If you're writing an article its pretty clear it requires some measure of research. You don't necessarily need to be an expert on your chosen subject, but it is vital your information is correct.
Yes research is essential but don't let it use up all of your time. Leave plenty of time to write your information down. Be serious about your researching and enjoy the information your discovering. Writing articles and books is all about learning new things and finding answers.
Attempting Any Topic
Write what you know? Not a simple mantra to live by and may even be a stumbling block to some writers. As a writer you should go for a subject you're not always that familiar with.
Why would you work in this manner? If you're a freelance writer, it will help to build your repertoire. If you're looking for writing jobs around the internet, editor's want flexible writers they can turn to for any kind of assignment.
If you have a deadline for your writing you're never going to learn every single detail. Try concentrating on the key points, get your facts straight, these steps will all help towards a good working knowledge of any subject you decide to tackle.
You should start to see your hours of research start paying off, when your writing starts to have authority and depth.
You may be caught unawares when you realise you've become quite an expert in your chosen subject.
Here's how to get up-do-date on any subject:
DO A RELEVANT INTERNET SEARCH. Analyse every website and blog you can find.
READ, READ, READ.Visit your local library and read any books related to the subject along with magazines and journals that are also relevant.
TRY MULTIMEDIA SOURCES. Such as documentaries and CD-ROMs, they're a quick way to build a foundation and soak up the facts.
IF IN DOUBT, ASK AN EXPERT. If you're unsure try asking an expert. Its one of the quickest ways to get information.
LET IT REST. You can nail any discrepancies in your story if you leave yourself time to let it breathe.
You won't become a certified expert with the above steps, they will, however, be a huge help with the most unfamiliar topics. Never underestimate yourself. With a bit of leg work you can take on any subject.
Fall Back to the Source
An idea can start when you've read or seen something interesting. May be even a conversation. Try backtracking and find out who you talked to originally. People have some really interesting ideas and really interesting information, making them a great source to use.
Contact Other Writers
There is a whole wealth of information at your fingertips if you have experience working alongside other writers. Use the internet, newsgroups and email lists, these are all great options.
If you're like me and like to write everything down, then you realize how important it is to organize your information if you need to reference it again. A filing system of some kind is a good start, or may you like keeping notes on your PC.
Below are three quick tips to get you started sorting:
1. Order Your Past Work. Start an index of your previous blog posts or articles, so they can be reused, or accessed for information. This way you'll have them at hand when you need them.
2. Pay Frequent Visits to Your Old Files. There is nothing wrong with having an accessible archive of information, or library full of internet bookmarks. Just make sure you check through it every few months so you can remember which files or bookmarks you've saved for future reference.
3. Single Out Useful Data. If you have a huge archive of paper files or computer files, you need to start culling them and deciding which information is the most important to keep. Try organising on a regular basis and get rid of the information you don't use.
Having a useful workable system that works as an easy reference for information is definitely worth its weight in gold.
Researching your topics is meant to be enjoyable and not a chore. So set some time to one side and use it to sort out your information. Make sure you don't get too caught up in the process and put off your writing.
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