Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Internet Diet Works Rather Too Well

Last week I posted how I'm trying to cut down on my Internet use - less surfing, more writing has been my motto recently. And it's working. This morning I got up, pottered around, started to think about the day ahead, all that stuff when it gradually dawned on me that I hadn't been on line at all yesterday, and hadn't blogged today. Oops.

It's interesting how disconnected one can become from things. This time last year, Twitter and blogging were dominating my life. But I've missed out the last 24 hours of computer use completely. Why? I've been doing other things - teaching, some clothes shopping, meeting friends, chatting with my children. I think it's called Real Life.

On the whole it's better to have a Real Life than a Virtual one. However, it's also easy to slip away from writing. One day goes by, then another, and soon it's been a whole week without writing. Then a month. The project languishes. The longer it's left to languish, the further away it becomes. It can get so far away that the guilt about not finishing turns into vague regret for things left undone.

I've been there. I spent the first 20 years or so of wanting to be a writer not doing much writing. Lots of first chapters and unfinished short stories are stuffed into a box file on the top of a cupboard, all of which were allowed to fade away. The good news is that the situation is easily reversed. You just have to put guilt, regret, whatever to one side and get writing. The more you write, the more you want to write and the easier it becomes (a bit like exercise, so I've been told). So here's my blog post for today, later than usual, but not forgotten.


Jim Murdoch said...

I wrote to a friend about this only yesterday. She had gifted me a book and it had been about ten days and I hadn’t written a thank you letter and so I set aside an hour to write to her. In the letter I outlined my writing day and how much time I feel I need to devote to trying to keep up the appearance of an online presence – yes, that’s a good way of putting it – because I’m really not a particularly social person and I’m not entirely convinced that the effort I expend trying to come across as sociable does a whole lot of good in the long run or maybe I’m just not very good at it. But every day I devote two or three hours to reading and commenting on blogs, trying to find something to put up on Facebook and answering e-mails. All in an effort to build a following. Yesterday I had to go out in the morning and came back to 77 entries in my RSS feedreader. I do find it more of a burden than a pleasure I have to say.

I am like you in some respects in that I spent more years playing at being a writer than anything else. Still I just learned that Anita Brookner didn’t publish her first novel until she was 53 and so there’s hope.

Stroppy Author said...

Sadly, writing means using the computer and that leads quickly down the slippery slope into twitter and Facebook and blogging and convincing yourself it is all useful platform-building stuff. No computer = no writing. Vicious circle.

Anonymous said...

Swop box file for computer folder and this could be me. At the moment I'm making a real effort to get all those forgotten/abandoned bits and pieces completed and subbed.

I agree with you about real life v virtual life but we live in a fairly isolated spot and, although blogging and the internet shouldn't take priority over actual writing, it is a wonderful way of keeping in touch with fellow writers, markets etc.

How did we manage without it?

Cara Cooper said...

Facebook etc can be such a total timesuck. I try only to access FB on my iphone, it's the least comfortable way of looking at it so I'm not tempted to spend too long on there!

womagwriter said...

Yes, like exercise. And weirdly, the more you exercise, the more energy you have for writing as well!