Getting Research Ready - First Steps

Getting Research Ready - First Steps


Getting ready for research at any stage takes preparation and planning.  Many researchers have trouble getting started.  Sometimes having a clear mind is difficult to obtain in a world where life happens daily.  Successful writers find ways to create the atmosphere that is necessary to allow for expressive ideas.


Here are some tips that have helped me and close friends embark upon our research journey.  I hope you will find something helpful for you.


Visit the local library.  Libraries are wonderful places to do writing.  It is usually close to home and quiet.  Depending on the time that you go, you can often find an unoccupied table that you can spread out with all of your materials.  I like to be surrounded by books.  If I sit in the reference section I can sometimes get the ambiance of old books with the old books smell.  Sometimes I am lucky enough to be near a college library, and I go there instead.  There, I have access to more copy machines and other necessities that come with research.  I can also write without interruption, unless it is near closing time.


Check into a hotel.  Hotels are nice because they are usually quiet and everything is in a neat order around you.  Do not get a suite.  One room with a desk should be sufficient.  If I get too large of a room, I can  get distracted with the amenities of the room.  It is important to make sure that I am writing and not watching cable and eating.


Send your family out for the day.  It doesn't matter the size.  Whether your family consists of a spouse; or a spouse, kids and grandparents, send them out.  Let them have a day out together without you.  I often send my family out and sometimes miss important family events at the sake of my research.  Writing sometimes takes discipline; esp., in the beginning stages.


Go to the neighborhood coffee shop, wear headphones, and play your mood writing music.  I like to sit facing the corner.  It is okay to be in your own world.  People I know will often leave me alone when they see I am working.  If I do see my friends, I give them a gentle wave and keep working.  If they are close friends, they already know I have writing to do.  If they are not close friends, then a wave is more than enough.  Concentrate on your writing.


Put your cell phone and tablet in another room. Turn the volume to silent and turn the device  face down and out of sight.  I do not suggest that you turn it off.  I keep my phone on because I do not want to have any missed messages or calls when I resurface.  At the same time, if I am  working around family, I do not want them bringing me my phone and letting me know who called.  So, keep your device away from yourself and others and write.


These first steps have been essential to me getting ready to write. I hope they are helpful to you as well.


Elizabeth Johnston's picture Elizabeth Johnston | October 29, 2018 5:50 pm MST

Hello Michelle

Thank you for these very thoughtful comments on writinig.  I enjoyed reading the document.  Thanks again.



Liz Johnston

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