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Writers write. That we know. But there’s a lot they have to do before writing. There’s research, for one, not to mention all those little procrastinations that they tell themselves are actually helping the creative process.

No less an authority than the great Lawrence Block said, “Writers work all the time.” But often that work doesn’t look like work.

Let Block explain:

Take the other day, for example. What did I do with myself? How did the busy little bee improve each hour? Just what action did I take to put words on the page and bring money into the house?

Well, let’s see. I read a couple of books and a magazine or two. I watched a ball game on television. I got wet in the Gulf and dried off in the sun.

What’s that? You say it doesn’t sound like work?

A lot you know.

Take the reading, for example. Now, a lot of reading is research. Sometimes it’s specific research, when I want to learn something that I need to know in order to write something I’m working on, or planning to work on. Sometimes it’s general research, like reading a book on precious and semiprecious gemstones because I frequently write books about people who steal such things. And sometimes it’s not exactly research, but it’s a matter of keeping up with what other people in my field are doing.

Mr. Block has published in excess of 100 books, so whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

Go on, keep up the “research.” You never know what will come in handy.

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