Whether you’re writing a research paper or a lengthy email, it’s easy to get sidetracked by a quick Google search to confirm that one detail you need. When that urge comes up, don’t give in.
Photo by Alexandre Dulaunoy.
As design blog 99u points out, research doesn't need to be integrated into the writing phase of your project. The structure, verbiage and style of a written piece are distinct elements from the facts. All are important, but each has their place. To quote Cory Doctorow:
Researching isn't writing and vice-versa. When you come to a factual matter that you could google in a matter of seconds, don't. Don't give in and look up the length of the Brooklyn Bridge, the population of Rhode Island, or the distance to the Sun. That way lies distraction -- an endless click-trance that will turn your 20 minutes of composing into a half-day's idyll through the web. Instead, do what journalists do: type "TK" where your fact should go, as in "The Brooklyn bridge, all TK feet of it, sailed into the air like a kite." "TK" appears in very few English words (the one I get tripped up on is "Atkins") so a quick search through your document for "TK" will tell you whether you have any fact-checking to do afterwards. And your editor and copyeditor will recognise it if you miss it and bring it to your attention.
Part of learning to write well is realising that you don't have to write the words in order for them to be in the right order. If you hit a stride while you're writing, don't ruin it with Google.
Write. Then Research [99u]