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Jul 5, 2009

Writing Drunk or Sober

Some thoughts on writers and internet addiction:
I am coming to suspect that the internet will be to my generation of journalists, and to any younger ones, what alcohol was to our predecessors': a destroyer first of thought and then of productivity, destructive both of the capacity to reflect, and to react, blurring everything into a haze of talk and endlessly repeated variations on the same experience. Just like alcohol, and even cigarettes once were, it seems an inevitable part of the job, one of the things that distinguishes it from all others. Stories are chased and found on the net just as they once were in bars.

This won't kill journalism, or thought, of course. There were always many journalists who functioned drunk, and some who could not function any other way.

...But the internet has no edges, any more than it has depth. The sudden movement of someone else's thought across a screen is something you can follow far beyond the room in which your thoughts could be confined. There's no tether to jerk you back and by the time your thoughts return, the room has changed: whatever lay in front of the next sentence has disappeared. And so I sit now in a room with a window and no telephone, waiting for the next sentence, patient and pious as a dried-out drunk.

Consider this my explanation for why my blogging has been light of late.


Scott said...

Let's see, room with a view - bad, bad karma! I have my home office set up so looking out the window is not as simple as looking up from my desk. You just don't know how many sentences have leaped out that window!

Bravo on equating alcohol and the internet. Who knew?

For aspiring writers, the Internet is a source of valuable information, in which we can drown if we're not careful. It's all about balance. We (I) need to balance the time we spend on the Internet with the time we spend living and writing. Internet time should always, always be the least amount of time.

Great post.


Ban said...

interesting thought !

Annie Louden said...

Ooh, I had never thought of too much Internet in such a way. I think I'll try to sober up.

Thanks for sharing!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Who is Andrew Brown? That was a brilliantly written piece!

J.L. Johnson said...

I feel Scott hit the nail on the head. Like everything else in life, moderation is the key.

It falls under self-control and responsibility for one's own actions. If we can't control our urge to spend a gazillion hours online, then we have no one but ourselves to blame.

Susan R. Mills said...

This is a great post. I have noticed that I get a lot more writing done when my internet is down. I agree with Scott. The internet is a source of valuable information, but we have to be careful not to get too sucked in.

AiringMyLaundry said...

This was a fantastic post. So true.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

And this is why I take a week long break once a month, and why I've cut my blogging WAYYY down lately. It really is about moderation. I don't believe in stopping cold turkey, or stopping at all, because I've learned so much through blogging. I'm always stuck at home. This is often my only source of social networking and learning.

Great post! I do get addicted, I must admit. :)

laughingwolf said...

i so agree... it sucks up a lot of the time i should have spent on the tales crying for completion....

Barlinnie said...

Hmmm... a very interesting point of view indeed.

writtenwyrdd said...

Yes, the internet is a wonderful thing but is a great big time suck that can whittle away your writing time.

It also "scratches the writing itch." (Josephing Damien has a series of posts on this topic on her blog. It's practically a campaign, and she's really correct about it.)

glovin said...

It falls under self-control and responsibility for one's own actions. If we can't control our urge to spend a gazillion hours online, then we have no one but ourselves to blame.

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