You know what I dread most about writing a piece? Not pitching, not finding the idea, not trying to find the right market (though this can be a pain sometimes).
It’s research. Probably almost as much as the waiting to hear back from an editor and getting rejected.
Because just like those two, it’s kind of out of my hands.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m lazy. I’m not.
But there is a lot about research that is out of my hands, like:
- how fast the Internet will work that day
- waiting to hear from resources. (Because as writers, we just love to wait, don’t we?)
- fidgeting over whether the experts I reached out to will be happy to hear from me or be pissed because I bothered them.
- how on earth will I find something that specific
- how many people can I reach on my own to conduct an informal research
To the seasoned reporter, these might seem ridiculous. Or maybe, things they consider for a second and shrug off. But I’m not a seasoned reporter. I’m not even a reporter.
I’m just a writer who’s trying to break into newer, more established markets by trying to improve her reporting skills, and wooing her editors in the process.
Now, I’ll probably never write a piece solely based on reporting, and I’m fine with that.
But developing my research skills as well as getting over my fears, anxieties and pet peeves over reaching out to strangers – I’m already reaching out quite frequently to friends, but worry not, I’m equally helpful – is essential. It will make my idea development and pitching more solid. It will make my queries more irresistible, and my pieces more informative. I might be a tad arrogant as I believe I’ve got the entertaining part down, more or less.
Maybe it’s because I already got to do too much research in uni. You see, I have double-majored in five years. (It’d be four, but I spent 9 months abroad because, hello, who doesn’t want to take 9 months abroad?)
I had like 9 classes from my second year every term. No place for electives, because I had to take all the core courses of my two majors, Business and Advertising.
There was a lot of paper-writing going on, not to mention the time spent on figuring out the stifling academic format. Now, I thoroughly enjoyed working on my thesis (a shout-out to my advisor and favorite teacher here). I specifically chose a course where I would write a thesis so that I wouldn’t take tests or work on group projects. I know, I’m such a writer.
But seriously…I didn’t like research that much even then, mainly because it was so easy to get lost in it.
So in addition to reading up on how to get more efficient – yes, there are articles on this too; you’ve got to love the information age – I decided to create a Facebook group for writers where they can help each other with all parts of creating non-fiction: finding resources, experts, asking for quotes, including asking each other for relevant experiences and information.
If you are a writer having trouble with coming with ideas and/or pitching, I can help you with that. It’s one of the services I provide to fellow writers and bloggers.
If you’re struggling to find the right market for your idea, I recommend the big list on Beyond Your Blog, or their submission services.
But if it’s research you’re struggling with, any aspect of it, then just ask to join Writers Helping Writers. I’m the admin, and pretty much the only rule is to be nice and friendly.
I feel I’m getting better at this research thing already.