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Research ≠ Writing

Monday, August 14, 2006

Something horrible has happened to me in the past couple of years—I can’t read for pleasure any more! Well, I take that back. I consumed the Harry Potter books as fast as I could read them last summer. I’ve gone back and re-read many old favorites. But I just cannot seem to pick up a new novel and read it from cover to cover. In the past six months, I’ve probably spent well over $150 on new books—mostly books in my genre of historical fiction set around the beginning of the 19th century in England, some secular, some inspirational. If I get a chapter or two into them, I usually end up setting them aside either from non-interest or because I’m so frustrated at the historical inconsistencies/errors.

Reading is what I used to do when I didn’t feel like writing. But now I don’t have that outlet. So, I’ve turned to research. In addition to the novels I’ve purchased, I have bought seven or eight books about the Regency era in England to make sure that I am portraying 1814 England as accurately as possible so no one reading my book will get frustrated because of inaccuracies. Now, I have discovered some things that do affect scenes I’ve written or plan to write which is good that I’ve caught those. But research is not writing. It’s an excuse not to write.

Why is it that now I have plenty of time on my hands to write—and to write the novel I’ve been itching to write for over a year—I have no motivation to do so? In two years, I completed three manuscripts—but back then, I was writing those rather than studying/doing homework for the undergraduate courses I was taking.

Can I challenge myself? Can I give myself a deadline and stick to it? Can I finish writing Ransome’s Honor by Christmas? Can I stop worrying about the details of the research and just write the story?

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