Writing Tips

Don’t Drown in Research!

It’s so easy to get lost on the internet. Trust me, I know. I click on to look up the average lifespan of a toad and I get stuck on Wikipedia for an hour, and then I find myself clicking through the internet for absolutely no reason while my story sits in a lonely corner, waiting for me to return and give it some attention. Research is often one of the most fun parts of writing, but it can be a time-suck, especially if you let it get out of control.

How do you control it then? I admit I’m not the best at controlling my research sprees, and a search for the types of trees in Britain becomes reading up on British monarchs and wondering what William and Kate might have named their child if it had been a girl (I’m betting Elizabeth Diana or Diana Elizabeth). The point here is that you can’t let the research get out of control. So control it!

  • write down relevant information
  • forcefully stop yourself from clicking more, unrelated links (just close the window!)
  • keep the internet browser closed except to research
  • use a program like the StayFocused app on Google Chrome to block certain websites for a certain period of time. It’ll keep you off Facebook at the very least.
  • keep an eye on your time – time management really helps keep you on the ball. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to look up a piece of information
  • rewards! Reward yourself for staying on track.

Mostly it’s just important to try to keep yourself on track. Get someone to help you if you need it. Slap yourself on the wrist if you can’t do it, and use rewards to help it along. Research is one of my favorite parts, but if you’re not careful, it can eat up a lot of your time. Just be careful.

What are some ways you control your researching time and try not to get distracted?

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Drown in Research!

  1. This is so true. I’ve seen more than a few writers come through my local writing group who have gotten caught up in research for years. It can become self-sabotage after a point. These are great tips to keep moving forward with the actual writing!

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