August 10, 2008

Daily Blog 10: Does It Compute? Endless Writing

The computer has revolutionized our world and our work habits, blurring the traditional workday.

The good is that for writers, it allows you to work anytime, anywhere. Internet usage is up all over the world, including a staggering 600% in Latin America. The bad? You work all the time.

Day or night, it seems, you log on, and you (and thousands of others) are surfing the 'net, checking and rechecking emails. We are endlessly writing.

Five Good (and Bad) Ways the Computer Influences Your Writing

1. Promotion

The Good: You have to promote your book. Online chats, news groups, blogs, book groups, social sites, these are all good ways to promote.

The Bad: I've discovered, too, with publication of Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery that I'm doing more online. It takes the whole morning, it seems, to blog, check emails, write messages, tweet, etc.

2. Networking

The Good: Being online allows you to "meet" other writers, share ideas, etc.

The Bad: You can spend too much time gabbing instead of writing.

3. Research

The Good: You can find information on practically everything online, or someone in one of the newsgroups or a social networking site may know the answer.

The Bad: You can easily drift off into other areas since there's a wealth of information to read.

4. Well-being

The Good: The computer can be a lifeline for the writer who often is working alone all day. Interacting with others keeps you from becoming the Howard Hughes of fiction (or nonfiction).

The Bad: On the other hand, it's too easy to sit there all day and never move. Health-wise, you need to not only have ergonomic equipment, but also be sure to get up at least every hour to let the blood circulate in your legs. Go to the gym to exercise. Take a walk. Play with the dog. That scene may be going well or you want to do the next, but it's not worth your health. Always be sure to take a break or schedule them in.,

5. The Work Week

The Good: Writing can be energizing, fulfilling, and fun when it's going well. The computer can make your job easier. You may, and do, work seven days a week.

The Bad: Don't work seven days a week. That novel won't be created in seven days, so have a day of rest. Enrich your soul in church, revive your spirit outdoors.


  1. Nice to be reminded that life doesn't start and stop at the computer. You're right, it's too easy to plop down in front of it and never move! That said, I'm off to enjoy breakfast with my husband. And maybe I'll play with the dog afterwards!

  2. You are so right. Way back when we had only one computer, we had to disconnect it for the Thanksgiving weekend because we were painting the room.
    It was very freeing!

  3. Well said, Chris.
    There seems to be no break anywhere -- some of us remember when there were only certain times of certain days when you could shop!
    Now so many brick and mortar establishments are open 24/7, to compete with computer shopping ... it means people are working at all hours and traffic and family life reflects that.
    Repercussions all around ....
    But please don't make me go back to the "old days!"

  4. Yeah I remember when Sunday was a no-shopping day since nothing was really open. How odd that seems now! But you get used to things - you wonder sometimes, what did I do without the computer? (Well other things for one. ha!)

  5. I (and everyone else apparently) agree with you. And, yet, here I am on a Sunday reading your blog! (And glad I did, of course.)

    But ya gotta take a break -- and mopping the upstairs this morning does NOT count.

    I'm going to brave the heat and take the dog outside to see if there are nay tomatoes to pick in the garden!

  6. I've sometimes wondered if Nora Roberts stops writing about sex for one day a week.......... Seriously, though, I think it's a good idea to get out of our virtual worlds on a regular basis and experience what's actually happening all around us. Not saying our imaginations aren't as valid as real life, just different, and being firmly planted in both realms is very synergistic.

  7. Haaa! I'm baaaack! Apparently I don't take my own advice either. haa! But I did get to church and am going to watch a movie today and do minis - yet.

  8. EXCELLENT post. It really does seem to take all morning to do the online research/shmoozing/promo stuff and balancing that with the writing and every day things (eating/working/exercise) is a constant challenge.

    There is a kitten on my shoulder chewing on my ear as i write this comment...just wanted to share...

  9. God bless the breaks. Lord knows we need 'em from time to time. Good post.


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