[Tipster] Start Writing before You Complete All Your Research

tipster post Feb 04, 2022

Just this morning, Melissa and I interviewed a free-lance journalist who writes for the New York Times. Our conversation with Melinda Wenner Moyer will be one of our next podcast episodes.

Melinda mentioned something almost in passing about how she researched her recent book, "How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes."

She is a science writer, so research is essential to her work.

She said, "I try to do the bulk of my research before I write, but often I'll start writing before my research is complete."

Ergo, don't wait to write until you think your research is complete and fully baked.

Get writing!

Write Sooner Rather than Later

Most of us are not science writers or journalists with reporting responsibilities.

And we're surely not academics who must tip their hat to all the academics who have come before them before starting to write a scholarly article or book.

Most of us are writing memoirs or popular articles or books, the ideas of which include our expertise or experience.

Research is important, no doubt. But don't use research as a way to procrastinate.

Just start writing.

Melissa and I like to quote an old saying that to think is to write and to write is to think.

By writing earlier rather than later - you realize which ideas might need more research.

Writing creates fresh thinking, which often leads to the need for additional research.

Perhaps you need to interview another expert?

Or maybe you need to dig into a recent academic study on your topic. Maybe you need to skim two other books that recently came out on your same subject matter.

You can make significant progress in your writing project even if you don't feel like you've done enough research.