People ask me about deciding a topic to write on, my answer is always the same – write about
yourself it is the topic you know most about and most likely more than anyone else. When your writing
about yourself and your experience you have a head start on the research.
You can not do to much research on a topic you are going to write about, research only becomes
a problem when you use it as an excuse to start writing and I have seen that in more that a few cases.
Someone is going to start writing their book as soon as they have done a bit more research, when they
never get around to completing that research and starting to put words on paper.
Think of research as an iceberg, only about 1/10 of it is visible and the other 9/10 are below the
water but ask the Captain of the Titanic which part is more important. Just like the iceberg you don’t have
to use all of the material in your book, but you will get the stuff you put in the book right.
This next week Percy the movie depicting the fight of a Saskatchewan farmer and evil giant
Monsanto over a farmer saving his own seed or paying the technology agreement opens in theaters across
the country. I am sure that everything in the movie is factual and research to the nth degree.
It was a promo piece in last Saturday’s Free Press that had me questioning the credibility of the
movie when the spokesperson said the movie was shot on a 6 generation canola farm in Manitoba. Well
since canola was only developed as a crop in the 1970’s that makes for some short generations, and I
know farmers tend to hang on to the operation a bit longer than a decade before turning the purse strings
over to the next generation.
It was an easy mistake but to someone who knows the industry that is just not acceptable and
puts all the other facts into a questionable light.
When you sit to write make sure you have done the research, and then check the facts again,
because as sure as canola blooms yellow someone out there will know the facts and when you get one
wrong they question all the others.
I acknowledge that individuals have different points of view and it is unlikely that two people
will see the same thing at any incident, hence the old adage There are always three stides to any story,
yours, mine and the truth. There is nothing wrong with including your point of view in your writing but
don’t confuse it with the ultimate truth.
Your vision and interpretation can make interesting reading but someone else might have a
different point of view.
As Sargent Bill Friday said so often, “the facts ma’m just the facts.” Just make sure you know the