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jamiehall
12-14-2006, 09:22 AM
A lot of people I know have some problems with being on the Internet too much, and most of these aren't even writers. For writers, it seems as if the Internet is even more attractive, with plenty of text to read and create, plus activities that are required. For instance, checking out agents, seeking out crit groups where the people don't know you and so can be completely unbiased, and so forth.

I'm trying to limit my Internet time, but it's hard. There are so many reason why one needs to be on the Internet these days. I have some homework that can only be done online. I can easily miss planned get-togethers of local friends if I don't check email and livejournal every day, plus I've got plenty of online activities that should eventually help me in my writing career, ranging from filling out electronic requests for interlibrary loans of books I'll use for research to looking for more details about particular agents.

I often feel like an alcoholic who happens to work in a beer factory and can't find another job.

I can't get off the Internet entirely, but the little bits that I need to do can so easily lead to too much.

I'm sure that other writers share this same problem. Are there any good techniques that I should try? I'm really hoping to get (mostly) off the Internet and get a whole bunch of BIC (butt in chair) writing work done.

J.S Greer
12-14-2006, 09:28 AM
I am distracted far too often by the internet when I should be writing. I have no advice on how to stop...lol

JeanneTGC
12-14-2006, 09:39 AM
I don't see it as a problem. I view it as my entertainment, information, writing, and planning tool. I have 2 computers in my office -- laptop for work and PC for me. I have both running many times 24/7. I am not IN my office 24/7 (except when work or writing demand it), but neither do I feel guilty for the time I do spend on the 'Net.

I try to balance fun stuff -- like posting here instead of researching YET ANOTHER agent to send a query to before the latest rejections get "cold" -- with writing or family stuff.

I used to hate the internet and distrusted it deeply, but because of my work, I ended up on the front lines. Then I met someone who would become one of my best friends and who essentially taught me the fundamentals of writing, due to our meeting on a fan forum. She is 4 large states away from me, and we would never have met but for the internet -- and if we hadn't met, I doubt that I would have pursued writing in the way that I have.

Like anything else, it can be overdone. If you are truly worried about it, time yourself. Get an egg timer or any kind of cooking timer, and give yourself however long -- 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, whatever -- to spend on the Internet, doing whatever fun stuff you want to do. When the timer goes off, double whatever time you spent on the Internet and devote that to writing, schoolwork, whatever. I would suggest the whatever not be TV, unless it's an important part of your family's bonding ritual, because TV wastes far more time and gives far less back than the internet. On the internet you have the chance to be edcated in some way. Watching TV you have the chance to catch up on the latest ads.

Once you get into the habit of working in conjunction with being on the Internet, it may be less of a challenge.

limitedtimeauthor
12-14-2006, 09:44 AM
Admitting you have a problem is the first step. :|

Seriously, though, I second Jeanne's advice about timing yourself. It's easy to lose track of time...

<looking at clock>

ltd.

ATP
12-14-2006, 10:14 AM
I would be careful about using the term 'addiction'. This is misappropriation of a medical term by the popular (and mis-informed) media.

That said, the only solution to this issue is good, old-fashioned, real-world regulation of our activities eg. discipline and the application of will.

The suggestion of using an egg-timer is a good one - gives you immediate information about your use of time.

Another technique to help is simple time-tracking. Dedicated time-tracking for four weeks will enable you to see in figures/black and white exactly where you are spending your time, and length of time.This will then enable you to decide how to prioritise your online activities.

But, if I understand your post correctly, you're still in school? If so, then I understand that a very great part of your school-related activities occur online.And maybe even increasingly so.

If by default the education system is making you spend an increasing amount of time online, this appears to be a problem that is beyond your control. The latitude then would be in those areas you regard as your 'spare time'.

Some of the writers in AW have made a choice to limit their time in AW, for example. They have done this by consciously altering their behaviour in the 'real world', and physically undertaking activities that do not involve use of a computer.

limitedtimeauthor
12-14-2006, 10:22 AM
Some of the writers in AW have made a choice to limit their time in AW, for example. They have done this by consciously altering their behaviour in the 'real world', and physically undertaking activities that do not involve use of a computer.

:)

ltd.

Sean D. Schaffer
12-14-2006, 12:58 PM
What I have been trying to do lately is to go on the Internet early in the morning when my motor functions aren't all that good, and late at night when I'm done writing. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. But at least it works some of the time.

FergieC
12-14-2006, 01:43 PM
I don't have internet in the house anymore, so if I settle down to write, I can't do anything else (well, there's TV, music etc, still plenty of distractions...)

But the net is the worst, because you can almost kid yourself you're writing, or researching, or doing something important. But really, it's quite brain-deadening - epecially if you get addicted to game sites and talk boards. I have it all day at work, and that's plenty.

