The Internet Giveth and the Internet Taketh Away

I’ve been online so much the last few weeks, peeps, I’ve burned out from it. Consequently, I’m trying a different work pattern: to get necessary communication done before Frank goes to school, and have him disable the modem for me during the day. The result?

  • More writing done than average 🙂
  • Improving mental health and a cleaner home 🙂
  • Feeling disconnected from the writing community 🙁
  • 140+ emails that arrived in my inbox in one day 😮

A hundred and forty!!! How is this possible? I can handle it, but I can’t help but wonder what awaits me if/when I’m published.

On the Internet giveth side, besides all your lovely comments and attention for Liz  — thank you! I always feel a sense of responsibility to do well by the people I interview —  can you tolerate three squees? If only because I need to pass on my appreciation?

1. On Huffington Post, an article filed by Zoe Triska of Writer’s Relief, called Writer Wednesday: How To Write A Killer First Sentence To Open Your Book includes, in her connecting links, my post on Twitterscaping. That was a lovely surprise.

2. Laurie Hutzler, whose website does a wonderful job of analyzing story and crafting an approach to characterization, gave a nice shout-out to Tartitude in a post about Power of Reason characters.   

3. Also on the Huffington Post, Kim Michele Richardson, author of Thoughts on Crafting the Unbreakable Child, wrote an article on Crafting the Unbreakable Writer. If you remember, I interviewed Kim in January, and she chose to quote part of that post and link to it. 

Kim tells me AOL bought out Huff Po this week and its readership is now 250 million. Can you imagine how her fingers must shake when she hits “enter” for those posts?


Now, I have not managed to find an Internet blocker that is compatible with our browser and which I can program to get me offline for clumps of time, but I want one. How do you manage your online time? Does your self-discipline eclipse mine — admittedly, not difficult to accomplish — or have you evolved coping techniques to increase your productivity?

Tell me, peeps are you hot or are you cold for the Internet?

16 thoughts on “The Internet Giveth and the Internet Taketh Away

  1. Congratulations on the Internet giveth part…. It has indeed been very kind to you!

    As for the taketh part? I have to admit that I don’t get this part (and I don’t mean this judgmentally). I used to have to tell my kids to turn off the [insert TV, computer, video game, etc] and [insert do your homework, clean your room, take out the garbage, etc]. I have to at least be as responsible as I expected them to be. The only time I have a hard time walking away from the computer is if I am writing or doing research. Or cleaning my office, LOL! For me, Netflix, my Kindle or my DVD collection can actually be as much of a distraction as the internet.

    Have you tried a kitchen timer? I find when I am procrastinating, sometimes it is helpful to set the timer, work on a task for a certain amount of time (whether it is cleaning, writing, etc), then reward myself with something I want to do.

    Do you want us to stage an intervention? 🙂 If all else fails, there must be an internet addiction support group somewhere near you. They say that admitting that you have a problem is the first step, LOL!

    1. I use a timer for two things: cleaning and writing. Sometimes it’s so hard to start those two activities. I tell myself just do one hour at a time. It works. I’m motivated and hard to distract with that timer ticking.

  2. Congratulations on all your well-deserved mentions!

    I have to use the Internet for research, so I’m like Glinda, I have to stay plugged in when I’m writing. It also helps me to stay on top of e-mail by deleting or answering immediately. I’ve been multi-tasking for so long, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.

    I just use self-discipline and when it’s time to write, it’s time to write. I have been curbing my online time to get more done and it’s working. However, considering that I interact with people more online than off (it’s that hearing-thing again), it’s nice social interaction for me. Keeps me from hoarding pennies and building bombs. 😉

    Most of the time, I consider online time instant gratification whereas working on my novels is more of a long-term gratification. That keeps me focused sometimes.

    I’ll join Glinda in staging an intervention, if you would find that helpful! 😉

  3. Thanks for the input, ladies!

    To be clear, it’s not the Internet that’s the problem so much as me.

    (It’s like that saying about guns not killing people, but people killing people.) I’m trying to observe what happens, and it seems to be this: I begin with justifiable and time-efficient use of the Internet, but whenever I hit a writing issue which provokes anxiety, I stall by doing “just one more thing”. It might even be something legitimate, but there are certain writing obstacles I can’t work through if I’m interrupted — either by family (a big issue lately), or myself.

