Since 2003 I wrote thousands of articles for websites and much more. Along the years, many problems appeared. One of them was the fact that too much research was done.
Generally, when you start writing, you start to do research. During research, some crazy thoughts pop up, like:
- After I am an expert, I can write about it.
- I just need to write an extra book.
- If this is something I write about, I have to read every single article I find.
The truth is that there are validity to all the thoughts that come through your mind as you start writing. You do want the article to be great so you do want to do enough research. However, there is always “too much research”.
Many of the great writers I know simply do too much research. The better you are at writing and the more you are paid for it, the more time you waste on research that is not actually needed.
Research Is Addicting
As you learn something that is new, the brain experiences a surge of dopamine. Psychologists will tell you that this is causes or controls pleasure. The problem is that we now know thanks to recent studies that dopamine actually causes people to seek pleasure, not experience pleasure.
Simply put, when you learn new things, the brain starts to look for more. You just end up looking for more and more. You end up addicted to research.
Do You Spend Too Much Time Doing Research?
I do not know of any scientific sign that you do too much research. I really do not think someone analyzed this. However, based on my personal experience, some signs that you spend way too much time doing research for something you want to write are:
- You feel a pressure that you have to read many articles and books as soon as possible.
- You did a lot of research but cannot actually remember much of it or where to find the information you want to use when writing.
- As you write, you are blocked. You simply cannot write something that makes sense.
- You feel that you want to write something that is original but confidence disappears and you start thinking that you cannot add anything useful to what you already wrote.
- As you write, you only manage to add some sentences and then you look for more research.
Stop Doing Extra Research
When you do too much research, you need to stop your brain from looking for more. A really simple way to do this is to take notes as you read something. We use computers so it is really easy to use copy-paste to add the parts that you feel you will need in a Word document.
One of the best ways to process the information you read is to write. After reading something, if there is good information that you want to use, write about it and mark the reference.
A really common reason why writer’s block appears is that there is just too much input. You basically did not process all that you read or found. If you research information for 3 days and then you start writing, there is not much processing that happens. It is also quite possible that you forgot something that was really important for your article.