As far as I see, there are two extreme methods of finding out whether someone has already published your idea:
Read everything that has ever been written, and then decide whether any of it corresponds to your idea. Advantage: You’ll be 100% sure that no one has written your idea before you try to publish it. Disadvantage: You’ll be dead before you’re done reading.
Search your memory for whether you’ve read something like it. Advantage: You’ll be done searching in a matter of seconds. Disadvantage: not very fault-proof at all.
Obviously, the optimal search method must lie somewhere between these extremes, and obviously the optimal approach will employ searching keywords.
I am wondering what the optimal approach is, and whether there is a good guide on this. I don’t want to waste many hours on sifting through other people’s writings if there is a more efficient way to do it. I’m sure that searching like this is a skill in and of itself. I’d like to become better at it.