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« Registre Foncier: Finding Quebec Land Transactions | Main | Novel 101 and rejection »
Tuesday
Feb262019

Research rabbit holes and procrastination

Procrastination takes many forms, from cleaning the house to relentless outlining. With my current non-fiction project about the history of my family farm, I've discovered another place for procrastination and anxiety to hide. Research.

Of course research is a valuable part of writing. For Safe Word, I had to research medical examiner protocols and police proceedures. With the farm history, I have so many resources to find out as much as I can about the initial land sales and lives of the people who built the farm. Some of my favorite finds are the surveyor notes from 1794 describing marking out the boundaries of the lots on which the farm was built.

There's land rights, general history of the times, old newspapers, lawyer's notes, and so many genealogy trees to detail.

All of this means that when I get a spare minute of two, I can do some digital digging. However, I have more than enough information to write a first draft. What I'm lacking is time. This morning's efforts to get up early to write were thwarted by a sick child who was up every 2 hours.

But there's also a nagging worry that I won't be able to produce a work that accurately documents almost 200 years of history and dozens of people's lives. Some I knew and so many other's are familiar to me by reading accounts of their comings and goings in the papers or listening to the few family stories passed on to me.

The only thing that overrides the fear of failure is the fear of not doing anything at all. So I press on, stealing moments here and there, hoping that before long I will have time to write.

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