Learn A Little. Know A lot.

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  • Astronaut
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Detective
  • Mechanic
  • Lawyer
  • Journalist
  • Psychologist
  • Storm Chaser
  • Doctor
  • Air pilot
  • Neurosurgeon
  • Scuba diving instructor
  • Treasure Hunter
  • Sea Captain

This is a complete list of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up (unless pirate constitutes as a legitimate career, in which case scratch that on there as well). The way I see it is that I way too many ambitions so I just decided to become them all- and thus became a writer.

As a writer I can turn myself into anything. Or at least, I can pretend to. I can give you just enough facts to make myself the expert, convince you that I am a doctor or an air pilot. And as a writer it’s sort of my job.

To do this, I have to know things. I have to know a little about a lot and sometimes, know a lot about a lot. Now I have a natural-born desire for learning but there are those who might find such things daunting. And there a few things you much watch out for. Here a few things I find helps when it comes to research.

One: Make sure you’re getting information from credible sources and not just a few people on Reddit.

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People become experts for a reason. They took the time and money and energy to study, research, evaluate, and learn their craft. Those who haven’t done this probably don’t know what they’re talking about and are going off info they heard from someone a while back or something they read on one article from Facebook several years ago, never doing any further research. Which brings me to my next point.

Two: Never Ever EVER EVER get all your information from just ONE source

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It seems easy. One article, one book, and bam! You’re the expert. No.

No. No. No!

Sometimes people are wrong. Even people with good credentials may not have all the facts. Be sure to run your ideas through multiple sources and get your info from a wide variety of experts. Confirm what you read. Make sure it is fact and not opinion.

Three: Write it down.

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You’ll forget.

You may think you won’t, but you will.

I know we all hated writing reports back in school, but honestly sometimes it helps. Not only will you have all your information in one place, but you’ll retain it better.

Four: Read Books.

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Sometimes getting off the internet is good. Studies have shown people who read physical books vs. reading on electronics actually retain more and have an easier time concentrating. Just go ahead and give it a try.

Also books tend to be more in-depth and provide more information than blog posts or articles. But I will recommend magazines as well. Things like National Geography and such have some very helpful resources in them. But like I said, always check your facts with multiple sources.

Five: Talk to people

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Writing a story about a doctor? Try finding one to talk to. Have a list of questions ready. Interview some people. Ask them what their job is like. Sometimes that is way better than any book or online article. Need help finding people? Try social media. Just throw it out there. You may get some responses.

Six: YouTube Tutorials

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Yes, sometimes they can be helpful. Once again, verify who you’re learning from. Don’t just click on any random tutorial. Check your source. I would recommend doing this if you feel you just need some light knowledge or if you want a visual seeing something done. I know I used this to view footage of sword fighting for my medieval fantasy and I’ve used this method to watch a few dance instructions (and do not ask why, I swear it was just for research).

Seven: Take classes

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If you want or have the ability to, then there is a ton of courses online you can take. You might not get a degree from it, but you’ll at least have the knowledge behind you. There are many places on the internet offering free or cheap means of learning a trade or skill. I took one in psychology which helped a lot with character development. Sometimes you can find some old textbooks, just make sure they’re not too outdated.

You’re never too old to learn. In fact, to grow up means you have to learn. Our brains are wired to be experience new things and retain information, how much information depends on each person, but in general we all have the ability to keep progressing. Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving. And you never know when it might come in handy for something else besides writing.

Knowledge is a weapon and I intend to be formidably armed

Terry Goodkind

One thought on “Learn A Little. Know A lot.

  1. Well said. Back when I worked in libraries, publication offered a certain level of validation (even though you could still publish a load of rubbish if it was – for instance – about politics. And we must all now realise how history is recorded by the victors).
    Today, anyone can put up all kinds of misconceptions to be read at the drop of a keyword. I would also add, as well as checking the authority of your source, and who else agrees with it, take note of how long ago it was posted.

    Liked by 1 person

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