What I Learned from Offline October

Those of you who follow this blog (may blessing rain upon you for making a writer happy) might remember that, at the start of October, I decided to try to go light on the internet during that month.

Specifically, the idea was to limit online time to an hour per day, so as to have time to engage in offline pursuits that ‘fill the well’ of creativity, partly to inform NaNoWriMo in November.

As far as the stated aim of an hour a day went, I would have to say it was a colossal failure.  (I appreciate you keeping the laughs down to a polite tittering.  Your manners are valued.)

But, as an exercise in working out where the time goes and making  a plan for the future, it has been, I think, very successful.

Here’s what I discovered:

There are three main ways that I lose time to the internet.  The first is when I am avoiding jobs that I think are going to be difficult, scary or boring – or classic procrastination, in other words.  The second is in genuine work, which needs to be done, either for business, personal or volunteer reasons.  The third is in due to the fundamentally interconnected, diffuse and non-focussed nature of the way I interact with it.

So, how can I deal with these issues?

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Wednesday WIP: the perils of research

For those who aren’t up (or is it down?) with writerly abbreviations, a WIP is a Work In Progress.  I have a couple on the boil at the moment, along with several on the proverbial back burner, where they can just stay until these others are finished!

For one of the current ones, I had to do some research on key logging software.

I knew about key loggers in the vaguest sense from warnings I have received about hackers.  They are programs that the sneaky hacker tries to load onto your computer to track what keys you hit, with the aim of finding the strings of keystrokes that are passwords.  Which they then use to steal your money, one imagines.

But I had no idea that you could go out and buy the software, quite legally.

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Monday’s Writing Links: Or why I have a love/hate relationship with the internet

A month ago, I started to blog and get more involved with the whole social media/online writing community thing.

I love it.  I do.  I love talking about my interests, I love seeing what other people are doing, I love learning from their blog posts (so many people offering so much good stuff!) I love ‘meeting’ new friends on FB and Twitter and getting to know old ones better.

But… it can chew into the real writing time, which I really have to watch.

And there’s another issue I hadn’t expected.  A couple of times recently, I have left the house to go the shops or something equally mundane and felt like a mole or other underground thing, blinking my way into the light.  As though the physical world was a novelty.  This is a little scary.  I love my online community, but I need to nourish my real-life one too.  Maybe it’s time for a face-to-face writing group?

How do you handle the siren draw of the online world?  Please tell me, I really want to know!  But while you’re here, here are some cool writing links!

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