I also have a WiFi lap top, so if I really do have to go and do some research out of hours (or I just fancy playing on it), I can take that to a coffee shop or pub but the battery will run out after 2 hours :)

Kate Thornton
12-14-2006, 06:37 PM
I write better when I'm "talking" on the boards, checking my blog, etc. I switch back and forth, and feel the energy and the words flowing.

Siddow
12-14-2006, 07:32 PM
The best thing I've found is to have a computer for writing that doesn't have internet access. I bought an old laptop earlier this year just for that purpose (and since it's old and used, it was really cheap). I keep it in my downstairs office, and head down there first thing every day to get my words down. Then I can come back upstairs, where my desktop has access, and do my roaming and research without feeling like I'm taking time away from writing.

I don't do word count goals very well, but timing my writing sessions has worked out well. One and a half to two hours a day, early in the morning.

If buying a second computer isn't possible, have you thought about taking your internet cable and giving it to someone else to hold while you write? "Don't give this back to me until I show you five pages!"

johnnysannie
12-14-2006, 07:40 PM
Discpline.

If a writer - or anyone - has discipline - then internet "addiction" or television "addiction" or any other distraction - should not be a problem.

For me, since I live in the boonies, the Internet is a wonderful way to keep up with the world at large and to connect with others who share my interests.

I use it daily but it's not an addiction or something I must have to live. When I'm writing, it's never a distraction or temptation.

jamiehall
12-14-2006, 08:20 PM
That said, the only solution to this issue is good, old-fashioned, real-world regulation of our activities eg. discipline and the application of will.

The suggestion of using an egg-timer is a good one - gives you immediate information about your use of time.


I've already done this. It hasn't worked so well. I may need to just grit my teeth and keep trying harder until it hurts. I'm currently thinking about declaring scattered "Internet free" days in my schedule, when I'm not allowed to turn on the thing at all. The biggest obstacle to that plan right now is that I have too many required online activities (for a while I won't have so much, over Christmas vacation, but then it'll all come back).


Another technique to help is simple time-tracking. Dedicated time-tracking for four weeks will enable you to see in figures/black and white exactly where you are spending your time, and length of time.This will then enable you to decide how to prioritise your online activities.


This is a good idea. I've done it before with a food diary (which I kept for about a year and a half) so it probably wouldn't be too hard to start a time diary.


But, if I understand your post correctly, you're still in school? If so, then I understand that a very great part of your school-related activities occur online.And maybe even increasingly so.

If by default the education system is making you spend an increasing amount of time online, this appears to be a problem that is beyond your control. The latitude then would be in those areas you regard as your 'spare time'.


Yeah, I'm a college student. And I'm really starting to get pissed at the sheer amount of different activities that I'm now required to do online. The part I find most ridiculous is that I keep getting more and more research papers where the requirements say that only online sources are acceptable. WTF?! So I no longer have a choice of using books or print articles as sources? Why? A year ago, my teachers were always telling me to avoid online sources like the plague.

Maryn
12-15-2006, 01:50 AM
It's none of our business where you go to school, but apparently some of the professors are loons. While it's good for the student to learn how to vet online sources, limiting sources to those online is utterly ridiculous. Could it be the professors spot-check whether students' sources are the real deal? That would make it easier for the profs--and a poorer learning experience for those who pay to learn.

I have two kids in college and I know exactly what you mean about the necessity of being online. I'd suggest the time-tracking as worthwhile if you really don't know where the time goes and whether you're wasting it or using it well. If you know you're frittering it away on livejournals, IMing, etc., then it won't tell you much except the sheet quantity of time lost.

I'm less sold on the internet-free days, since you could miss something you're going to regret. Consider half days, or days on which you can get online only during certain hours, if you have that level of discipline. Something with a finite end not in your control is good--from 2:00 until you have to leave for your 3:00 class, for instance.

Maryn, whose social life is online, pretty much

farfromfearless
12-15-2006, 02:38 AM
Addition is addiction - it doesn't matter what it is, drugs, alcohol, sex, whatever - if it is inhibiting you from functioning normally your life, socially or otherwise, you need to either talk with someone or take steps to control this before it gets out of hand.

My name is Chris. I am an internet addict.

Simon Woodhouse
12-15-2006, 02:48 AM
I don't find the internet addictive at all. If anything, it's rather boring. It's a very static, almost lifeless medium. Talking to someone online isn't anything like as interesting as talking to someone face to face.

ChaosTitan
12-15-2006, 04:22 AM
Pick a time to BIC, and then unhook your internet connection. From the hardest place to reach, whether it's the back of the PC, the wall socket behind the sofa, or the ethernet box hidden under a table. If it's hard to unhook, you will be less tempted to hook it back up in the middle of BIC time.

janetbellinger
12-15-2006, 04:59 AM
I used to be addicted but now I have a gym membership again, I don't have as much time for the 'net.

Freckles
12-15-2006, 05:26 AM
I (thankfully) also got a laptop that doesn't have Internet. I use it when it's imperative that I stick to JUST writing. It actually works out really well. Plus, I can bribe myself and say, "One more hour of writing, and I can reward myself with some Web action!" :D

jamiehall
12-15-2006, 06:11 AM
I do have one computer that isn't hooked up to the Internet, unfortunately I need to get it fixed before I can write on it.

