Internet: Friend and Foe

00-3%talentI clipped this image years ago, and don’t remember any more where I got it (though it was, of course, somewhere on the Internet). It is so true! But the Internet is more than a distraction.

Don’t get me wrong – it is often a serious distraction. When I sit down at my computer, first I launch a browser and check my email, my Facebook newsfeed, my feed reader, my Twitter feed, and a whole set of web comics. I download a couple of daily puzzle games and solve them. This whole process can take half an hour. Then, while writing, I get the urge to check a feed here, look up a fact there. This can be a serious time suck.

On the other hand, the Internet has been an important source of three things that are very important.

  1. Information. I don’t mean just facts, research needed for the book, though this is important as well. I mean a lot of tips and guidance for the writing process. I have gotten so much from Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, Writer Unboxed, Paving my Author’s Road, and many others. Though I’m a long way from submission, I’m storing up wisdom from Janet Reid’s blog. I would not be ready for this upcoming draft without them.
  2. Motivation. There’s no source like the Internet for inspirational images and quotes (such as the one I highlighted above). One thing I did in preparation for July is assemble a playlist of such images, one for each day of the month. I’ll be posting them daily over on my WordWacker Facebook page, if you want to follow along.
  3. Support. Camp NaNoWriMo has allowed me to link up with ten other folks as I work toward my writing goal next month, in a group they call a cabin. They all happen to be women (Hi! *waves*), and we’ve been chatting for a couple of days now, getting to know each other and and affirming each other’s goals and plans. I’m sure that their encouragement will be crucial in the weeks to come.

So how will I manage these contradictory aspects of the Internet in my NaNo month? I’m going to begin each day with my usual scan of my feeds and updates; I know I won’t be able to skip that. I’ll check in with my NaNo cabin mates for mutual support. I’ll post my daily image on my Facebook page. Then, with this ritual behind me, I’ll shut off my WiFi and start writing. My daily goal, based on 50,000 words in 31 days, is 1,613 words per day, and I’ll allow this in two separate sittings, so a minimum of 800 words before I’m allowed to get back on WiFi. If there’s something I need to look up for what I’m working on, I’ll just make a note of it right in the file and keep going. I can come back to it later.

I’ll be posting short updates, word counts, and, of course, the daily inspiration images on my Facebook page. Here on the blog expect fewer posts, perhaps only one per week. I need to be focused on NaNo.

Wish me luck!

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3 thoughts on “Internet: Friend and Foe

  1. Good luck! I use a similar approach to avoiding the internet while writing. I allow myself time to check email, check WordPress, etc. while having my first cup of coffee. After I am fully awake, I dedicate my time to writing. I don’t turn off my WiFi (mainly because I don’t allow my cell phone in my writing area and my wife may have an emergency text), but I close everything else and commit to writing. My daily word count, my creativity, and my motivation have exploded since adopting this method.

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  2. Pingback: Four Lessons From a Year of Blogging | Word Wacker

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