Procrastination by ‘Research’

Procrastination by ‘Research’

Blaugust 2019 is almost upon us! The Annual Blogging event to welcome brand new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise the old with a month of focused posting. You can still sign-up to participate and jump into the Blaugust Discord!

And so Blaugust Preparation week begins.1 Over this week the Mentors will be offering advice and tips for the official kick-off, August 1st. Now, I am not a mentor but I might still throw in the odd tidbit from the perspective one who has recently gotten started themselves.

First, a story.

Some years ago I had it in my head to give writing an honest to God, full-fledged fantasy novel a shot. Still riding the high of a successful NaNoWriMo with a bit over 50k words already in the bag. I had even adjusted my sleep schedule to allow for dedicated time in the morning before work. I was pretty serious about it.

So serious, that I had to know everything about it. E v e r y t h i n g. I followed numerous writing blogs. Podcasts. I had a particular penchant for blogs by publishing agents too actually, now that I think about it.

Even gaming time fell off a cliff, as every waking moment was doing some form of research on the art and craft of writing and getting published.

But you know what I wasn’t doing?

Writing.

Not a single word. Blog form, novel form, editing? Not a jot.

Over the years I’ve had the odd similar experience although nothing quite that extreme. Recently I wanted to learn how to digitally paint. Having Alli do some work for me had inspired me to dust off the ol’ Wacom again. I spent a day or two looking through Youtube tutorials before recognising the pattern of procrastination in the name of ‘research’ emerging again.

Research is a valuable tool, but don’t beat your passion to death with it.

Which is to say, looking into your subject and learning from those who have gone before can be a valuable use of time. But it needs to be balanced with actual doing. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a state of inaction.

The desire to get it ‘right’ out of the gate is understandable, but also debilitating.

Blogger or WordPress? WordPress.com or .org? What about Medium? Here’s a truth for you. It doesn’t matter. There are many hugely successful blogs on all blog platforms, free and paid.

Just go to WordPress.com and get started!

You don’t need to be perfect out of the gate. You don’t need to know everything before you start. Tags vs. Categories? Who cares. There’s nothing here that you can’t fix later when you know better. And don’t even get started on SEO.

Just write. Write how you want, about what you want. Do.

Nothing else matters if you don’t. And I think that’s the most important thing to remember. Use research as a means to improve what you’re doing, not as a way to avoid doing it.

There is nothing to be gained in understanding how to write the perfect agent query letter if you have nothing to query. There is nothing to be gained in knowing how to optimise for SEO like a boss if you don’t have a blog with single post yet.

Worse yet, carry it on for too long and you could kill your passion before you even give it a chance to breathe.

Footnotes

  1. Being in New Zealand and roughly a day ahead, it kicks off a bit early for me!

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4 thoughts on “Procrastination by ‘Research’”

  1. Been there and done that way too many times with way too many things too. I don’t think I even realized it until you actually put in words.

    But yeah, research is good and all but it doesn’t beat actually doing the thing and getting some actual experience. Not only to keep the passion alive but to actually learn too.
    Rakuno recently posted…[FFXIV] Getting back to the routineMy Profile

    • Yup. I don’t know about you, but my focus is a pretty flighty thing to start with.

      The range of things I want to be learning about and doing is so broad, that it is a huge risk to spend a lot of time researching before jumping in that something else will catch my eye before I’ve even started. I will be making a post later on this, too. xD

      That writing case though, I was ‘dedicated’ for weeks and weeks, if not months. But I was pretty oblivious to what I was doing for the longest time. So watching out for that pattern repeating is definitely something I try to keep an eye on. :)

  2. You’re absolutely right. When I started blogging I just dove in head first. If I’d spent too long doing research beforehand I might not have even started. There’s bee a lot of improvement after starting, but if you never start you never have anything to improve. :p

    • Yup.

      It’s so obvious in hindsight that I fully expect that at least some reading this post will think, ‘Well duh’. And that’s fair, truthfully. Yet I still distinctly remember how wrapped up in the research phase I was and how exciting and interesting it all was. I’d even found numerous times the adage, ‘Writer’s write’ and still carried on. Writing was always going to happen ‘soon’.

      I feel the same could easily happen to someone with Blogging, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there if you go hunting for it. I’d just like to encourage people to… Well… Not. Not overmuch anyway. Just dive in and get started. Look up things as they become relevant. :)

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