by Vickie McDonough
Yesterday day we touched on the first five tips for Effective Research Trips, and today, I’d like to continue our conversation with the final five hints. If you missed those, check yesterday’s blog post.
6. Talk to the locals. They love to chat about their town and its history. Ask them questions and ask if they can refer you to someone else in the know. If you make a good connection with someone, you might also ask if they’d mind giving you their email address is case you have questions later.
7. Don’t overlook college research centers. I visited the Carroll Library on the campus of Baylor University in Waco to view part of The Texas Collection while researching my books for the Texas Trails series. The workers there were extremely helpful, and I found lots of fodder for my stories.
8. Take an envelope with you to keep all your receipts in. Those tiny buggers can easily get lost and then you’ll lose a tax deduction. I also like to take a letter size plastic envelope with a Velcro closure when I travel. I put all my organizational papers, hotel reservation info, and maps in it so I can find them easily.
9. Visit tourist information centers. You can find great maps there, information on local sites, and sometimes historical info. The people who work in the centers are often a wealth of information too.
10. Have fun. Take some time to do something just for fun. Don’t work your whole trip. Visit a tourist site, see a local show, and enjoy yourself.
Did you know that if you’re actively working toward becoming a published writer that you can deduct a chunk of your expenses when you take a research trip? Be sure to check the laws in your state to know exactly what you can and can’t deduct.
I’d like to give a special thanks to the ladies of the 19th Century Writers Loop who helped me brainstorm ideas for this article.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of 24 books and novellas.
She is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. Watch for her new books from Moody Publishers, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of another new series from Guidepost/Summerside, Pioneer Promises, set in 1870s Kansas.