The Research Rabbit Hole–A Guest Post by NaNoWriMo Member Alexis
Remember when we said we were going to have a NaNoWriMo member blog for us? Well here she is!
During National Novel Writing Month, the pull of procrastination is strong. Washing dishes, doing homework – all the things you might not normally want to do suddenly seem so much more appealing. When you get stuck on a detail that interrupts the flow of your writing, it’s easy to rationalize research as “productive procrastination” and switch over to a web browser. Sometimes a simple Google search will give you the answer you need, but avoid the research rabbit hole at all costs.
The research rabbit hole starts with a quick Wikipedia search. But that first search leads to another click, then another, and another…leading you deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Before you know it, you’ve spent all of your writing time reading articles on the Internet, and now you have to find a way to incorporate the new ideas that have come up.
Research is necessary, but don’t let it interfere with the actual writing. Schedule writing time during your most productive hours, and research time during your commute or downtime. If you know you’re too tired to write when you get home from a late shift at work, that’s a good time to flip through photos of plot settings. Some NaNoWriMo participants have told me they don’t connect to the Internet during their writing sessions, but I know that takes a lot of willpower. You can also start a separate document where you write down any questions that come up, or leave notes to yourself directly in the document. Deal with them later, when you feel like reading something. After all, research is meant to work for your novel, not against it, so use whatever method works for you and keep on writing.