How the heck did writers get any writing done?
I've been doing some medical research for my latest project, The Karmic Connection, and I cannot imagine how long this would be taking if I couldn't do it online. On an average day of writing, I'll bring up Google or Wikipedia many, many times to fact check something or get the ideas flowing. Sometimes I'll get on Yahoo Answers or the story research board on the Absolute Write website.
A lot of what I do classifies as research: learning about things such as Quechuan wedding traditions, the protocol for administering first aid on an injured hiker, the history of a medieval church in Paris, what the inside of the Rainbow Room looks like. So many questions come up. What are some popular Estonian names for women? How much does Restylane cost and what are the side effects? How might the green room of a major television network be decorated? What kind of incense is best for clarity? What time does Chicago's O'Hare airport close?
Sometimes the Internet comes in handy while I'm brainstorming. For example, I thought about giving one of my characters red hair with blonde streaky highlights, but I couldn't really picture how that would look and whether it would work. One quick Google search and I had numerous examples. And it did look good, I'm happy to report.
It would take eons to look everything up at the library, or to make phone calls to find the answers to my questions. I have to say, I feel incredibly fortunate to be living in the Information Age!