Am I weird? Don't answer that (I already know I am).
One of my favorite parts of writing a novel is the research that goes into it. (I'm THAT flavor of weird!) That's a lot of what I'm doing right now, researching. I never really know where that's going to take me. For Uncommon Counsel, I had to learn about schizophrenia, about law (and in particular legal ethics in Colorado), about opera, and about birds of prey native to Colorado. Lately I've been focused on learning about Scottish folklore and, in particular, fairy folklore. Fun stuff! (No really, it is. Trust me. (Or not.))
I know some writers hate this part. They want to just write. And that's fine, if that's the way you feel. But I also know a lot of writers love doing the research. I know this because so many post about how they hope the government isn't spying on their search history, or they comment about the strange selection of ads selected for them from the various algorithms, or they complain about how they've spent an entire day going down the rabbit hole of learning about something. That's the way it is for me (all of those).
One of the advantages of operating on the schedule of NaNoWriMo is that I know I have the time for that right now. I'm in the story development phase, and an important part of that is the research (that's what I tell myself, anyway). I have between now and the end of October (Samhain!) to learn about this, because starting on November 1 I'm going to be doing nothing but writing for 30 days. I need to know everything necessary to write the first draft (I can always go in and research details later during the editing phases).
So for now I get to have fun. I get to scratch my research itch. I get to go down all the rabbit holes, and see how what I learn changes the ideas for the story. (It does plenty, believe me!) Just today I was learning about the math behind controlled cross-breeding: what percentage of the genes in an organism come from the hybridizing species when you regularly hybridize. Obviously that has to do with Scottish folklore, right? In any case, it's fun and fascinating, and it is evolving my story. And if any of my readers speak Scots Gaelic, I'm going to have questions, just saying.
So yes, I'm weird. What's your favorite itch to scratch when you're not actually writing?