Sunday, May 6, 2012

Turn it Off! The Internet that is!

Most of us would go a little crazy without our internet.  It's like our entire world is wrapped up inside a "box".  As authors we depend on it for research for our books, to interact with other authors and connect with readers.  It's so easy to get sucked in because, it's enjoyable--let's face it!  All these other like minded individuals who get you!  Add to that, online is where our business lives.

But at what cost are you spending hours online?  I tease my husband because he loves to play XBOX--hey, there's nothing wrong with that--but I tell him I want to rescue him living inside a box.  He looks at me, and I know what he's thinking before he says a word.  I spend hours online, and it's not just for marketing purposes.

I converse with fellow authors, connect with them, promote them, set up tweets and other means to not only market myself but to support them.  It's so easy to get obsessive.  Sometimes it feels like there's a thousand voices screaming out to me at once--and they all need a response NOW!

Or do they?  Wait a minute...

Why did I become an author?  If you're like me it's because first and foremost you love to write.

Ask yourself, how many words have you written in a WIP in the last week?


Sadly, if things are out of balance, you may say none or very little.  Don't worry, this happens to me too!   (Hence, the more recent interest in flash fiction.)  But I don't want to let it happen anymore.

Remember this, a writer writes.  Writing doesn't always have to be the first draft, but can encompass edits.  And for some reason even though we enjoy the processes, we still find means of procrastinating (like my writing this blog post when I should be editing).  

Another thing writers can get distracted by--and discouraged by--is the constant tracking of their sales numbers.  But think of it this way:  is your watching it going to change a thing?

I appreciate that a successful author "keeps a pulse" on their book sales.  It's smart marketing, and makes business sense, but are you obsessed with it to the determent of your writing life?  Or even so much so that the obsession is affecting your health and well being?  And when the numbers don't move as fast as you like, or you see a bad review, does this have a positive affect on your motivation?

Shut it out--if only for a few hours!

So many authors, myself included, tell themselves they have to finish this, or do this or that, before they can do this...

We have to stop with that saying.  Yes, it's important that we are driven, that we have goals and impose deadlines, but again, at what cost?

The other day I was editing on my lunch break at work.  I don't get wireless internet there.  I realized at the end of the half hour how much I had accomplished.  Just a thought anyway...what would it hurt to turn the internet off for just an hour, maybe more, and really focus on the work at hand?  I bet you'd be surprised by everything that you accomplished.  (I know I have been.)

Sometimes we don't even realize how often we "pop" online while working on a MS.  One day I turned the internet off and edited 50 pages in an hour.  Then another day when I had left the internet on, I accomplished the same number of pages in six hours!  Crazy!

Anyway, let me say this, I LOVE my online community of writers and readers.  All of you are amazing and I value all of you.  But all of us can do our writing a favor, and turn that little wi-fi button off sometimes.  You might be amazed at what gets done.

Happy writing everyone!

17 comments:

  1. Wonderful advice Carolyn. I'm guilty as charged. My plan is to create a writing plan, i.e. Writer's Digest Community promotion on Wednesdays, Twitter stuff on Tuesdays, Fantasy Groups on Fridays, Facebook for thirty minutes each day, then turn it all off and write every day!

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    1. Excellent resolve! I endeavor to do the same thing. It's got to the point where I need to.

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  2. Great advice! I know I often spend too much time online. I tell myself I'm just going to check something real quickly and be done, but two hours later, I'm still on facebook or reading blogs or ... I think I'm going to give turning off the wifi a try. :-)

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    1. Oh, this happens to me all the time! I tell myself everything in balance, and am still striving for this, but for the sake of my writing I must : )

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  3. Great post, Carolyn! Not sure if you saw the post on FB, but I was forced into an internet shutdown the other day, lol. Big thunderstorms can have that effect. I think we fit 20 hours of family time into five!

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    1. I recall seeing something about the storm : ) Great for you Kirkus. Were you "shaking" from withdrawal at first? lol

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  4. Wonderful advice and a good reminder! Thank you. I try to unplug for writing, as well as for quality time with friends and family, and to quiet so much of the "noise" that bombards us. Thanks for your inspiration to renew this effort!

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  5. Hi Carolyn
    When I first started writing, I used my old laptop that has MS Word 2003 on it to write and used the newer laptop for internet, but lately have been writing on the new one, so the internet distractions tend to get in my way, so for me it's back to the old laptop.

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    1. You know that's a fabulous idea! I try hitting my wi-fi button off (which is easy with this laptop) but it's just as easy to turn it on too.

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  6. In order to log more words on the WIP,I had to start leaving all my fav Internet Explorer windows closed. It's worked wonders.

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  7. Definitely good advice. When I'm editing, I either print the particular chapter and do all of my edits by hand, or if I'm trying to edit for content/flow, I put it on my Kindle. That way I don't have the distractions of the internet and when I go to input the changes, I tend to stay focused better because I already know what I'm going to write - I just have to follow my notes, I don't have to think that much. I'm still trying to find a good way to sign off when writing (I'm supposed to be finishing a scene right now and am instead commenting on your blog). I used to write by hand and then type it up, but that tended to create a lot of flow issues.

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    1. I've really come to discover my Kindle as a terrific asset for editing as well. Somehow seeing it on there it becomes more of the finality and makes me more judgmental. I haven't tried it chapter by chapter though, but will be sending my MS to my kindle for review just before forwarding to my editor.

      The bonus like you said no internet. Well, technically you can go on, but it's a pain through there directly lol

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  8. This never happens to me!
    I´m way too disciplined to have my attention shifted toward, say, checking up on my sales, tweeting, searching for new ways of exposure, chatting through Facebook or read someone´s blog post about being side focused... oh...?

    Forget, I said anything... gotta go... writing to do...

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    1. Oh, hoping you're writing now ; ) I hear you, though, WAY TOO easy.

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  9. It's ironic. I got up at seven this morning with the intention of getting some writing done. Now instead, I'm online reading about how I shouldn't be online. Obviously, I'm in need of this advice.

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