Friday, September 2, 2011

No Internet = more writing? Not exactly...


Once upon a time, the Internet at Yahong's house went kaput.

Being unprepared for such a tragedy, she nevertheless made the most of it and proceeded to use all her time to write, as all good writers do. Unencumbered by the distractions of the WWW, Yahong managed to finish draft three of her WIP, process beta feedback and complete a major series of revisions, all within two weeks.

Ha. I wish.

No Internet (and no data plan on the iPhone) means no compulsive email checking, no meandering off into the blogosphere and no siren calls of solitaire, sure. But that doesn't equal higher wordcounts, or even quality output. I've always thought that if I could just afford to take one of those writers' retreats, where I could cut myself off from the rest of civilization -- no distractions, no worries, no responsibilites -- my novel would practically write itself.

Wrong. Instead, when I'd reach a particularly gnarly part of the plot, I'd set aside my pencil and reach instead for a book, reassuring myself that I was creatively unblocking myself. Or I'd turn to more menial writing tasks, like a review or a blog post. In essence, I was perfectly capable of creating my own distractions.

What does this all mean? It means that you shouldn't wait for better circumstances to start writing. (Although I wouldn't exactly say lacking Internet was a pleasant situation...) If you want to write, you write. Maybe you'll be more productive at a writers' retreat, or maybe you won't be. But attending a retreat doesn't make you a writer -- putting words on paper does.

10 comments:

  1. I so agree with this. I waited a long time for 'the time to be right' before I started writing. Eventually I realised that I might not recognise the right time so, unless I wanted to become a writer from beyond the grave (although that would be pretty cool), I'd better just get on with it.

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  2. "It means you shouldn't wait for perfect circumstances to start writing" = Perfect advice! :)

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  3. A frustrating lack of Internet gave me the inspiration for one of my story ideas, but it was also the main cause of my procrastination :P I completely agree with you though - you need to make the right environment to write in.

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  4. You make a great point. When it comes down to it you can write anytime and anywhere. I write because I enjoy it, so it really doesn't take a lot of special circumstances for me to be able to do it.

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  5. True, true, and true. :-)

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  6. There are no perfect circumstances, but there are certainly easier ones: thank you, new school year!

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  7. Excellent point. If writers waited for the perfect moment to write, they'd never finish anything. A writer can write anywhere, anytime, if she wants to enough!

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  8. I agree. Sometimes it seems like people spend more time talking about the things they're going to do than actually doing them. This is why writers need to be unapologetic when it comes to putting writing first. When it's time to write, it's time to write. Period.

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  9. I have a friend who makes sure to get out of the house to write and purposefully goes to places without Wi-Fi so the Internet is not a distraction. It's a good strategy for her, but yes, you are right, in the end, no matter where you are, it just comes down to getting those pesky little words out.

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  10. I'm finding that a hop n a skip into trivia n humor on the Net makes me more willing to get back to the hard slog of editing my non-trivial, non-humorous novel. (Later I write the silly stuff, found on the Net, in my blog. And on it goes ...)

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!