This is such a laugh because every day for me is research. My life as a novelist merely upped the frequency and duration. For example, many folks would probably assume that research for a novelist was all about exotic locations, exciting people, expeditions to learn and uncover arcane talents, tasks, and traits.  No, no, no, no my little fluffy followers, No!
The greater amount of research is filing our ideas, finding them once we’ve filed them, frowning over whether we’ve had a giant bit of memory loss, or whether we really are staring at the most potent or palatable version of any particular story or idea. Palatable you ask? Oh, yes, because quite often there is gagging involved. Uttered expletives. Incomprehensive muttering. Merely ask those whose misfortune it is to live with us. (I have secretly wondered what my dear husband did in his last life to be sentenced with me in this one, but then, it is between him and his karma, yes?)
There are scores of different programs to learn to write, to explain, to sample and try to find one that fits our little writerly brains the best. Like Dragonspeak or something of that name-ish). Mine hated me. Or I never seemed to speak with the same accent twice. Oh, and spread sheets. Those are for knowing who, when, where, and whether your manuscript is being touted at the moment—like a shiny racehorse prancing its stuff before the big race. Shall they bet on the frisky one or the calm one that is husbanding his strength for the distance? Those spreadsheet programs that I have yet to work successfully twice in a row. Yuck.
Or how about those visionaries who think we need new ways to channel our thoughts and create. Oh, how I’d like to get a barrel of those geniuses together and listen to the uproar. I can create lists, swirls, trees, barbed creations with ideas hanging off the branches. So what?
I can never find them again to interpret what seems to be a severe case of mental Turret’s syndrome with a pen. Which leads me to the other glamorous research in grammar, spelling, syntax, and other taxes like Federal income tax rules for writers.
But to a writer, the words sing. Like expiate—oh my. I’ve got to find a place for that one. The characters speak. The fingers fly across the keyboard or with pen in hand as we scramble for a scrap of paper, a napkin, or the back of one hand because being in the throes of creation is exhilarating—probably not quite like luging but quite nice, thank you. (Should you desire to look that up, the root word is luge.) Yes, we writers often know such drivel as what a ‘root’ word is. Doesn’t make cookies, but hey, every profession its tasks.
We generally say we’re researching when really we’re using it as an excuse to pursue a fascination. Like maps, like time periods, like skills, like people, like oh my, did I forget my grammar again? Humor. Angst. Hate. Love. Titillation. Ok enough. You know I really wanted to merely alliterate when I ended up doing something altogether different.
We research ourselves and attempt to find out if we’re really merely writers or insane. Some of us are still in doubt. Others are passing the judgment on to others.
Markets, editors, managers, agents, laws, contracts, all fall under our writerly scope. We know about fonts. Yes, fonts. Sounds a little something doesn’t it? Then there are the computer types and failures. Memory failures—machine of course. And then the machine makers and software wizards will change things for the better they think and confuse us again.

I would not like to go back to being a non-novelist—even with all of this research.


Joan Vincent said...

Nina, thanks for the chuckles you tossed my way while I read your post. Especially when I read "We generally say we’re researching when really we’re using it as an excuse to pursue a fascination." Ahh, how often I have been down that road!

Nina Sipes said...

oh, Joan, you caught me! I was thinking of your wonderful maps when I wrote that sentence. I often think of your maps. I love maps. I'm actually using Channel 3 Storm Chaser app on my phone because the topographical maps on it are AWESOME!!
And to be fair, I know quite a few really unnecessary skills that are not needed these days but crop up in my writing because I found them during a fascination fete.
See-a word you'd like...used in my way.