I come from a background where estimating and predicting events or developments was a key part of my job. Taking this to heart in a career of writing, I would place research as either the first or definitely a high priority cornerstone to any writing career.
That said, I have been reading and reading and reading what other people say about how to write and produce a novel. A favourite of mine is the book by two US writers and publishers, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. Easy to read and very practical, I found “The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published” a real help. There are a number of others that make for good reference material such as the Dummies Guides and Idiots Guides.
From my past experience in research as mentioned above, I would say that anyone else looking to become a writer or in the same position as myself, would do best for their careers by firstly researching how to be a writer. Maybe there are a number of experienced authors out there with a different view or a contribution to mine whom I’d love to hear from. However, it seems total sense to me to know ‘before you go,’ like you would do in any other career. If one wanted to become an engineer, he would study engineering and so forth.
So my main attention now is on research – both on what a writer is, how better to formulate this new career and then also on my first book.
One lesson I learnt in research is that it is always best, although sometimes more time consuming and arduous, to do your own research and rely as a second tier, on other researchers data. It is one thing to surf the net and spend hours in books in the library. This is definitely legitimate research but I would term it second tier. It is, for me, the most adventurous, exciting and rewarding to do it by visiting places, speaking with people, taking pictures and really getting one’s hands dirty in the quest for the information needed to locate the story, develop the characters and define the plot.
Research is an exciting activity, whether on the net or out in the wilds. I think that this is one of the main attractions for any writer. Of course, there is the main activity – writing!