Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Writing, Research, and Calling it a Day

A few months ago, I started work on a new writing project which is taking me far outside my current comfort zone. Instead of memoir or personal essay, it looks like it’s going to be a piece of literary journalism, focusing on someone else. I still don’t know exactly why this person and situation grabbed my attention, and until that happened, I knew very little about him and the events that have intrigued me. Now, I know almost too much, having spent perhaps just a tad too much time in research-land. Now, I’m in that in-between zone in which I either never want to hear another blasted thing about him, or want to go on tour to give lectures about the guy.

Do you know that feeling? Of being maybe just a little bit too full, and wanting either to purge and/or never eat another bite? If I recall correctly from the days when I wrote research-heavy business features and personality profiles for magazines, that was the signal that I’d done enough research already, and it was time to write the darned piece.

Recently, when I began tracking down the same obscure factoid in yet another rare source, and when I started to know what an expert was going to say just before she said it, I realized it was time to stop accumulating and start articulating. The allure however, of staying in research mode for just a little longer, is strong. It’s fun, it’s safe, and it feels like working. It also reeks of procrastination and the fear associated with beginning the hard part of this project. You know, the writing. Wish me luck.


Essays Writing said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

Laraine Herring said...

LUCK!! :-) I know this place. It sounds like it's time -- kind of that place where you are finished the honeymoon phase of marriage, starting to look elsewhere perhaps and then realizing it's time to either really commit or move on. :-) Sounds like you're committed!


Anonymous said...

Love this. So honest and real. Thanks for sharing and good luck! I bet half an hour into writing you'll get in the groove and feel so much better as it takes shape :)

Anonymous said...

Too funny. Another great blog I follow has a post that talks about similar things when it comes to writing...

I remember when I taught creative writing to freshmen at Boston University. The first month almost every student wrote about sex. I went to my advisor and asked him why I am getting twenty stories about having sex.

He said, "Are all the stories terrible?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "That happens every semester. When you love something, you want to write about it. But you never know enough about it to write it in an interesting way until you know it closely enough to hate it as well."