Tyranny of the internets

A blogger I’ve enjoyed for some time now pulled the plug this week. I was sad but not surprised. The self-imposed deadline of blogging is kind of a grind, I’ve discovered, which perhaps contributed to her decision. She also cited her own disinterest, which was in fact present in her increasingly rare posts.

One of the great qualities of her blog was its focused niche area. She occasionally posted on topics outside of design, but more or less stuck to the same sphere. I admire this quality because it suggests that the writer has an identity for the project.

In counterpoint, I don’t know what my blog is about. And I don’t have a readership (with apologies to Alex). Then why even blog?

Well. As a writer, it’s in my best interest to establish and maintain a web presence, which could be very useful down the line when I’m shopping work around (and scoring my own stash of rejection letters). But I also made a conscious decision back in December to force myself to move out of a passive, information consumer role and into an active, content creator role.

The internet is a profound time suck for me. I’m online most of the day and a lot of the evening, too. It’s so easy to slip into this mode of reading, reading, reading, without really digesting anything. It’s a form of procrastination that feels seductively productive, as though by reading content on blogs and online magazines, I’m learning something.

At the salon referenced below, one of my peers brought up the tyranny of the internet, looking for ways to defeat it. I was so excited when Jane Miller responded basically along the lines that I’ve been thinking lately. She mentioned a writer (forgot name) who would spend all morning writing. For the first couple hours, he’d riff on various topics, warming up, then get down to the serious writing. Internet usage, she proposed, is like the riffing – it’s part of the process.

Lately, I’ve accepted my online trolling as part of the process. Of the two hours + that I spend every night writing, 30-45 minutes is just spent online. And some nights? It’s even more than that. I could kick my own ass about it, or I could give myself props for being so disciplined about writing.

It’s hard establishing a creative practice. I’m opting for props.

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2 responses to “Tyranny of the internets

  1. I have the same problem. So easy to drift around “learning” about things, but it seems to blur together and lose coherence, maybe because there isn’t meaning to unify things.

    Props for ‘producing’ instead of just consuming. At least if you are browsing the net, it will give you an opportunity to arrange your thoughts around some focus.

    Your post kind of remind me of this:
    http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2010/04/05/ipad_for_readers/index.html
    This woman says that the ipad allows you be focused, I would find it difficult to be limited that way, but I thought it was worth considering.

  2. Thanks for the link, that’s very interesting and not how I imagined that the iPad would be used…though it’s apparently exactly what Apple had in mind. Just saw an ad in the back of Entertainment Weekly with a woman reading Winnie the Pooh with her kid. Same idea: contemplative, focused, etc.

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