Research is fun

I know it might sound weird. But I kind of miss writing research papers.

There’s no logical reason for this. My job involves writing, much of which I have to do research for. I research a client’s needs, their competition and their current marketing materials and I put together a marketing plan that at times could run up to 15 pages. I conduct interviews and write articles for newsletters. Hell, even writing a billboard takes a small amount of research.

But there is something romantic, in hindsight, about writing a paper for a class – the intense need, learning for learning’s sake, staying up late or spending an entire day in the library discovering new topics or arguments.

It’s that discovery that I miss – the idea of filtering hundreds of thousands of articles and books and pieces of information, most of which were unknown to me at the beginning of the project. At my job, I deal with marketing and advertising – all the time, that’s all I research – and after a while, the answers are predictable, the plans common.

But a research paper was new territory. It was expansion; a manifest destiny of thought, my mind plowing through the basics and forming the new opinions that had always been mine for the taking.

And even more, it was the hard, cold facts – the books and magazines, microfilm and microfiche. The Internet was there, but even just 7 or 8 years ago it was limited in the vastness of information easily accessed, there for the deep search but not conducive to an intense, scholarly tome.

The actual act of organizing and developing thoughts, of spitting out knowledge that had been thought forgotten, the final spell check and read through. You would print out the paper, scan the words and feel incredibly proud, as if you’d just written a publishable pamphlet, something that could change the world. There was an excitement and thrill in spending hours and hours before the assignment was due, the first real writing deadline I ever faced. And pulling it out of the printer was a rite of passage, awash in the knowledge that I had just nailed it, presumably, and that I could rest easily for another few weeks, the adrenaline still pumping through my head as I handed it in.

I write every day. I write with purpose, and I write for pleasure. I write because I love it, and I write because I can. But I still miss the romanticism of the research paper. Just the words themselves seem scholarly.

And naturally, I used to hate them. Hindsight, right?

This was lovingly handwritten on November 28th, 2007