Every time a criminal investigation uses computer searches as evidence I cringe. When I’m writing, Google is always with me, and I look up the most bizarre, disturbing things. A recent pull from my search history included:
- Popular street drugs for teens
- Abortion laws in Texas
- Most common ways to die in your 30s
- How much is a prostitute in Oklahoma City?
- Ways to hide money from your spouse
- You know he’s cheating when articles
- Slang words for vagina
- Was Seinfeld still running in 2001?
- Can you inject cocaine?
- What happens when newborns drink cow’s milk?
- Can cord blood be used more than once?
I could keep going … it doesn’t paint a complimentary picture, does it? I’d surely be convicted of whatever crime they had me for.
Every time I Google something, or hop on Wikipedia, or plow through blogs by experts, I’m in awe of writers who did their research prior to the advent of the internet. Sure, they aren’t at risk of going to jail for a crime they didn’t commit, but think of ALL THAT TIME.
And it isn’t just research. I rely on the Grammarly Blog for things I learned in school but failed to retain; Urban Dictionary for access to words I’m not cool enough to know; Merriam-Webster for when my spelling is so off even spellcheck is like, “WTF?”
Can you imagine being a writer before these functions existed: find/replace, document maps, cut/paste? When I finish a book, there’s a running list of words I fear I’ve over-used. (For WHATEVER HAPPENED TO LUCY BISCARO? it included pickle—the result of an interesting mix of sandwich scenes and conundrums– and snot.) If I had to slog my way through the entire manuscript for pickle and snot references, I’d have gone insane. What would my poor husband and kids do if I lost my mind? Now, some argue that happened a long time ago … and my search history backs them up.
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