Research is necessary part of writing. Obviously, we write about all sorts of things we cannot necessarily have personal experience with. And then there are the things we do have personal experience with, but we want to make sure we're writing it right, or saying it right, to give readers a richer experience. Needless to say, research - while necessary - can certainly take us away from the task at hand. Whatever that task may be.
Yesterday, I got distracted researching something from Dying Embers - which is already out and people are buying it and reading it, so this isn't even something I NEED to research. It was phrasing I had used that a reader had a question about. And then I had to know where the phrase originated and perhaps how it got inserted into my lexicon. :shrug:
This morning, I got distracted looking for something to talk about on this blog. All I wanted was a psychological disorder that might lead one to a life of crime. Instead I followed the rabbit down this path and that path... Did you know there's a study linking psychological disorders and traumatic brain injury? Oh, and that anti-social personality disorder is now called 'sociopathy'? And that according to Slate, 'abnormal is the new normal' and they're totally okay with that? And there's something called Avoidant Personality Disorder - which I'm pretty sure I'm in recovery from...
Ahem. Where was I?
Ah, yes, the research distraction. I've had many a time when I was writing along nicely, churning the words out, when some tiny aspect of the story needed a little research. I spent an unmentionable amount of time researching big, white dog breeds for Wish in One Hand, for instance. (Research combined with a personal interest is the worst. Decided on the Kuvasz, btw.) Coming back to the writing after that is sometimes hard and occasionally, the whole writing session can be derailed due to one little thing, which leads to another little thing, which leads to another little thing until you start out researching varieties of wild mushrooms because the gal who found the body was trying to teach a client which ones are edible and which are poisonous, and you find yourself hours later looking at YouTube videos of cats.
One thing I've learned to do, and what the hardcore, committed writers seem to do, is instead of going off to chase the rabbit, you put a placemarker in the writing -
How do you deal with distractions? Have you ever started out looking up one thing online and then followed the rabbit down a twisted path? Where's you end up?