How Many Notes Is Too Many?

I love researching things. When it comes to my writing or my freelancing work, I am always scribbling away in my notebook. To be honest I don’t even think I need to do as much work as I do but it comforts me. I always right a hard copy handwritten because anyone with a computer knows that at any moment that stupid thing could crash. You spend the next few moments with your heart in your stomach staring at the blank screen hoping something comes back on. My current laptop freezes and crashes constantly but due to lack of funds I cannot afford even the cheapest of models to replace the one I have. When I work on anything I do whether it’s a novel or currently my work in freelancing, I jot it in a notebook first. If for some reason my computer isn’t playing nicely I can at least take my notes and go to the library or a relative when I can and finish it. I have already had to wait for my computer to get up and run right to finish 2 articles. And long ago I lost my entire novel I wrote when I was in high school. It wasn’t very good but it was my first and I completed it so I was proud. When I lost it I stopped writing all together for months. I had spent every waking moment on that book and to know there was never chance of ever getting it back was devastating. I mourned over it. It still haunts me.

So how much is too much (research)? Is there such a thing? I am pretty sure I don’t need to fill up five or six college-ruled pieces of paper with one article I am writing, but that’s what I do to calm me about a deadline approaching. I think you need to decide if it is all necessary. If you are writing a historical fiction novel I believe a good amount of real life elements and events are crucial. It does not hurt to dive into learning about any subject. But if you can’t see the top of your desk due to all the History books you have for research then maybe dial it back a little. At least enough so you have room to work.

Having good websites at your fingertips in addition to those books is always a plus. Look for sites that have .edu .org .gov because even if it sounds offical is may just be some kid in their basement making crap up. You can also “sleuth it up” yourself and talk to people in that field by emailing professors at universities, or for example if you need medical information seeing if a doctor who specializes in what you were writing about in an email, facetime, call you etc . Make sure to site everything and give credit where it is due.

Sometimes I have to reel myself in. I could lose myself in a library for days or go broke at the book store getting research items..and let us not forget all those post it tags, highlighters and multicolored paperclips. Unless you like it simple, then get the standard silver ones and plain Bic pens. We know it is not what you write with but who does the writing.

Happy research!

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