Saturday, March 27, 2010

Email ate my word count




I remember back before email, back before I had a computer, back… Well, I almost remember. But on the days when I check my email on my blackberry, and then have to delete it again on my computer, I wonder if this whole technology thing is this all a gigantic waste of time.


Before email, you had to mail things and wait patiently for them to arrive. I know, it's hard to imagine. Then Fedex came along and made everyone wait to the last minute to do everything or expect things to get done always by the next day. Now they expect things right now. And if you are doing something else (god forbid) you feel like you are behind the curve when you see you have a flurry of emails expecting you to do something. So you rush to do it and then you begin to notice that you have not written a word all day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love email. I pop off little notes to friends. I love finding out what everyone is up to on Facebook. I look on Google when I’m stuck and need a little information for my story. But then not everything is there that I need. I dig some more. I start to get distracted.

I was looking up information on Parisian artists in the 1950’s. I know, I said I wouldn’t do a historical, but this is background information that grounds my story. I could make something up, but I prefer to find something out that really happened. And then I started to read about a photographer and got curious. SO I found some of his work and started looking at it. And the next thing I knew, my writing time had expired. That was not a 2,000 word day. Oops.

I sometime worry that I’m only getting what people think is relevant these days, and not finding dusty nuggets. So perhaps I would be better off in a library. But who has time to crawl around in the shelves of one anymore? I have to answer all these emails that have already popped into my in-box. And I owe myself those 2,000 words…

6 comments:

Shane Gericke said...

You are SO right! Panning for gold nuggets of information is so much fun, and fascinating. But it's an enormous time suck, and what it sucks from is the writing.

Meredith Cole said...

I loved your story about the rushing river that wasn't! I guess that's the danger of all this internet research. One man's pond is another man's rushing river...

Heather said...

When you figure out the solution to this problem (which also plagues me), please post it. I have tried turning off my wireless (just to turn it right back on)and keeping a list of things to research at a later time (just to realize I couldn't wait).

Great post!

Gabi said...

It's impossible not to feel stalked by the email box. Everyone has become used to instant gratification that life is response is turning into a 7-11 open all night thing. I finally figured out how to turn off the little bell. It helps a little but it took me my entire writing time...I also owe myself 2,000 words.

Meredith Cole said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with an email addiction... Turning off my Blackberry never seems to work for me either, Heather. And I owe myself 2,000 words, too, Gabi!

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

I am listening to "The Switch," and one of the authors bought an old laptop, pulled all the browsers off his machine, deleted the wireless software and drivers, and that's what he takes to the coffee shop to write with.

That just leaves the issue of moving files by USB or something ;)

I go to a coffee shop that charges for internet -- too cheap to pay the $$. Or, I say to myself, "words first, then internet," and know that includes "research." Easier to do w/a first draft :)

Thanks for a fun post Meredith!