Making Time to Do Work Right, Revisited

I sat down this past weekend to determine how much literature and time I will need to read to feel comfortable writing the book. The numbers were a bit dismaying, but the exercise got me thinking about my research process.

First, the bad news: I have nearly 8,000 pages’ worth of books to plow through, covering topics ranging from art history to sculpture to space tourism. That’s a lot of reading, even at my reasonably rapid reading speed.

On the plus side, those page counts include front matter, notes, bibliographies, and indexes, most of which really don’t count for the reading count or time. So maybe it’s closer to 7,500 pages. Still, that’s a lot to read.

The other good news is that if I keep up a scheduled, daily effort, I can finish my planned research before I take a long vacation in September, even if I restrict myself to 50 pages per day. Again, I just need to make the time. At the very least, I can finish the reading pile by the end of the calendar year.

It is entirely possible that, after further consideration, I might remove a couple books from the list, either because they don’t really meet my needs or are not as “on topic” as I’d hoped.

So: can it be done? Yes. Will it be done? That’s another question.


I’m also reconsidering my planned trip to Houston to interview NASA astronauts. My budget might prevent that from happening. Zoom interviews can work, if I can manage to schedule them. Plus, there’s a Yuri’s Night event next month, where I hope to meet up with four different people I wanted to interview (three astronauts and one commercial astronaut waiting to fly). That’s bound to be cheaper than booking air, hotel, and rental car in Houston, yes? Yes.

Of course, given my experience with Yuri’s Night events in the past, I know I’ll be lucky to get time for one or two questions with each potential interviewee. Maybe I’ll shoot for one on-topic question and one request for a Zoom interview later. I can dream.


If anything, I’m learning a bit about making my research process more efficient. I also might break down and see if any of the books on my to-read list are available at the library. It’s more expensive to buy, but I have a terrible tendency to dog-ear pages and underline text in my nonfiction books, which are habits librarians rightly frown upon. Still, it might save me some money. I’d sacrifice time because I’d have to write or type out the passages right when I see them instead of waiting until later.

The writing adventure continues. How are your projects going?

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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