’m a little fuzzy on some details, a little vague about certain facts.  And so a blog post that was supposed to be done in about an hour eats up a whole day’s worth of writing time.  Quick, easy blog posts always end up being the hardest, most time-consuming posts to write.

So going forward, before writing even one single word for a blog post, I’m going to do my research first.  Even if I think I’m already an expert on whatever I’m writing about, I’m going to do my research first.  That’s a promise I’m making to myself, so I can be more efficient with my blog writing time.  And it’s a promise I’m to you too, dear reader, because I really, really, really do not want to spread any sort of misinformation about science on the Internet.  There’s too much of that already.

P.S.: Wait, I didn’t do any research before writing this blog post.  Oh no!  I’ve already broken my promise!!!

7 thoughts on “Research Before Writing

  1. I have my own pile of dead drafts where I realized somewhere in the writing process that they were wrong, so I know where you’re coming from.

    Work to get it right, but don’t set too high a bar for publishing. Blog posts, like scientific papers, are part of the conversation. It’s okay to be wrong occasionally, as long as we’re willing to admit it and learn from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve kind of started thinking of this blog as my own personal peer review process. Or maybe my posts are more like preprint papers. The comments I get and the discussions we have really clarify a lot of things for me, and hopefully that leads to me putting higher quality science into my Sci-Fi stories (i.e. when my research actually goes to publication).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting James. I’ve only recently started to think about my writing and blogging. About what I’m aiming for, what message (if any) I want to give. Previously, I just wrote when the inspiration hit, but in the process of building a writing practice, the questions keep coming up. I’ve not worked out the answers yet, but I do find other writer’s (and blogger’s) posts on the subject to be both interesting and helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t rush yourself. You’ll find the answers you need. For me, I just got to a point where my blogging process felt really inefficient and ate up too much of my writing time. I needed to streamline things. I still have plenty of other questions that I still need to answer for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

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