Don't Let Fear of Making Research Mistakes Stop You from Writing

research, writing

Anyone who writes historical romances knows how much research can go into developing and creating a story. Since I'm a voracious nonfiction history reader, this is one of my favorite parts of the process, but it can be tough. History in broad strokes is easy to discover. It’s the small details of daily life that can be elusive. Sometimes I can find the details, other times I have to take some artistic license based on my knowledge of the period. And then there are times when, despite research and careful fact checking, I still manage to get it wrong

Research, writingOnce during revisions, when I was double checking my facts, I discovered that I had made not one, but many mistakes. I'd read a sentence, and then another one, and something about them didn’t seem right. Off to the internet or a research book I went, only to discover my facts were incorrect. Afterwards, I asked myself, “How did I miss this during the umpteenth times I read this story?” or “I know I looked this up before. How did I get it so wrong?”

Since catching mistakes and making changes is part of the editing process, I can’t be too hard on myself. Also, after listening to an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian David McCullough, I know I’m not alone. When asked about his research methods, he admitted that he continues researching right through the copy editing process. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard this. If a noted historian of his stature can keep researching until the last minute, then so can I and so can you. After all, in the end it doesn’t matter when you get it right, as long as you do.

Don't allow fear of doing research or getting the research wrong stop you from writing your book. Dive in, write, research and keep going. It is the only way to succeed!

If you like books and research then you will love mine because I wrote them while I was doing research.

For more tips on research, check out these posts herehere and here


TiP Team said...

How reassuring (and what a fun bit of trivia to boot). Thank you for sharing this at #LMM.

Bonnie Dani said...

The toughest part is going easy on ourselves as writers. I have had this idea in my head for a bit and now I going to make a plan to get researching. Thanks for the encouraging post. I'm visiting from #LMMlinkup.

Teresa B said...

it must be challenging when you have to fit your creative ideas withing the framework of past history, but I guess it's also rewarding when you get it right. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party!

Kelly said...

This is totally true - not just for authors, but for bloggers also. I've written blog posts that I've realized months later had mistaken information in them (like the recipe that said one cup (8 ounces) of grated coconut when it should have been 8 ounces by weight). You just have to take your lumps, apologize and fix it!

Jessica Pelasky said...

Such a great post!

I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

Kathleen Aherne said...

The whole book writing process seems so huge, it is good to know that facts are checked, history and different versions of it must be a bit tricky. To see the published book must an awesome feeling of satisfaction.

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Jessica Powell said...

I love this advice - sometimes I find it so hard to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) when I'm still hung up on researching a particular detail. It's like the whole process just stalls.

Thanks so much for linking up over at Friday Frivolity this week! :)