As to the computer that is hooked up to the Internet, if I'm not on it, there's a good chance my husband will be, so unhooking the cable entirely isn't exactly going to work that often.

Vincent
12-15-2006, 06:31 AM
I can stop any time I want to.

Freckles
12-15-2006, 10:03 PM
I can stop any time I want to.

Says beezle as he posts on AW!! ;)

Arisa81
12-15-2006, 10:45 PM
I love the internet, but I don't have an addiction...anymore. If you had known me 4 or 5 years ago, you would have known a girl with an internet addiction.
Aside from the writing stuff, my favourite thing about the internet is my friends. I always check my e-mail and if friends are chatting. Most of the time I can't have the internet on and write well at the same time. I get distracted far too easily. I remember I should do this or do that. Actually, a week ago I turned off e-mail notification. That has been good for me.
What I do nowadays instead of sitting with the internet on waiting for something exciting to happen (lol) I am logged off until there is actually something to do. So I might log on twice an hour and if nothings happening I log right back off instead of ceating something and wasting my own time.
I would love to be able to write and be online at the same time, but for now the internet always wins. So I am learning to divide my time well.

steveg144
12-15-2006, 10:48 PM
I saw a lot of that over on the NaNoWriMo boards. The people who spent the most time snivelling about how "ooooo boooo hooo, I can't seem to get anyyyy writing done!" were the same ones who managed to post multiple posts to every single forum on the site, every single day of November. The ones who got the purple Winner bar were folks you didn't see posting much, if at all.

I solved my tendency to surf rather than write by telling my wife "pull the plug on it!" any time I needed to get some serious BIC heads-down writing done. "It" being the router in the den that connects my laptop to the internet.

Shadow_Ferret
12-15-2006, 11:14 PM
I would be careful about using the term 'addiction'. This is misappropriation of a medical term by the popular (and mis-informed) media.



An addiction can be anything you do to excess and at the expense of other activities and responsibilities which could cause problems in your personal life, with your family, at work, etc.

CoCo
12-16-2006, 03:22 AM
I am very addicted to the Internet. I check my email about every few minutes and I have like five different email addresses. Either I'm online or I'm watching tv or sleeping. There's nothing else to do unless I'm outside living life. I used to be very addicted to this chatroom but I got rid of that habit once I realize it's not good for me and takes away from my writing time. Unless it's stopping you from doing something you really need to do or you think it has a negative impact on you, being hooked on the Internet isn't such a horrible thing, but if it is bad for you and you want to stop, just put your mind to it, give yourself a set of rules, maybe only an hour each day and never cheat or it'd never work. Just have to be certain about your decision and stick by it.

ATP
12-16-2006, 01:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATP
I would be careful about using the term 'addiction'. This is misappropriation of a medical term by the popular (and mis-informed) media.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow Ferret
An addiction can be anything you do to excess and at the expense of other activities and responsibilities which could cause problems in your personal life, with your family, at work, etc.

SF (and those who think that they might be suffering from this pernicious "disease") -

Just a little bit of Internet (!) research - definition addiction, and
definition internet addiction - turned up some of the following links. The fourth is particularly instructive.

addiction
http://www.answers.com/topic/addiction (http://www.answers.com/topic/addiction)


internet addiction
http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/libr500/02-03-wt2/www/S_Vellutini/Definition.htm (http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/libr500/02-03-wt2/www/S_Vellutini/Definition.htm)

http://www.newtherapist.com/addiction7.html (http://www.newtherapist.com/addiction7.html)

http://www.caslon.com.au/addictionnote.htm (http://www.caslon.com.au/addictionnote.htm)

Sean D. Schaffer
12-16-2006, 04:03 PM
An addiction can be anything you do to excess and at the expense of other activities and responsibilities which could cause problems in your personal life, with your family, at work, etc.


I agree with ATP on this, because of the nature of all things addictive. Although the word 'addiction' is slang for anything we do too much of at the expense of other, more important activities, the correct definition of the word uses the word 'compulsive'.

For example, according to my Dictionary*, Definition 2 of 'Addiction' reads as follows:

Compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by well-defined physiological symptons upon withdrawal; also: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

(In case you're wondering what the first definition is, it is simply, "The quality or state of being addicted".)

But to my knowledge your definition is a slang definition. To be officially an addiction, it needs to be 1.) compulsive, and 2.) characterized by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. A third thing that also is common with an addiction is, like with the addiction to cigarettes or an illegal drug, the substance involved is generally harmful to the user.


*The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, New Edition, Copyright 2004 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

P.H.Delarran
12-16-2006, 09:14 PM
I write better when I'm "talking" on the boards, checking my blog, etc. I switch back and forth, and feel the energy and the words flowing.
Ditto.