Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help! I'm Trapped in the Internet and I Can't Get Out!

"Pearl trap I" by János Csongor Kerekes via Flickr
Hello, sweetie. You’ve fallen into a trap. An Internet trap. Relax. As far as traps are concerned it’s not so bad. 

But I’m not trapped, I can hear you say. I’m reading a blog. This is part of my routine, part of my social networking. 

Yes, yes, it is. Reading and commenting on blogs can be a vital part of a writer’s day. Of course non-writers read blogs like this one as well, but indulge me while I concentrate on writers because, well, I am one.

I know writing, for many of us, is isolating. It’s just us and our computer (or piece of paper, or whatever). Hence...the lure of the Internet and social networking.

Of course the Internet is a wonderful tool. I’ve researched and Google street-viewed places which would have cost me thousands to see in person. (Not that that wouldn’t have been pleasant, I admit. You don’t get ambient sounds in Google street-view. You can’t smell the delicate perfume which would be drifting toward you from the wildflowers popping through the hedgerows. However, you are spared inhaling the pungent odor of a fertilized field. But...I digress.) 

And that’s the trap of the Internet; digressing.

Do you need to take that quiz and discover what kind of flower you are? Or which Harry Potter character? Or what colour? Maybe you do. I’m not judging you. But I suspect you’ve got yourself stuck in Internet honey.

Ahhh...honey. Let’s pop to a few recipe sites and see what we can find.  Oh look, cake.

See? Trapped.

Again.

Get a timer and set it. Social network to your heart’s content - blog, comment, Facebook, tweet, pin your interests, whatever, until that timer dings. Then turn the Internet OFF. Set that timer again, open up your files and write until the ding. 

How about you? What techniques do you employ to keep out of the Internet trap?

Have a great day, sweetie. Have cake - the recipes are out there. Trust me. I’ve looked.


Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her murder mystery games A Fatal Fairy Tale, Deadly Ever After and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the Internet. All thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by host-party.com. Her newest game, Once Upon a Murder, will be published by Red Herring Games. Her 'writing sheep' are being featured this year in a series of columns in the European writers' magazine Elias. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Antonelli, Author.

23 comments :

  1. It's such an entertaining little prison. :)

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  2. So goes the day. Been there, done that. Love the timer idea; it's amazing how the minutes dissolve into hours as I chase down all those paths that lure me into their webs. Great post, Elspeth. :-)

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    1. Isn't amazing how time does its wibbly-wobbley timey-wimey (to quote Doctor Who) thing when one is online?

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  3. No matter what time I get up and open my computer, it's hours before I start working. Facebook is my nemesis because of all the interesting posts from my interesting friends. Here it is, 11 a.m., and I've worked at writing for half an hour max. The timer is a great idea. Of to the store. (Great post, Elspeth.)

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    1. Oh Polly, I hear you about Facebook! I have the same issues. I try to work first and look later - 'try' being the operative word.

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  4. Yes, I'm also trapped. Digressing is my weakness. It's kind of like when I go shopping and get distracted and want to go down other aisles, but the DH has a mission to only get what's on our list!

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    1. Digressions are the internet's dessert - don't you think? Wonderful in small portions, but too many make you slow and guilt-ridden.

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  5. Oh my gosh. You were following me around today. I knew I was being stalked. LOL

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  6. I'm pretty much brain-dead in the creativity department in the mornings, so that's when I do my social networking. Check again after lunch, and in the evening, but when I'm writing, I don't go there. If I've hit my word count, or whatever goal I've set, I can be more 'social'. However, I learned long ago to turn off any kind of notification, be it a social site or even my email, so I'm not tempted to see what's going on "outside."

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    1. What amazing self-discipline, Terry! Very impressive.

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  7. I have such a hard time with the internet trap. I get up, check my email, and then get on Facebook and Twitter. When I look up two hours have passed and I haven't gotten anything done. The timer thing is a very good idea. I have one on my phone. I think it's time I put it to use.

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    1. I recommend trying it! Added bonus - put it in a different room, that way you have to get up to turn it off. Standing up and moving around bonus!

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  8. Oh my gosh, yes! A TRAP alright. I agree about setting a timer in the other room.

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    1. Sometimes that getting up and stretching feels mighty fine, doesn't it?

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  9. The ONLY way I avoid this trap, which catches us all, is to WRITE FIRST. I get up, sit at the keyboard and WRITE. Nothing else interrupts that process until I'm done for the session. Only then will I allow the internet access to my world. It's a matter of controlling the tool, rather than allowing that tool to be master.
    But,of course, I still do fall into the trap from time to time, like everyone else.

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  10. Yes, you've described me completely. See, I'm doing it now--commenting on this blog instead of beta reading something for a fellow writer, or editing my own novel. Shame! I agree, draw a line in the sand at some point, or you'll never get anything done.

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    1. But...this is *my* blog post. Totally doesn't count as a trap.

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  11. Hi Elspeth! I love the internet and consider the things I do there (nothing naughty, I assure you) an important part of my days' work. I do, however, stick to a schedule most days (unlike today when I decided to violate my own rule and indulge in a little afternoon delight....reading blog posts, that is. I will call it research.)

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    1. Hi Pat! I've called it research too. I can justify almost anything if I'm given a chance; I write mysteries after all!

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  12. So True! In fact, just this afternoon I wrote my semi-last post on Facebook. (I've always had a love/hate relationship with it.) I listed a few reasons for my decision...and most of all because it's a huge waste of time. (in my opinion!) Thanks for a great article.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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