Is it too easy?

If you want to see all of this picture, go on over to the Wet Noodle Posse blog where today I’m blogging about conflict. (And if you’ve ever wondered, when you google for Darcy wet shirt you will come up with about 102,000 hits and 16, 700 under google images.)

So is it too easy?

We have so much information at our fingertips and the actual process of writing itself is so easy–cut n paste, cut, copy, and so on–that I wonder if we’ve lost something in the process. Consider Jane Austen who had limited amounts of time (well, that hasn’t changed much), and wrote in a room that was shared by family members. Paper was expensive. It was important to get things right the first time–or almost right. How many of us would have started writing without a computer? (To answer my own question: I’m not really sure.)

I think the challenges we have now (along with the same old same old of lack of time, family obligations, and having to make a living as well–or relying on someone else to do so) are more insidious. Do we suffer from a surfeit of riches–too many resources, too much advice, and do you think it’s harmful?

It seems ironic that writing, an essentially solo operation, now has become a community, if not team, activity. It’s much easier to talk about writing than do, too easy to go online to see what others are saying and thinking. Some is useful. A lot, in my opinion, is damaging.

For one thing, it stops you from writing, from actually doing the work. And I’m one of the worst offenders, ever. The temptation to just hop over to see what’s happening at a blog (this one, say) and then you follow a few links and before you know it hours have sped by… The other point is that not all information is equal, particularly online where opinion and information seem to overlap; where the trivial and the significant get mixed into one big internet stew.

And the worst thing of all–if you take too seriously what others are doing or saying, you can lose faith in your own work. Actually, two worst things of all. Take all the advice, or try to, and you’ll end up with something lifeless that just isn’t good enough.

So what do you do to protect yourself and spend your time wisely? What are your favorite places online that you feel are useful and reliable? And do you feel the need to limit your time online, and if so, how do you do it?

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11 Responses to Is it too easy?

  1. Cara King says:

    What are your favorite places online that you feel are useful and reliable?

    For Regency research, I think the Beau Monde is unequalled. But there are a lot of places on the web where folks will give you wrong info. And of the many such places where someone then steps in the correct it, the info often originally came from the Beau Monde anyway! (As in, either the corrector is a member, or they’ve read a member’s website…)

    As for pros and cons… I will say there were a lot more egregious historical mistakes before the Beau Monde…

    And do you feel the need to limit your time online, and if so, how do you do it?

    I do feel the need. Strongly.

    How do I do it? At the moment, I don’t. Which is very bad! 🙂

    Cara

  2. Diane Gaston says:

    So what do you do to protect yourself and spend your time wisely?

    Acck! I don’t protect myself. I waste time terribly!

    What are your favorite places online that you feel are useful and reliable?

    I’m with Cara. Beau Monde is the best! I do take a lot of information from Wikipedia, too. I know. I know. You can’t trust it completely but most of what I use it for doesn’t have to be that accurate.

    And do you feel the need to limit your time online, and if so, how do you do it?

    Yes….but I do a rotten job of it.

  3. janegeorge says:

    I like the Publisher’s Lunch daily e-mail for the occasional useful tidbit.

    I obviously come here a lot, and I also enjoy the Word Wenches. The Wet Noodle Posse has been offering some good pointers.

    I used to go to lots more sites. I’ve trimmed down because I’ve set a two chapter a week schedule for my current project because I want to start marketing it in June.

    Sadly, it’s neither a historical nor a romance,(mad, mad, muse), so I’m here as mostly a reader these days!

  4. I’m a terrible waster-of-time on the Internet! I go to look up one little factoid I need for the WIP, and end up following interesting links for hours. Or I spend too much money on weird objects on Ebay.

    I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have been a writer (or a fast one, anyway) if not for the computer, though. I’m a terrible typist!

  5. doglady says:

    Guilty as charged on the wasting time on the internet. I am trying to make myself write BEFORE I allow myself to get online, but it is rather like giving up Cokes and chocolate. One step forward and two steps back. Beau Monde is fabulous, but I also love coming here, History Hoydens and the Wet Noodle Posse to learn more about the research and craft of writing.

    For my writing I try to immerse myself in the world of my story. Sometimes it works and othertimes ….. well

  6. janegeorge says:

    Dear Riskies,

    I need a cultural assist. I am cable-less and clueless when it comes to American Idol.

    Tonight I was told by many folks at my daughter’s ballet studio that I look like a tattoo-ed contender on American Idol. Does anybody know her name so I can look her up on YouTube?

    Of course I’m scared, our mental pictures of ourselves rarely match other people’s. And as yet I have no tattoos. I am designing two arm bands to mark my crossing the threshold into published authordom, hmmm.

  7. janegeorge says:

    **I am designing two arm bands to mark my crossing the threshold into published authordom, hmmm.**

    Should that blessed event take place at some time in the future…

  8. Cara King says:

    Should that blessed event take place at some time in the future…

    It will, Jane, it will!

    The Idol contestant is a young Irish woman named Carly Smithson; here’s a photo:

    Carly Smithson

    Cara

  9. Elena Greene says:

    Good questions, Janet!

    I waste time on the internet, too. It’s so easy to justify it as research and promotion and I really wish I could visit more blogs more regularly than I do.
    But yeah, it can play havoc with work-in-progress.

    I go in cycles. I waste too much time and then I scale back. I do best when I set specific, separate times to write and do Internet stuff but I don’t always succeed.

    I recently read advice from Barbara Samuel that suggested we write first and not check email, etc…, until noon. I’m going to try that. Next week, obviously!

  10. Kalen Hughes says:

    I try not to think of all my hopping around on the internet as “wasting time”, LOL! I really do love chatting with people on the blogs and loops. But then I’m an extrovert. *grin*

  11. janegeorge says:

    Barbara Samuels’ advice is good. I really do get more done if I write first and Internet after. But with my work schedule that means I’m late to all the blogs.

    Kalen, I agree. I’ve met so many incredible people and my life has been enriched by spending time online. But I have had to cut back.

    Thank you, Cara!
    As far as a physical resemblance, I have to say a big, hmmm. But it’s not a bad thing to be compared to someone twenty years younger!

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