Research Nerds Unite!

Why am I surprised each time I (re)discover that I am a total research nerd? Maybe I don’t think it matches who I am. If you look up OPPOSITE OF METICULOUS, which is admittedly not simple to do, you’ll see my smiling, disorganized-looking face looking back at you. For me, research equals something careful, scrupulous, thorough.

Those are not words that describe me.

But the promise of a new subject—the irresistible allure of a person never before written about in a children’s book—it just makes me giddy!

For the record, I submit this irrefutable evidence of my research nerdiness. I just arranged for copies of some primary sources to be sent to my house and (wait for it), I literally got chills when reading my credit card number aloud. Hardcore excitement elicited by the mere act of paying for copying and shipping charges.

In a related (in my mind) story, I would never call myself an optimist (yes, this is the blog of a sloppy pessimist). However, I am endlessly surprised by my hopefulness, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT when I go to sleep, that THIS will be the night I no longer suffer from the repeated wakings that have made me chronically sleep-deprived (and a wee bit cranky).

Likewise, I am surprised and tickled that I head into each book project with optimism, despite the fact that many a beloved text remains unpublished on my hard drive. Some of my favorite manuscripts—ones I consider my best work—never saw their way past editors’ desks. And yet I still enter into these early stages of a new project filled only with hope. There’s nary a naysayer in my head right now, at least regarding this project  (you should hear them go on about the state of my office).

The material should arrive next week. And I’m also hoping to hear from the subject herself, or one of her relatives. She’s in her twilight years—some might say that at 100, she’s beyond them—but I send out a wish each day that she’ll let me, a total stranger, visit her and interview her.

I get downright goofy just thinking about it.

Please come back tomorrow, when writer Jane Kohuth and illustrator Jane Porter will be my guests.

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About Audrey Vernick

Audrey Vernick writes books for young readers.
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5 Responses to Research Nerds Unite!

  1. I’m here, and ready to reunite. Sometimes I think the best researchers are the ones who aren’t maticulous, because you feel more freedom to follow a crazy trail of connections and find the really interesting stuff. On the other hand, that might just be me, justifying my sloppy, half-witted approach to research. So far, it’s worked for me. Wish I was there to share your primary resources! Now I’m getting chills too.

  2. I meant meticulous. Obviously, I am not meticulous about spelling either.

  3. I must be a R.N. because I get chills just *speculating* about who the target of your quest might be.
    Best of luck! I hope she says yes quickly. Time’s a-wastin’!

  4. Wow, Audrey, those first two paragraphs totally describe… ME! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know that being sloppy and disorganized isn’t a total deal-breaker for being a fantastic nonfiction writer. Phew! 😉 Good luck with the project! I can’t wait to hear more about it.

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