What does it take to write well?    

Research, its what any good writers find themselves doing on any given day. If you are like me, in the very beginning you thought choosing to be a writer was going to be a fun, easy job. You thought all you needed was a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. You’d sit down, put your finger to your forehead and think deep thoughts. Then you would translate those thoughts to paper and you’d have a wonderful story or article. It was going to be just that simple.

How long did it take before you found out you were dead wrong? Did you write an article and have someone you trusted read it only to have them tell you that your facts were wrong? Did you start out with a story and realize that you needed more information to give it depth and realism?

Like many of us, I was a novice. I thought writing to be easy and learned it was like any other full-time job. It took dedication, smarts and a lot of go power. These days I work on non-fiction in such varied subjects that I couldn’t possibly know were to even begin without researching it first.

History is good. There’s a lot we can know from school but there’s so much more that they never taught us. Our books told us of Orville and Wilbur Wright but they didn’t explain how that plane got off the ground. Sure we knew it had something to do with lift but did we really understand what lift was? I didn’t.

At the moment I’m working on strange occurrences in history. This requires my brain to travel on a different path than my fiction works. I have to learn. And let me tell you, its getting to be a lot of fun. My Internet connection is non-existent at home so I live in the library. The computer keyboard does quick rat-a-tat-tat talking as my fingers fly across the key and over at the circulation desk, a printer hums as page after page comes sliding down the tray. Dimes seem to fly from my pocket into the librarian’s outstretched hand as if by magic.

Research, it is a constant needed commodity. We go to garage sales and see books on our chosen subject and down the driveway it goes with us to our waiting cars. The library shelves become bare as we take dozens of books home to pore over in the wee hours of the morning. Internet links buzz and we read the word, searching…. flashes at us from somewhere in cyber space.

What would we do without research? Would we be capable of writing intelligent articles or books? Would anyone buy anything we wrote if we didn’t sound credible? Therefore, our foundation for any writing, be it poetry, children’s board books or a flight pilot’s manual is and always will be research.

Don’t give up on your dream of publication because you don’t know everything. Research it until you are the authority on your given subject. Remember that those who are authorities are the ones who did the same research you’re doing now. In the beginning they didn’t know anything either. So what are you waiting for? Pick up that book, type in that keyword or ask that question and get going. It’s research time!