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Know Jack #337 Field Research

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us…”

St. John the Beloved

I know writers who say that they write every day. I think it’s great—I don’t do it. Writers who write each day probably spend a good deal of time writing about writing. Maybe that’s why I see so many people advertising books designed to tell all the secrets of successful writing. They must be writing what they know.

I’m all for writing what I know. I’m just never comfortable with what I know, and how much I know. (Contrary to what you may have heard, I do not know it all.) Some days are for getting out and living—or staying in. Today I worked a jigsaw puzzle with my sweetheart, which is a way of escaping into nothing but shapes and colors.

I’m currently editing four books for other authors, writing a novel of my own, and digging through receipts and forms to pay my taxes. I also have two books to go over with the proofreader before launching them. Oh, and an audiobook under review before it’s launch.

Write what I know? I know I need a mental health day!

Today it was a puzzle. Some days it’s just sitting by the river, a drive in the country, or a day trip someplace fun. For me, getting out and living a little free of the daily grind is field research. You get out in the field of life and search about for something to do—preferably something you haven’t done before.

I generally get my own reading in (every writer should be a reader), maybe watch an online lecture, or do what most people think of as research in the evening. Right now, that includes reading up on voodoo, hoodoo, Santeria, New Orleans landmarks, and Louisiana geography for the book I’m writing. In November it was Union Pacific routes, gubernatorial pardons, army posts in 1869 and the overland route from Wyoming to Nebraska.

There’s an awful lot of reading and study that goes into daydreaming and writing down what you’re fantasizing about. So, taking a much needed break to experience life is important. Some smart as—person will remind me that I’m writing now. So, I’m not really taking the day off, I’m still writing every day.

That’s true in a way. But blogging, for me, is more like talking to myself, I do that whether I’m writing or not. Sometimes I even listen to myself.


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