This week I’ve been staying with family who don’t have Internet. Yep, you heard me, NO INTERNET. This would explain my lack of web presence with exception for what I’ve been doing on my iPhone. I’m posting this from a Starbucks.
However isolating, this non-Internet week has been enlightening. It is hard to separate the Internet from writing these days. It seems that to become successful you must have a successful web presence and create a following. The “greats” never had to balance the Internet time/writing act. Shakespeare didn’t have a Twitter account and Dickens didn’t stress over his blog schedule. Could dialing back the online clutter is a good plan? I’m quickly becoming a believer.
You’d be amazed at how dependant we all are on the Internet, myself included. After I got past that non-connected feeling I grew to like it and recognize its value. Without my constant web connection I’ve been able to get through more work including catch up work on my non-fiction and revisions on my YA that both really need to be a priority for me right now.
Since I’ve been working offline I have been forced into having “online” times. These are times where I have been able to access the web. It’s been helpful planning these times. For articles I’ve been able to write everything for the most part in advance and then literally have a schedule of what needs to be accomplished once I have the Internet. This process made my Internet time much more effective and productive.
Of course I’ve been following any possible breaking news for my popular Examiner columns so that way I wouldn’t miss a story but I have been able to use my iPhone for such tasks.
In my popular writing moms workshop I instruct fellow writing moms how to avoid getting so hung up on reading articles and blogs. There is great information out there but you shouldn’t soak it all up at the expense of your writing. My method for this is to keep a draft email open and when you see something interesting simply copy the link and add it to your TBR email. This way you will have some great reading material when you need a break or want to wind down in the evening.
I’m finding that this same method can be applied to Internet time (unless when following breaking news if you cover it.) Make a list of what you need to accomplish from Internet time and prepare for it. Write blog posts/articles in advance and prioritize email correspondence. If all you are doing is posting articles/blog posts and promoting them, then you will see how quickly that can be done and you can spend the rest of your time catching up on social media avenues.
Now I am not downplaying the importance of the Internet and our involvement with it as writers but maybe we are using it more than we should. I know of many writers who go completely offline when they are writing. Before this week the idea of that made my skin crawl but now I’m really seeing the value of dialing back the online clutter.
Do you write without the Internet? When and how did you start doing so?