Today, I've gotten smart. Or you might say lazy. Probably both. But in general, I do the least amount of work necessary to research a piece and complete an assignment. If I'm writing a piece on "mommy guilt," for example, I don't need to read books on the psychology of mothers, the working mom vs. SAHM debate, or on the changing role that parents play in society. I can get by a lot less than that and I do. In this article's case, that meant:
- locating and interviewing a parenting/psychology expert (maybe two) who could talk about why moms feel guilty; and
- locating and interviewing two Chicago-area moms who could talk about their experiences with mommy guilt. (This was for Chicago Parent, so I wanted to use local sources.)
In the past, though, I would have gone online, read about mommy guilt for hours (and then probably feel guilty for spending too much time working!), talked to at least a half-dozen potential sources before I felt that I had the "best" anecdotes, and generally done a lot of unnecessary work. As a working writer with limited time, I've learned to do the least amount possible to make a story work.
So today's Hot Freelance Tip of the Day is: Say, "Enough, Already." (See Secret 28, Find facts and experts fast, and Secret 36, Find sources more quickly, from Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success.)
***There's still time to register for the giveaway and win a copy of Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success! And if you enjoy contemporary women's fiction, check out Did You Get the Vibe?, my first novel which was translated into four languages. I'm offering it as a free ebook for a limited time, or buy it from Kindle for a mere $0.99 (hopefully it will be free soon).
Coming soon...I share another royalty statement, explain why ebooks are essential for authors, and tell you why you're not making money as a freelancer. Stay tuned!
Good word. Though I would submit that all that previous research gave you an amazing base from which to pull from as you do your shorter research now. Knowledge is never wasted!ReplyDelete
Carrie brings up a valid point. But the 15 min. per interview is a good rule of thumb for non-complex topics. I remember hearing you say that in class and thinking, "No way!" I figured interviews had to be longer. (At the time, all of them I was conducting were). But with time and experience, I've learned that it is possible -- and in many cases, preferable -- to keep interviews to 15 or 20 min.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this insight into how much research you do... I sometimes catch myself in the same "over-researching" trap, so this is a great reminder of what's really necessary.ReplyDelete