Sunday, May 6, 2012

Turn it Off! The Internet that is!

Most of us would go a little crazy without our internet.  It's like our entire world is wrapped up inside a "box".  As authors we depend on it for research for our books, to interact with other authors and connect with readers.  It's so easy to get sucked in because, it's enjoyable--let's face it!  All these other like minded individuals who get you!  Add to that, online is where our business lives.

But at what cost are you spending hours online?  I tease my husband because he loves to play XBOX--hey, there's nothing wrong with that--but I tell him I want to rescue him living inside a box.  He looks at me, and I know what he's thinking before he says a word.  I spend hours online, and it's not just for marketing purposes.

I converse with fellow authors, connect with them, promote them, set up tweets and other means to not only market myself but to support them.  It's so easy to get obsessive.  Sometimes it feels like there's a thousand voices screaming out to me at once--and they all need a response NOW!

Or do they?  Wait a minute...

Why did I become an author?  If you're like me it's because first and foremost you love to write.

Ask yourself, how many words have you written in a WIP in the last week?


Sadly, if things are out of balance, you may say none or very little.  Don't worry, this happens to me too!   (Hence, the more recent interest in flash fiction.)  But I don't want to let it happen anymore.

Remember this, a writer writes.  Writing doesn't always have to be the first draft, but can encompass edits.  And for some reason even though we enjoy the processes, we still find means of procrastinating (like my writing this blog post when I should be editing).  

Another thing writers can get distracted by--and discouraged by--is the constant tracking of their sales numbers.  But think of it this way:  is your watching it going to change a thing?

I appreciate that a successful author "keeps a pulse" on their book sales.  It's smart marketing, and makes business sense, but are you obsessed with it to the determent of your writing life?  Or even so much so that the obsession is affecting your health and well being?  And when the numbers don't move as fast as you like, or you see a bad review, does this have a positive affect on your motivation?

Shut it out--if only for a few hours!

So many authors, myself included, tell themselves they have to finish this, or do this or that, before they can do this...

We have to stop with that saying.  Yes, it's important that we are driven, that we have goals and impose deadlines, but again, at what cost?

The other day I was editing on my lunch break at work.  I don't get wireless internet there.  I realized at the end of the half hour how much I had accomplished.  Just a thought anyway...what would it hurt to turn the internet off for just an hour, maybe more, and really focus on the work at hand?  I bet you'd be surprised by everything that you accomplished.  (I know I have been.)

Sometimes we don't even realize how often we "pop" online while working on a MS.  One day I turned the internet off and edited 50 pages in an hour.  Then another day when I had left the internet on, I accomplished the same number of pages in six hours!  Crazy!

Anyway, let me say this, I LOVE my online community of writers and readers.  All of you are amazing and I value all of you.  But all of us can do our writing a favor, and turn that little wi-fi button off sometimes.  You might be amazed at what gets done.

Happy writing everyone!