Peggy Bechko: I Write Books to Find Out About Things

discoveryby Peggy Bechko

“I write books to find out about things.” ~ Rebecca West

Me to! How about you? Writing is not simply the act of writing, whether we’re talking about writing books like Rebecca West, or scripts or even writing promotional copy.

Mainly it seems we write to find out about things. Things about our world, things about ourselves. Things about quantum physics (well some of us want to know about that).

It’s fascinating what we learn when we take the time to delve more deeply into whatever it is we’re writing.

Think about how many times you’re writing, doing a little research and how many interesting things you stumble across. Not just on the subject you’re actually researching but on the things that sidetrack you as well.

So there’s an up side to writing to find out about things and a down side.

The up side is pretty obvious. It’s invigorating, fun, fascinating and hey, you can answer all those Jeopardy questions or stun your friends with the amazing trivia collection in your head.

It also contributes greatly to the story you’re creating. At least I hope it does since that’s the reason you embarked on the research in the first place, right? Hopefully the research you’ve done helps to flesh out the story (whatever story you’re telling) to give it more depth and make it more believable.

Rebecca West
Rebecca West (not Peggy)

But what about the down side? Pause for a moment and that will become obvious as well. If you have a deadline, whether self-imposed or from an outside source and you let yourself get distracted every time you stumble across something interesting that’s not on track, your productivity is going to hit the skids big time. Hours melt away like mere seconds. You get so engrossed it’s hard to pry yourself away for lunch. Think of all the interesting things you’re discovering!

But what about that productivity thing? What to do?

Well, there’s not a lot you can do other than imposing upon yourself some self-discipline. You’re a writer. You can do it. You do it already to even be a writer.

So, drag yourself out of procrastinator hell.


If you see something of interest bookmark it and return to it later as in when you need that information for another project or when you have some leisure time to just play and surf. So you might consider organizing your bookmarks a bit.

You can impose a time limit on yourself for your research. There’s no magic wand to wave that will make you pull away from things that side-track you and feed your desire for procrastination (so strong in so many writers). It’s up to you to set your own limits in order to keep your primary objective, your writing, flowing.

The bottom line? Get out there and find out things. Research, discover, and use it all to add life and color to what your write. Just remember that this is background, the anchor for what you write and don’t forget to actually write.