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About Writing Right: The Blog


I saw someone ask a question online the other day. It went something like this: "How to Write an Article When You don't Know Anything about It." Here's how I responded.

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Research. Next ridiculous question, please.


I mean, are you kidding? Is this a fake question? Are you getting paid to ask the most ludicrous things you can possibly think of? Did someone put you up to this?


No writer knows everything about the subject he sets out to immortalize. Many writers know nothing. That's what "hitting the books" is all about. In the good old days B.C. (Before Connectivity), if I got an assignment about which I knew little or nothing, I'd have to schlep myself down to the local library, work the card catalog until I was blue in the face, find some reference books or tapes, locate the contact information for some experts in the field, make a few dozen phone calls, conduct an interview or two, and hope everything came out well in the end.


Today, you don't have to do that. And do you know why? Exactly! Try Googling Princess Di's favorite recipe for raspberry tart. And then tell me you can't figure out how to write an article about it.


Ditto for "How to find people who like your writing." (By the way, you're not ready to write anything for any publication until you learn the difference between the preposition "to" and the verbal infinitive form "to," which you haven't. Just FYI.)


If, in this day and age of easy reference work, you can't find the material to arm yourself sufficiently to write an article, I'm wondering if your mother ever dropped you on your head as a child. I'm also wondering: What's wrong with you?


Research is what separates man from the apes. Or (let me think this one through a little), rather, it's what separates teachers from their students. Teachers aren't brilliant by any means. If they were, they'd be working somewhere else and earning a helluva lot more money doing so. But teachers know where to find their teaching materials (thank you once again, almighty National Education Association, whether or not you're "woke"). And they use them.


So, as a writer, once your research is completed, let the fun begin!


Just my take on the matter. Hope it helps. Although, from your question, I have my doubts.

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D. J. Herda is author of the new ebook series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere.


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