Search and re-search. Or is it research? I’m working on a non-fiction project. It’s taken me years to get to it. No, literally years. Not because I was so busy, but because I had no idea how to write it, what was important, why I wanted it to be out there, other than the fact that it has stayed with me for years. I was first interested in the subject in 1961, so yes, really, years, a bunch of them.
I’ve diddled around the edges. Been interested and then forgot. When the subject came up I read. But I did not seek out information. I didn’t search or re-search or research. But then, out at SCBWI LA a couple of years back, I attended a bunch of the sessions on non-fiction. It was enlightening and exciting and I felt really really dumb. I couldn’t figure out what I knew that would be interesting in non-fiction.
I have a BA in History. I love history. When I was in fifth grade I told my parents that was what I would study in college. My problem was that history was fascinating, but the tests weren’t and so the grades didn’t really match up to the appeal of the subject. When I graduated from Pepperdine with a MBA, my Dad questioned me, I was so good at the business side, why didn’t I get my undergrad in business. Well, I thought college was supposed to be a time of exploring, thinking, learning what ever came my way. History gave me that. I could study anything, literature, science, math, business, and it was all legit. Everything has a history, right?
But the bottom line was I had veered from that path far into Fortune 500 companies. Seriously? What kid would want to know about those? So when pressed about writing a non-fiction, I was baffled. I thought I knew nothing. Both Melissa Stewart and Alexis O’Neill told me to figure it out. And they were right. And, all the time it was right on the wall in front of my desk.
And the searching, which is just the looking for stuff, has to come before the re-searching, which is looking more closely at the stuff, and researching, which is an orderly looking at the stuff that’s important. First I read about the part that had made me fascinated so many years ago. Then I read the really really dry academic part. Then I re-searched.
And, I’m finding that all those skills, talents and joy that I found in the fifth grade, that made me curious but not academic, are coming back. It’s really all in the search!