Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Research, Smesearch

Mindy here. I'm in the process of starting a new story. One I've got a great premise for, yet it's WAY over my head. I'm like, "God, why did You give me this story? I don't know anything about XYZ." Some writers love research. I'd rather have a root canal.

Ever feel like you've been handed a task you can't handle? Yeah. We've all been there. Sometimes I can just picture God looking down with this big grin on his face, shaking his head, saying, "Just do it, Mindy."

When He called me to write, He never promised it would be easy. Never said He'd hand me all the details on a silver platter. Ever heard the expression "Anything worth having is worth working for?" Ugh!

Writers, how do you feel about research? What do you like/dislike about it? For me, the dislike comes from being too detail oriented. If I don't know something inside and out, I don't feel comfortable.

If you're not a writer, have you ever felt like God has called you to something too big? How did you handle it?

Have a great Tuesday.


  1. Mindy, I'm the same way. I have to know everything about it. I worked on a proposal for an archaeologist heroine, and it took me FOREVER, because I had to know that type of work would truly work with my plot. I think I have 50 bookmarks of different online sites just for that proposal (on which they passed!). :)

    Another thing that I don't like about it is having to ask people about a job or whatever. I always feel like I'm being a bother. Of course, maybe some people enjoy being a source. I can only hope so!

  2. I'm almost the opposite. I adore the research process. I love finding things out about a new time period or a new place or a new job or a new custom or culture. In fact, sometimes I think I may have become a writer so I could do research as part of my job but still do something creative with it.

    I definitely have felt like God has called me to something too big every time I start writing a new book, though. While I love to research and plot, I get overwhelmed with the process of writing after all the research is over. How to make all that hard work come through in the story... it's overwhelming. But I do love the process, and the product, so I power through. And, of course, God is the sustainer.

  3. Rebecca, I LOVE your perspective. God is our sustainer. And trust me, when it comes to research, I need to be sustained :-) I also know that He won't call me to something without equipping me. And so it goes . . .

  4. Missy, I have a feeling you and I approach things similarly. Doesn't it just drive you crazy?

  5. I'm in the minority here. As an historical author, I LOVE research!!! I wish I had more time do research things I want to know about--even if I'm not writing about them--such as genealogy research.

  6. Jenn, I've decided that love of research is something all historical writers have in common. I guess you'd have to. But how do you feel about researching psychopaths? :-)

  7. Amen, Rebecca! He is the Sustainer.

    Mindy, that topic sounds a bit difficult! Did you see House last week? :)

  8. I did not, but I'm not researching pshychopaths this time. That was in the past. Ick. I felt like I needed a shower after I logged off.

  9. Mindy,
    I don't recall giving you permission to post my picture on your post. :)

  10. I actually took a couple of classes on criminals, sociopaths, and psychopaths. Really tough stuff!

    I have to say I LOVE research too. I read the book Strength Finder 2.0 and found my top 5 strengths. Oh you guessed it, mine are Learner, Context (history), Futuristic, Strategic, and Achiever--not in any order. But the Learner and the Context strengths make research a big, big thing for me. The achiever makes me want to know everything I can!

    So on the research thing, I have a hard time stopping. That's when I have the issue that Rebecca talked about...so much information and the struggle on how to use it.

    Mindy, let me know if I can help based on the classes I took.


  11. Angie,

    I find Strengthsfinder to be a great tool for helping writers find their voice. I've been a Strengths coach for years, and have done a lot of 1-on-1 work with people in their Strength areas (inside and outside of writing...I love it!). Of course, it makes sense that a Learner-Context would love to research. I'm an Input-Learner, and I can research for days at a time, and get lost in it. If I didn't have Communication as my #2, I would probably be in a think-tank somewhere, researching for a living. :-)

    Love to meet other Strengthsfinder peeps!

  12. Thanks Angie, but that research was for a previous manuscript. This time around I'm researching embezzlement and off-shore banking.

  13. Ah, that's the story you're working on... I was wondering what you were working on now.

    I found out with this story I've been working on FOREVER(!!) that I enjoy research, but like you, if I don't know the subject inside and out, I don't feel comfortable.

    I also found out when I contacted an individual about the subject I was researching, that the individual was VERY helpful and WILLING to help me with the questions I had.