Research is the New Black

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research and only a little writing on my Marriage Kit project. The research is interesting and fun, and finding things that validate my argument are essential to making the book a success, but I miss the writing part. For the past week, I’ve been organizing myself, making a makeshift outline (something I never do as I’m a pantser), deciding what I really want to focus on and say. So far, I’ve identified the areas I most want to discuss, started pulling out scriptures I may want to use and researching them, writing down any insights that strike me while studying this, and trying to find further resources.

The one thing I’m worried about with the research is hitting a wall. For this project, there are a lot of people I want to talk to–counselors, matchmakers, ministers, married couples, singles ministers, singles. For the more professional people, if I can’t get information from them, it could halt my progress.

But I’m not thinking about that. I’m pushing on…and I’m focusing only on this project, whether I’m writing or researching, I’m putting my focus on one thing at a time and one project at a time…finally.

So, that’s why I’ve been a little silent here. I will try to update more as I navigate my way through this process.


Get Out of There, Me!*

*Please excuse the horrible grammar of this post title–there is a reason for it. Thanks, Management.

So, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between projects again. After writing a post that seemed to indicate I was back on the college memoir “for real,” I’ve actually been working on the marriage kit book. I know, I know: I’m such a tease. 😉 Here’s the thing I’m already having trouble with: I can’t seem to keep a neutral voice.

Anyone who knows me, or follows my relationship blog or personal blog, knows how I feel about marriage. It’s not hard to tell that I take it seriously and feel the institution is still important, even though I’m not yet married. I don’t think that my stance is wrong; far from it. The problem is that what this book is about is about exploring marriage, what makes it work, what doesn’t work, how and why are people still marrying in an age rife with divorce and discussions on whether or not marriage is obsolete. I want to write this as more of an investigation of marriage, an impartial telling of what I find, not a passionate defense of what I believe–at least in these initial phases. At this point, I’m trying to damp down my incurable romantic self and get “just the facts, ma’am.”

I recently finished reading One Pefect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. Despite the provoking title, it’s actually an investigation of the bridal industry from top to bottom, as well as the origins of “traditions” we associate with getting married and what weddings/marriage signify from an anthropological and sociological standpoint. The author doesn’t give much of her opinion, except in sarcastic asides, until the epilogue. I think this style would fit perfectly with what I want for the marriage kit project. Although, I’ve kept the interviews neutral, I’m finding it difficult to keep other areas impartial.

Does anyone else have this struggle with non-fiction, or does anyone struggle with voice in general? What could I do to strike the right tone with this? What do you do to establish the voice or tone of your work?