The Internet is a wonderful thing. Period. Especially for writers.
It brings the world together with websites like Twitter and Facebook for easy connectivity to fans. It is an ever growing source of information. If you want to look for illustrations of the Kraken for your story, Google can probably look up images in less than a second. And it has changed the game for writers everywhere. No longer are writers subject to publishing their work solely in a magazine or through a publishing company, but can do so in a blog post, much like this one.
However, there is a dark side to the Internet, because while it is great that it is an endless source of information, it is also an endless source of entertainment. And I mean endless in both regards.
Which poses a risk to writers and their muses.
With that said, here’s what you can do to keep those creative juices flowing. You ready?
That’s all you have to do.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Internet. I love it to pieces. More likely than not, I use it every day. I check my email. I watch videos on YouTube.
But I’m also a writer. And I have to remember that at the end of the day, it’s my job getting that novel or that essay or that assignment done.
I’m so surprised at how many times I wake up, eat breakfast, think of something I want to write down in my journal, turn on my computer instead, check my email, end up browsing YouTube for hours, and then remember what it was I wanted to write in my journal. It’s so normal—this turning on the computer, this checking of my email—that I don’t think that I am losing any sort of time. It blends so naturally into my routine that I end up pushing the time to when I write to later in the afternoon. It’s scary. And that makes things harder.
Argh! Even now, writing this post, I got distracted by watching Smooth McGroove on YouTube!
But it’s okay. I’ll allow it. Because writing my novel is my sacred time. And that is when it needs to be disconnected the most. Because I know the moment that I click on Chrome, I’m sending a snowball down an avalanche, and it’s going to keep eating my time. If you need music, have it with you on your hard drive instead of looking for it online.
I know you can do it. But it takes a conscious effort to really put your mind into the zone. Listen to your mind and body for cues to put you there. For me, I can’t write on an empty stomach. The growling distracts me, and sometimes, big surprise, makes me go on the Internet and get this fuzzy, blah state of mind. If you need a cup of coffee or matcha green tea, take it. Whatever to get you comfortable, focused, and not browsing YouTube or Tumblr.
But also, try disconnecting the Internet from your computer, or go to your modem or connection and physically disconnect it. Give all of your attention to your novel that ten minutes, that hour, or that scene with the Kraken you wanted to write today. The Internet will always be there recommending blogs to follow and books to read. It will always put your emails in your inbox and for the most part have and endless supply of Twitter posts.
And… I… really don’t mean to sound like a downer when I say this, but you and your novel might not be always there. Computers crash. People get sick. Jobs. Family matters. And technically yes, your novel will be there for you. It always will when you write it. But my points is that we all have a lot of outside pressures tugging at us.
And I think the time we spend writing is the time we should be looking in, at ourselves, being the best people and writers we can be. Carve a space out for yourself when you write. No distractions. Maybe some light music in the back.
But above all, no Kraken pictures or cat videos until you get that chapter or those 500 words done. You hear?
Good. Go get ’em, writer.