Many radio shows or blog memes ask what you would take with you to a lonely island. In a similar vein I'm currently setting up my SelfControl whitelist. As yet it only contains:
- my university library catalogue (I sit in the uni library to write)
This made me wonder:
What are the absolute bare essential online tools that a writer needs while he is writing?
I'm less interested in the different websites that different writers use, but in the turning point where too little resources will hinder you and too many resources begin to distract you or stifle your creativity.
I sometimes tried to take my laptop to the public pool or a park, but I soon found I had to go home again because being unable to look up a synonym got me stuck. The library (or the park outside the library) is a good place for me to write, because I can turn off the internet, and at the same time only have to walk a few stairs to have all kinds of printed resources available to me (or even a public computer, if I'm really need something online).
Some writers recommend going completely offline while writing, but it seems to me that being totally alone with only your "paper" (real or virtual) cannot work. You do need some resources, because you cannot have everything in your head.
So, what is it that the normal writer (who is not a genius) absolutely needs, that he cannot do without, and at what point do resources become counterproductive?
Both answers (by CLockeWork and Dale Emery) recommend to not get stuck on missing information and instead use a placeholder and continue. That is what I did while I pumped out the first draft of my novel in the course of ten days. It is filled with placeholders. Now I am writing my second draft, and the writing process consists mostly of filling those placeholders and polishing my prose. Not writing finished sentences is not an option anymore.