Saturday, December 05, 2009

I’m Not Screwing Off Online... It’s Research

The Internet is a beautiful thing for writers. Jumping into initial research has never been easier. Remember when you actually had to go to the library or bookstore before you could even start your research on any given topic? Now you can get loads of information and even narrow your search for the sources you’ll want to check out.

Of course, research is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s also networking, the latest publishing news, and constantly updated submission guidelines and listings. Woo Hoo; used to be we had to rely on months old copies of one of the market guides.

Good Internet what’s chained at my wrist that I key into with the same verve as a crack addict hitting the pipe.

And really, without it, how would I ever be bent over laughing hysterically by the news that, yes, EVERYONE no, seriously, everyone, is writing a book?

Without it, how would I find fantabulous new authors to stalk, er, umn, watch, oh – that’s not good either... admire? Yeah, that’ll work. Or new industry blogs for to amuse me:

That particular post was on writers using a typewriter, rather than word processing system – my favorite bit was this:

...Will Self says that with a typewriter, "You don't revise as much, you just think more, because you know you're going to have to retype the entire fucking thing." (I, and several of my fellow editors, believe that since the word processor came into widespread use, the tendency of manuscripts to balloon to excessive lengths has become more pronounced.)

See, all good stuff. Me thinks I do protest too much.

Here’s what I’m noticing in my own online time – it’s never flippin’ ending. I check my email whenever I’m near the computer... and being that I’m trying to write, I’m near the computer an awful lot. I check my facebook, pm people, and whenever I see something in my inbox, I have a compulsive need to take care of it, or at least read it and mentally note that I have to take care of it... and blogging, I can kind of stay away from it for days, weeks, even. But once I’m there, I follow links, check all the industry blogs... yada... fine, at least it’s productive in the sense that I get to talk to people who I like, and learn a few things, and keep up on new events in publishing.... BUUUUUUT (you knew one of those was coming, right?)

I keep getting sidetracked by stupid people. Yes, stupid. I’m not linking any of them, because they’re stupid, infuriating, annoying, dead wrong, or just toxic. (And no, I’m not talking about anyone I regularly follow or who is on my sidebar, if you made my linky list, odds are good that you rock out loud.)

Seriously, though, I do this stupid thing. Yes, I’m occasionally stupid. I run across a blogger or blog that irritates the living hell out of me. Usually it’s an ism, elitism is probably my biggest pet peeve. At one point it was a blogger who did nothing but slam the industry and individuals in it. It’s been atheists who slam people of faith, people of faith who slam every person on the planet that won’t drink their particular brand of kool-aid, pompous nitwits who denigrate anyone and everyone...

Sometimes I will comment. Sometimes I just find myself stopping in to read what’s being said. And I don’t do this all the time. One particular venue will raise my ire for a little while and then I’ll eventually stop going there to annoy myself... and then I find another one...

So here’s the thing, here’s my early New Year’s Resolution, no more procrastination by annoyance. When I find another blog that’s, full of shit, purposely inflammatory, or just generally run by someone you can’t possibly have any type of thinking discourse with – even though they swear up and down they’re the most intelligent and open minded people on the planet (sorry, eternally annoyed by this type of silliness), my aim and goal is to move on. Not to comment. Not to bookmark or check back or even participate in any way. If it incites me to that extent, I can write my own article or blog on the subject – gee, like this one.

What I realized was this was my own little sick and twisted form of procrastination. I have work to do, and when I do find time to tool around on the internet, I’d rather spend it visiting bloggers I like.

How about you guys? Do you find yourself getting off track by this lovely little demon we call progress? How do you keep yourself from time-wasting for too long?


jjdebenedictis said...

Do you find yourself getting off track by this lovely little demon we call progress?

HELL, YES. (Pardon the language.)

This is something I've been struggling with a lot this past year. So much so that...

How do you keep yourself from time-wasting for too long?

...I swore off a certain category of internet funsies a few months ago, and swore off another category about a month and a half ago.

I had tried using the program Leechblock, but once I learned how to turn it off, that stopped working for me.

In the end, it had to be pure abstinence and bloody-minded willpower. I can't even go peek at those sites anymore or I get slurped in, and that gets me back in the habit of checking them regularly.

Cold turkey, baby.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hey JJ,

Well, at least it's not just me :-)

You know, it doesn't annoy me so much that I check my email a little too regularly or even check out the blog-o-sphere. But spending large chunks of time arguing with people, or reading their ridiculously inflammatory rantings - well, wtf am I thinking with that.

Purging. That's what I'm doing. Anything that's not productive to my growth as writer or person, out it goes. We'll see how long that flies :-)

word verification: remet

Erica Orloff said...

LOL! I could have been reading about ME. This sounds so much like me, particularly annoyance, sometimes. There are two blogs that occasionally sidetrack me with my being irritated and I need to stop ever leaving comments there. LOL!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Erica,

well, at least I'm in good company :-)

I think part of it is that I enjoy a good debate - but only when ideas are exchanged (as opposed to arguing with brick walls who will never hear or consider a differing view). The problem is, there's an awful lot of people who get into those discussions more to hear themselves speak than to actually take anything away from it.

And then, sometimes I just get sucked in by people who are purposely trying to irritate people. (and the one who inspired this post was a doozy - you'd have been at least as annoyed as I was, maybe a bit more).

Merry Monteleone said...

And I fell off the wagon already.

I suck.

Demon Hunter said...

I give myself a deadline and schedule. Like I have to finish my Nano novel before Christmas, so I have my own little mini Nano going on. :-D

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Demon Hunter,

I think that's great - I usually work better under a deadline, too, I don't know why it's not working out that way for me with the fiction... On this one, it's because I had to start over from scratch... but that's not it, altogether. I think the biggest factor is that there's no set day it has to be to anyone else. And no guaranteed payment doesn't help.