    I’m working on the former, but it’s the latter which has posed the most problems. Once the fear-escape-through-Internet cycle has begun for me, it’s difficult to stop. Hence the blocks of time being required. I *think* I’ve settled on a reasonable word goal for the day. My goal is to do it, no matter how execrable, and then permit myself the socialization I so enjoy. I am very, very grateful to all the good things the connectivity brings, I just need to learn how to work with my brain better.

    If that fails, yes, I’ll ask for help! LOL. And no, I don’t feel judged by either of you, thanks! It helps to learn how other people think, even if their solutions might not end up working for me. 🙂

  4. Most days time on the ‘net is a bit of a luxury for me. This requires being very selective about the sites I visit and the emails I respond to. (You made the cut!) My inbox has a lot of emails ‘I’ll look at later.’ If I see them pining away a few days later it’s time to either open or delete them.

    Delete is now a survival skill! I’ve just tweeted that.

    Yet somehow the new message count stays high. Sometimes you have to use the ‘find email’ function (in Hotmail) and delete entire groupings. If you do this more than twice to the same address you probably should drop out of that mailing list.

    Jan, when you become uber-famous you’ll be able to hire people to edit your inbox. Treat them well.

    1. Phyllis, I’ve gotten pretty good about deleting and filing, but even at 10 seconds a peek, 140 e-mails adds up! I think you’re right about decreasing their number.

      As for me making the cut, I hope you know I’m honored. 🙂 Re the famous bit: hahahaha. You’re such a joker. 😉 Thank you for the laugh.

  5. Jan, I am the same way — I have a hard time walking away sometimes. I find that if I put my computer in a different room (out of sight) it helps. When I am working and not researching, sometimes I’ll use my ‘old’ computer with the broken modem – or go away to a place without internet connection.

    1. Liz, since you’re a model of efficiency, that’s inspiring. Thank you. Do you know, today I asked my son to disable the modem, but he forgot! I didn’t discover it until I asked him to turn it on again. Apparently I might be trainable. 🙂

  6. Um, yes. The Interwebz. This is a huge problem for me as well. I love the community I’ve found via Twitter and blogs, and I’m not just trying to rationalize my time online when I say that I’ve learned more than I could ever measure about the craft and business of writing from these activities.

    But jeepers, it’s a black hole in the fabric of space-time. I give myself a ten-minute limit, and forty-five minutes later I’m asking myself why I never seem to have the big chunks of time for my writing that I used to. Hmm…

    I like your new approach. Maybe I should try something like that. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

    1. Tracy, there was a blocker I found and the trial period was fantastic. I could tell it to block the Internet for all but a half hour twice a day, and have someone else set the password, so it could be changed in an emergency. Alas, when the trial expired, they took my money and did not send the license. Two e-mails have not been answered and their phone number’s mailbox is full. It cost me $15 but I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I could get it.

      Hope you find a solution that works for you.

  7. Hola Jan!
    It depends on my mood. The net can be a giant time suck. I’ll glance at the time icon on the bottom of my screen and think, geez…I’ve spent two hours reading FB, my favorite newspapers, writing blogs and not writing. I feel especially bad if the house is a mess and the cupboards are bare. I do know I need my daily reads to kick me off each day. I can’t write without getting the fix first.

    1. Hola, Jennifer. Great to see you!

      I know some people wind up for writing through reading, but I’m not one of them. If I don’t begin writing soon, I lose momentum, and then it’s hard to recover. And those lost hours happen all too easily.

    1. Glinda, thanks for sharing that. It outlines some of the future choices I anticipate/hope I’ll have to make some day. I do think it’s about setting boundaries, and knowing yourself enough to know which are the most valuable. I’ve been doing some thinking about that, and it’s the casual reading I want to most cut back on.

  8. You’re getting famous all over the place! Good for you! That’s pretty darned impressive! (and that’s a lot of exclamation points for only three sentences). My will power is an odd thing… i mostly do my cruising online from work… which is bad bad bad. On the other hand, it doesn’t interfere with my writing *shifty* I still swear by writing from the bathtub.

    1. Oh, thanks, Hart, but I wouldn’t say famous. It’s nice to have signs, though, that I’m not shouting into the wind. I’m sure you know the feeling!

      And I can see the bathtub would work, both from a conditioning and anti-electrical device perspective. You’re certainly productive!

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