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Research made easy: the five-click Google

Writers are fantastic procrastinators. We push papers, arrange paperclips, make those gigantic rubber band balls, and get sucked into the internet faster than the Roadrunner can outrun Mr. Coyote. We use any excuse to delay actually doing what we’re supposed to be doing: writing.

Research is another example. Yes, sometimes we need to do research for our stories or novels but too many of us can get sucked into that bottomless pit never to emerge again. I can’t count the number of times I’ve logged online to “do a little research” and find myself, hours later, knee deep in the different dialects that skinwalkers use.

In No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Daysby Chris Baty, the author shares a handy research technique he’s developed to quickly find information and to limit the time he spends researching when he’s on a deadline.

Here’s his formula: type in whatever you need to research into the Google search engine. Of the one zillion hits that come up, you get to choose FIVE links only to complete your research. In less than fifteen to twenty minutes, you can scan those five links and come up with enough information to jump back into your writing.

You can even set a timer for 20 minutes with the rule that when the timer goes off you begin writing again.

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