Things I’ve Had to Research | Blogging

Malcolm Gladwell is associated with the ten-thousand hour rule. This holds that ten-thousand hours of deliberate practice is required if a person is to become world-class in any given field. Being world-class in precisely no fields, I can nevertheless safely assume that in many cases such practice must necessarily comprise a high ratio of tedium and repetitiveness. Colonel Sanders’ recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken was rejected over a thousand times before he hit upon the secret which would make him famous, whilst Michael Jordan estimated that his nine-thousand missed shots contributed to his ability to score baskets under pressure.

Whilst Jordan and Sanders doubtless received an excellent return on their incredible efforts, it strikes me that writers are unusually lucky in the variety of forms in which they can spend their ten-thousand hours. Thankfully, the writer’s lot is not to spend the wee hours practising gross motor skills or to eat enough fried poultry to clog the arteries of a blue whale. Ours is an altogether more pleasurable undertaking.

Things Iive had to research 2

In his book ‘On Writing’, Stephen King recommends that aspiring authors should spend four or five hours a day reading and writing. There is nothing prescriptive about such a recommendation. Simply read and write. As I top one-hundred posts on this blog, I glance back and remember the fascinating and frankly bizarre subjects which I have researched and subsequently written about. Some of these include:

As I scanned through it struck me that, along from making me very difficult to profile from my internet search history, there are very few other hobbies that would have pushed me to learn any of this strange information. Rather than being trammelled down a predetermined route, we are required to take the scenic route. What a bizarre and wonderful journey we encourage our imaginations to take us on!

Learn something rare and put it into a new context. Tell a story that no one has heard before. Repetitiveness is actively discouraged. No RSI for us. Oh wait…the typing…

What are some of the weirdest things you’ve had to research for a piece of writing?

***Thanks for reading, folks. Pictures courtesy of russ282 at Pixabay and The Blue Diamond Gallery.

Matthew Richardson is a writer of short stories. His work has featured in Gold Dust magazine, Literally Stories, Near to the Knuckle, McStorytellers, Penny Shorts, Soft Cartel, Whatever Keeps the Lights On, and Shooter magazine. He is an absentee member of the Glasgow Writers Group, a PhD student at the University of Dundee, a lucky husband, and a proud father.

Not necessarily in that order

23 thoughts on “Things I’ve Had to Research | Blogging

  1. Ok you got me. I clicked on the liposuction link! The idea of you writing on this topic was so incongruous that I had to find out more.

    I love the way Gold Dust publishes a view of their magazines in slideshow format! There I found your story, “Fat,” on page 16. With my trusty magnifying glass plus zoom-fingers on the track pad (I assure you, this is devotion, Matthew) I read the entire piece: at first smiling at your character Helen’s humour on the bus, then horrified yet fascinated by the following events, then… wow. What an ending. Seriously impressed. You’re a master!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh wow! So happy you’ve let us glimpse your first break! What a wonderful anthology you’ve put here, just love it.

        I agree that writing and reading are the luckiest and most pleasurable ways to spend ten thousand hours.

        And… aw. Devotion reciprocated makes for happiest hearts. Thanks Matthew. ๐Ÿ˜

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was delightful and reminded me of my own modus operandi as a nonfiction writer (not counting my recent Drabbles and a couple of poems.)

    After years of writing what editors wanted, I love having the freedom to follow my imagination wherever it takes me. One such effort was my post โ€œCan I Really Get My Arms Around This Animal?,โ€ about those astonishing creatures octopuses (and yes, thatโ€™s the correct plural, as I explain). But my oeuvre to date, while not quite as offbeat as yours, similarly defies categorization.

    And now I hasten to read more of your work. โ€œFatโ€ sounds especially intriguing.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll be straight over to read ‘Can I Really Get My Arms Around This Animal’, Annie. Curiosity well and truly piqued! I think you are right – there is a freedom in writing for yourself first, and if that makes your writing fall down the cracks if what are considered ‘proper’ genres, then so much the better!


      1. You might also be interested in โ€œHow Do You Train a Butterfly? The Sam Way You Train an Orthopedic Surgeon!โ€ Thatโ€™s one of my favorites.


  3. ‘Rather than being trammelled down a predetermined route, we are required to take the scenic route. What a bizarre and wonderful journey we encourage our imaginations to take us on!’ – It’s cheered me up reading this as I was feeling as though I should be following something more predetermined, and was being too eclectic. Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’ is excellent! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Have just read your story Fat in Goldust Magazine. Mostly because being of the baby boomer generation, I am also of the yo-yo dieting generation. That was a powerful story! Generated tears in flecked with a little laughter. But being fat/obese or even just thinking you are is not funny at all! I have been on and off diets for years and truly empathise with her! You have a real talent! ๐Ÿ‘Œ

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I also was taken aback at that first item and had to go and read “Fat.” Definitely a roller coaster, whew! It upset me. Why do I love that.
    Gosh, I can’t remember the last thing I researched specifically for a story. But I learned words today! Today’s words were polemics (from you), arete (from CafePhilos) and stevedore (already forgot who). I also had to look up the difference between altruism and humanitarianism.
    I can’t stop googling things. It might be an addiction. Learning new and strange things was one of my primary reasons for taking up writing.


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