The Internet…Your Writing’s Friend or Foe?

We’ve been on vacation for over a week now…and the first week in Williamsburg was pretty much internet free for me. I’ve gone without the internet before. At the beginning of the summer I tagged along with my husband to a conference in the middle of nowhere, South of France. The wireless supported 30 people and over 150 mathematicians were in attendance, so I had no chance of internet access. Since I was at the beginning of my revisions for the novel, it was actually fantastic…like a writer’s retreat for one. Got up, had breakfast and coffee, wrote. Had lunch, wrote. Went for a walk, wrote some more. Was my productivity the result of an internet-free existance or a kid-free vacation?

This past week my kids were omni-present, but I still managed to get some work done. I think the lack of internet did more than make my computer exclusively a writing-machine…it also freed up my mind from some of the static it can pick up from the television, radio, websites, etc. Sure, I wished I had the internet to check in w/my friends and favorite blogs and to double check some facts (Is the place where the bullets go a chamber or a cylinder?) but I put in an * and moved on. When we got to my parents’ house, I checked my facts and finished up…and I think my work was the better for it.

I think the internet is an integral part of the writing life and building a community in this day and age…but there are times I need to do the actual writing “old-school.”

Are you a paper and pencil writer? Do you turn off the internet to get your creativity flowing? Or are you as comfortable writing online as you would be doing a write-in or writing in a coffee shop?

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6 Responses to The Internet…Your Writing’s Friend or Foe?

  1. tsactuo says:

    It’s both friend and foe. Sometimes it’s useful, motivating, inspiring, and other times it’s distracting, obnoxious, confusing. I can’t write effectively online, other than blogging. I can share what I write offline via the internet, but I generally must write when, as my kids used to say, “the internet is asleep.”

    • Honestly, I’ve gotten in the habit of turning the little wireless button on my computer to “off” when I’m doing serious writing. It’s not that I couldn’t turn it on at anytime, but it makes me conscious of having put “the internet to sleep” for a reason. But you’re right, I like the luxury of sharing what I’ve written online!

  2. I can ignore the internet, but it does help if even the temptation is gone. And I like to do my first round of edits using pen and paper. I just feel so much more connected to the story that way, but I love my computer and would fight to the death for it.

    • I seem to start my edits on a hard copy, too. I think it’s easier for me to see “the big picture” that way. Too much random scrolling and reading on my computer screen makes me a little motion sick.

  3. I do nearly all of my writing on my computer, as well as all of my revisions. I’m easily distracted by the internet, though, and would get a lot more done if I had the willpower not to keep checking what’s going on with my blog and email accounts.

    • I’m definitely more comfortable composing on the computer and I found (when I tried handwriting) that I may have lost the ability to write w/o automatically making little revisions as I go. I prefer to do “write-ins” at locations that don’t offer free wi-fi…to keep me on the straight and narrow!

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