Something I am truly enjoying as part of this new freelance writing life is the time I am able to invest in research.

I am a bit of a bookworm (understatement) and a genuine fan of learning. When I graduated from my first degree I felt at a bit of a loss without formal learning – or at least without learning anything useful, just corporate work nonsense. I started going to local classes in lunchbreaks and in the evenings, and have kept that tradition up since.

We’re lucky in Edinburgh to have a fair number of places running adult education courses. I’ve been to nightclasses at Edinburgh University, the Filmhouse cinema, the Royal Observatory, within workplaces, in the Library, in Museums, and so on. I’ve studied subjects as diverse as Latin, Japanese, Dark Fairy Tales, Astrophysics and Film Theory*. My interest, Masters Degree and subsequent work in Screenwriting all started with a little old nightclass in the subject.

While at the moment I can’t set aside a budget to attend formal classes, I’ve been able to devote a lot of time to researching my interests in the last couple of months. Back in 2007 my Screenwriting MA included a large research project, and this has definitely helped me hone my skills (although it was a right slog at the time).

Edinburgh libraries are proving a most excellent resource. I have a few favourites – the Central Lending Library and Stockbridge Library among them – but I’ve just signed up for the National Library of Scotland and can’t wait to sink my teeth into their collection.

As for what I’m researching? Well, anything and everything just now really, but with a concentration on local history. This is partly for my novel, but also as I’ve been delving into my family tree for a couple of months. I can’t believe how much I enjoy doing my family tree actually – every time I find someone I didn’t know about, I feel like I’m levelling up in a computer game.

Do you have a research resource you would recommend I look into?

*I just remembered that I studied ballet last year. BALLET?!

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