I’ve heard so many writers say “I can’t work on my novel, I have to write these other articles and make money, I have no time!” Oh, but not so fast! I used to think the same thing. Then, I started having dreams about my book. I mean literally, I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. This novel just wanted to be written, I guess. And it’s a great idea. But how in the world am I supposed to work on a novel when I’m trying to make money? I mean I’m a freelance writer, right? Aren’t I supposed to be finding clients and making money that way?
Indeed. But then I discovered something. Today, I worked out of the house and decided to do a few hours of work over at the local cafe. (Panera, anyone?) I went over there to work on my novel a little bit, hoping that the characters would let me sleep for awhile if I let them out of their creative cubicles in my brain and allowed them to bleed through to the page for a time. Then, as I was working on my novel, I thought to myself…wait a second. I could be making money while researching my novel!
“Well that’s all good and dandy for you,” someone says, “but my novel is too weird, too fantasy-based, I don’t need to study anything to write it.”
I disagree. First of all, my book is starting to turn out like Stephen King, George Lucas, and Tolkien got together and went okay, let’s see what we can come up with. It’s so bizarre. It’s got shape-shifters, haunted mansions, different species of humans, Stonehenge, astrological mythology, Celtic mythology, different animals, Vaudeville, and three different cities, and I’m just getting started. So how in the world could I possibly need to research?
I’ve figured that I’m looking at enough research to write a ton of articles. Like, minimum 200. How? Consider the novel you’re writing – or want to write – and ask yourself if any of the following apply.
Sometimes, it’s nice to use real places as a template for an imaginary place. Or, perhaps you want to set a portion of your novel in a real place entirely. What would you need to know about the place to really immerse your readers? Where it is? The history? Places to see? Landmarks? Travel in and around the city? Living in the city? You potentially have quite a few travel, real estate, and historical articles right there. You’ll need to know about these places anyway, right? So why not write articles on them and submit them to Constant Content or Yahoo! Voices?
Circus actors? Waitresses? Real estate agents? Cruise ship performers? Whatever your characters do for a living, you’ll probably want to know a little something about it. So write articles concerning that area. For instance, if you have characters that work in the real estate industry, you could write about what a real estate broker does, how to become one, etc. Those articles sell well and obtain a lot of views, so you can make some money while gaining an in-depth understanding of your characters.
If you are thinking about having any portion of your story based on or set in another time period, you have plenty of material for some great articles. For instance, do you know the clothing of the time period? Major events of that period? Cultural differences? Linguistic differences? If you’re going way back, as in ancient periods, what about the different religious beliefs. Mythology? Geography? You see, you have so much you need to know to create a world – so get to writing about it. You can sell your articles, but you can also keep them for reference material as you go to write your novel.
What’s in a Name?
Nowadays we seem to have names that come from everywhere. From fruit to traditional names, people have almost no barriers when it comes to naming their children anymore. But in different time periods, you’ll have to research names. Even if you’re going to create a completely different world, you might have to come up with names inspired by Gaelic or Roman names. Do some articles on names and their meanings to help decide, or write about the different names in a certain culture.
These are just a few of the things you can find to write about. Even if your story is completely made up, everything is inspired by something. If your story is about dragons and strange creatures in a mythical land, there is literally research to be done about dragons. No joke. Some of the strangest things are most popular and sell the best, because so few people research it. Will you have to do some unrelated work as you go along? Probably. But for the most part, you can write a whole lot (and likely sell a whole lot) of articles just doing research for your novel.
Have any of you found awesome ways to get paid while researching your novel? If so, let us know below!
Until next time, happy writing!
PS: Next time, I’ll have a screenshot-type video showing you how I organize my day/month using Google Drive and Google Calendar. I’m assuming people have at least a general idea about how to use these two programs – if I’m wrong, let me know, and I’ll do a primer course in Google Drive first! Excited to start bringing some new media your way so you can give your eyes a break from reading all these posts. 🙂