©2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
This is the 10th in a series of 35 articles, focused on topics you need to be conversant with, in order to become a truly Effective Author. I’ve offered 2 articles on notes, saying notes are the lifeblood of your writing. The fact is, unless you have an eidetic memory, whenever you do research, you need to note what you learn in some form. Then, you can actually use it later.
For me, the greatest secret in research is the ability to take notes in the Notes app of my iPhone. This has eliminated a lot of pieces of paper around the office, the car, purses, tote bags, and my home. And today, Apple released IOS9, which enhances the Notes app. Now, when you open the app, you see a title line and the first line of each Notes folder; previously, you saw only the first line. Now, you can indent sections, create a circle to be checked later, bold some text, and insert photographs. The app now operates more like a simple word processor. This is great news for authors like me, who sometimes need to draft an entire article using the Notes app.
If you’re thinking, oh, but wouldn’t some voice notes app be quicker or more efficient? No. I don’t like those because they require transcribing; autotranscribing is a whole process that isn’t ready for prime time yet. And my life is so busy that any step I can eliminate is one more thing I can get done in that saved time.
There are 3 main forms of research I use. Two are collected as I live and pursue what interests me: quotes and stories. Every time I hear an inspiring quote, I put it in my Notes app and email that to myself, then lift the text to my main Quotes collection. This system creates a backup, so you never have a notes crash. Stories, incidents, characters, scenes, and ideas all seem to spring forth around me and insist on being included in my collection. My life seems to be like the PBS catalog t-shirt that proclaims:
CAREFUL, OR YOU’LL END UP IN MY NEXT NOVEL.
The third type of research I do takes more focus. I dig through medical research reports, to see what new science is emerging, and how that can help my clients. Sometimes I also dig though theological writings and scriptures, to come up with simplified answers to spiritual questions people ask me. Then, you guessed it: I enter summary comments in my iPhone Notes app and email them to myself. Then I file them in Word documents, by topic, under the BOOKS section of my document collection.
The truth is, I love research. I love the way the many facets come together like the blades of a kaleidoscope: elements of information, visuals, sounds, smells, beliefs, quotes, and movement of time. Research is the foundation of the writing process, as in the process pyramid illustration above. What processes are you using for your research? You’re becoming the Effective Author. Questions?
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. Both that book and Peace Within are available through her office. Just email email@example.com.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org.