Do Your Research as a Professional Writer
The best writers make their job look easy. They can write about just about any topic, even if they are not experts in that particular field. The reason for this ability is that they have learned how to research properly, to uncover detailed information that will interest a reader.
Learning How to Write
Writing is a skill that we begin learning in grade school. We learn the mechanics of how to craft a sentence, a paragraph and eventually, an essay. As we continue on in school, we learn the skills of creating a longer length research paper. We use the previous lessons in grammar, spelling and sentence structure as we become better skilled mechanics.
Granted, there are those of us who are more talented at writing, just like there are those of us who are more talented at math. For people who have a writing talent, writing skills flow more easily, but they still need to learn them.
Researching Your Topic
Once you learn how to write, the next step in becoming a fiction or non-fiction professional writer is to learn how to research a topic. If you learn how to research, to keep searching for additional information on your subject, to really dig deeply, then you can write about literally any topic. Over time, the skill of a good researcher can be as important as the ability to write.
Why Research Skills are Important
There are several reasons why research skills are a crucial in a writer’s bag of tricks. One reason is that researching new topics stretches a writer. As you research, you learn about new subjects. You grow your mind, and in the process, learn more about yourself as a person and as a writer. It is worth the effort of any writer to stretch themselves from time to time and accept projects to see if they can learn a new type of writing, topic field or style. You may find new areas of interest and unexplored avenues for your career.
Another reason is that while good writers are always needed, they may not be needed in your chosen field for the lifetime of your career. If you started out as a newspaper journalist at the beginning of your career, there is a strong likelihood that you are no longer doing that now. Even if you are, the landscape has turned upside down in that career because of the Internet. If you are a skilled researcher, then you can continue writing in a different setting.
Research broadens horizons. It leads you on a journey in several directions. If one pathway ends, you can turn around and follow another road to a new goalpost. The more you continue to take jobs that force you to research, the more opportunities will appear for you to write. In addition, you will reduce the number of obstacles that block you from career success.
Paula A is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.