The Distractions of Research

Most fiction, no matter how fictitious requires some form of research.  Among the projects that I am currently, simultaneously working on are the first and second books in what I hope to be a crime thriller series, a couple of short stories – one about mistakes, and the other about a wooden elephant of all things, plus a number of other story ideas and corporate writing assignments.  I am also using Scrivener to storyboard a number of other book ideas I have had bubbling away in the library in my mind.  

On top of all of that, I am doing what all budding authors do and building a profile / platform for myself on Facebook, this blog and Twitter … I haven’t the time for Instagram and tumblr etc as yet.

The topics on my current research agenda include windsurfing, kitesurfing, teenage pregnancy, the shipping industry between South East Asia and Australia, nursing homes, wills and estates, the Vietnam war, asylum seekers, Catholic convents, sex trafficking, drug trafficking, policing and law enforcement in a number of countries and property development – this last one both for fiction work and as part of my own wealth building strategy.  Of course I am planning to be a highly successful author but I know that could take a while, and even a healthy advance needs to be wisely invested.  That last sentence was partly to reassure my corporate friends that I haven’t completely lost my marbles!

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Anyway, that sort of research takes time, a lot of it on Google (how did we exist pre Google?), and apart from the dangers of too much research and not enough writing, I was totally unprepared for how to manage the distractions that come with using the net as a research tool.  I mean, I have always been employed in roles that require me to research, and completing a law degree required me to do A LOT of research, but I was always disciplined, on a deadline and outcome focussed, as I was juggling studying, working and three young children.  

I have only been a full-time “writer” for a few weeks, thus still have not made the transition to being disciplined with a schedule when it comes to time allocated to other tasks related to my writing – like research and blogging.  This became very apparent this morning when I looked at my browser history and saw that apart from the “legitimate” research, over the past week, I have devoted equal time to increasing my knowledge about (among other things) Suzi Quatro’s music, Rhinoceros hunting, Chinese athletes, and spider man cakes … 

So from Monday, I am going to stick to a schedule, even if I do it in my pyjamas!

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