Thursday, February 05, 2009
Research...Procrastination...Research...What's the Diff?
Here is a secret about writers: the blank page sometimes scares us (picture Stephen King sized fear). Or maybe I'm just speaking for myself and I like the illusion that other authors share my fear of that pristine white document (though mine is blue, with a white cursor, but I digress), with the patiently blinking cursor. Whatever.
Anyhoo -- my point is that when the blank page is looking particularly ...ahem...menacing to me, I do the prudent thing and run away.
Other people call it research. And I'm happy to jump on the bandwagon. So tonight I came home and pulled up a blank file to write a new bridging scene for the manuscript I am currently in the process of eviscerating and putting together again much in the manner of a Frankenstein monster, and...crickets. Scaaaary crickets.
So. I knew I wanted to use sea glass in the scene. I'd had that insight earlier today when I was unable to write anything because I was helping other people (very nice, sweet people I am lucky to know and tutor) read a little more fluently. I made a note, and even wrote a few longhand sentences on my notepad in between students.
But now comes the terrifying reckoning of the blinking cursor and blank page. And where to run? Maybe the beach, to find some actual, real seaglass? Sure, except...it is dark outside. And 9 degrees. And winter in Maine, which means the sea glass will be frozen to the shore.
So, what is a good procrastinator...ummmm...researcher...like me to do? Why, Google. Search for seaglass. And Wikipedia, of all places: here, to be precise.
Who knew? I never do. Sometimes my procrastination...I mean research...yields nothing but more crickets...vampire crickets.
Not this time. This time I got more than I bargained for. Now I know what to do with the scene. And it is something I would likely never have done without Wikipedia. So -- research or procrastination, you decide...I have to go write a scene that takes seaglass to a whole new dimension.