Research - it's one of the most important elements involved in writing, but not one discussed very often. Perhaps because for some, research is an uncomfortable topic - often involving doing things that might take you out of your comfort zone. But it's important, and unless we are authorities on all the topics we write about - which is highly unlikely - it is most always necessary.
I am going to do a series of posts about this very subject because really, there is so much to say about it. My series will explore the different sources of research there are out there, and will delve more in depth into how to to maximize your results from each source I cover.
If you think, "Well, I am writing a...this does not apply to me," then think again. Business writing, article writing, magazine writing, book writing, almost every kind of writing I can think of requires at least some element of research. Even essay writing can be enhanced by it.
Research is involved in business writing because it is necessary to know about the business before you can write about it - demographic info, relevant statistics, or even research into what your writing client wants you do do for him.
Article and magazine writing both require research. If you have a rich understanding (which, unless you have first-hand experience, can only be obtained by doing thorough research) your writing will reap the rewards. You need to understand a topic before you can write about it. Trips to the library, surfing the internet and interviews will provide all the information you need.
Book writing is the same, just more involved. You cannot possibly write a great novel set in the Civil War era, without battling through the important dates, political happenings, and battles and victories of that time.
Even if you are only thinking about writing - maybe submitting to a particular magazine - you still need to research your market. Seasoned writers know how important this is. You cannot submit to a magazine - or even website - you've never read. What sorts of things they publish (essays, poetry, fiction, features), the length, topics are all important. If a magazine doesn't publish poetry, they won't publish yours. You, in turn, are going to suffer unnecessary rejection.
Good, thorough research makes successful writing. Here are a few reasons why:
(1) It helps us get our facts straight
(2) We glean important statistical information
(3) It adds substance
(4) It gives us that all important writer credibility
(5) It adds interest
(6) It creates believability
There are lots of reasons to research! And if you haven't already done it yourself, don't let it intimidate you. It is fun, educational, and moves you out of your comfort zone - which means growth for you and your writing.
I hope to see you back for my next post on research. It will include the different sources of research you can lean upon to give your writing that extra-special something!
Until then, have a wonderful day!