Every author has different parts of the research and writing process that they enjoy the most.  Which means there are other parts they enjoy the least.  And it really varies from one author to the next.

My wife, a Shakespeare scholar, especially loves the reading she does in preparation for a book.  There are lots of others like her, people who just want to read, read, read, and then read some more.

I have to admit, this is not the most enjoyable part of my work, for me personally.  I do enjoy reading – which is a good thing, since I spend so many waking hours doing it; but reading for research can often be very hard, even grueling work.

That’s because serious scholarship is itself hard.  It’s not an easy read.  It’s not like reading your favorite novel.  And when you’re reading research for a book you have to read closely and intensely.  The first step, as I’ve said before, is knowing how closely and intensely: is this a book or article that I can skim over to get the basic point?  Or one that I need to read sections of very carefully?  Or one that I have to devour word by word to get the entire thing down?  Part of the skill of being a researcher is deciding which is which.  Get that wrong, and your project is sunk.

Whatever I read carefully I …

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