How to be a Lazy Writer with Math

I'm lazy. I actually thought about calling this blog Nap vs. Write originally, because I am very fond of naps, which are more fun than actually writing. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone. Writing is sometimes hard.

But you know what's worse than writing? Researching. Researching is a lot of work. Unfortunately, you can't really get away from it. If your book is non-fiction, there are lots of facts in there that you need to know. If it's fantasy, there are all kinds of creatures that need imagining, maps that need to be created, magic systems that need to be invented, or just people who need names.

But who wants research to get in the way of writing? Research is hard, and if you're a procrastinator like me, hard things should be put off as long as possible.

So what do you do if you have a character and you need a name for them? Or you have to find the date of a battle that happened in the past, but you don't feel like looking it up? Or you need to invent a new spell for your mage, but you just don't feel like thinking of a fancy name for the spell right now? What can you do?

Well, I'll tell you what I do. What I do is very nerdy and computer-programmy, because I am a nerdy, computer-programmy-type person.

I create a variable.

Let's say that I have a new character who is the long lost father of a princess, but I can't be bother coming up with a name. Well, I create a short string that is easily searchable, and I put it in as a placeholder. I use the string #info to indicate that this is a variable I'll need to look up later, and then I add on something else to say what kind of info it is.

So, long lost father of a princess: #info{{long-lost-father}}.

Easy to search later and replace with the actual name once I know it. Plus it's easy for me to figure out what variables I need to define just by searching my writing for "#info".

If you don't like programming, this solution might not be for you, but I've found it quite helpful. Here's an example in action:

I turn slowly, and catch the gaze of a tall brown-haired guy wearing a sweatshirt that says #info{{animal_shelter}} on it. He brushes back his long hair which is threatening to cover his eyes and smiles at me.

I haven't figure out the name for the animal shelter yet, but that's no problem. When I decide on the right name, I'll just search for #info{{animal_shelter}} and then plug it right in.

What do you think? Would you try this method, or is it too geeky? Let me know in the comments.