Monday, November 18, 2013

Internet 'Distractions' Actually HELP Raise Your Word Count?

There's this very common joke that goes around the writerly social media world. The joke basically goes like this: "I WANT TO WRITE WORDS BUT INTERNET." Internet is the scapegoat, the reason so many of us profess that we have low word counts or lack the motivation to write. It's our procrastination tool. Our humorous excuse.

Even more so, some of us actually start disliking the Internet and its charms because we really, really want to write. But the Internet is such a big distraction and an addiction.

"Good gosh, if only there was no Internet, I'd be writing so much," is a thought that probably crosses most modern writers' minds.

But what if I were to tell you that the Internet actually HELPS you write more words?

I do not own this picture (or lack-thereof).
Yes yes yes!! I'm being serious!

I thought of this when, a few days ago, I tweeted that I wrote 940ish words. I was very happy, and I was done for the day. Then, my friend, Brighton Luke, replied and said "go for a thousand #IBelieve." So, I groaned, and pulled up my word document, and got a new goal for a thousand words.

In total, I wrote 1,423 words that day.

I'm not going to tell you to use the Internet 'usefully' because in all honesty, if you're reading this blog post (and didn't come here by some accidental crazy link) you're using your Internet time to look at writerly stuff already. I'm not going to tell you to use your Internet time to go on 'actually helpful' sites like 'Write or Die' (an AWESOME writerly help, by the way) and never to Tweet or email or read blog posts or post on forums.

Because all of that 'distraction' funnels down to you writing better, you writing smarter, and, due to writing-related things being constantly in your environment, wanting to write more.

We commonly say Twitter is a writing distraction, or that writerly websites (like Agent Query Connect) are time saps for writing. But I'd bet that a writer who is a participant in all these things will write more in a year than a man sitting at home with no Internet connection at all.

It's pleasant to think we all write due to our own self-motivation but I know my life changed forever since the day I became a part of this community. I don't know if I'd have lasted so long in trying to reach my writerly dream if I had no Internet. I might have given up. In fact, I probably would have. And it's a sad and scary thing to think about, just how important certain decisions are.

The Internet means connecting. It means being with material you love to think about, and being with others going through what you are. It means finding support through a Google search. It means getting help from someone over Twitter, someone who'll push you to write just a little bit more. It means you'll keep writing when you think to give up.

So what if the Internet distracts you for a few hours, hours you could have been writing? Swallow your frustration and thank the Internet for what it has given you: support. Support in many forms. Writers without Internet have only themselves and those around them for support (and usually, those around them aren't that writerly-intelligent). And their motivation fizzles away with no stimulation, challenge, or friendly competition.

Because without the Internet, sure, maybe I'd write 2,000 words a day. And maybe it'd last a month. But I, at least, would probably fizzle out in the end with no external support. And in a year I'd have written maybe 60,000 words max. And I'd probably never write again.

And with the Internet? Maybe, only 300 words a day. But in a year, that's 109,500 words, and you'd keep going for many years to come, the Internet guiding you along. And that's nothing to be frustrated about. In fact, we should be downright grateful.

Are you grateful for the Internet?


  1. This is another great post!

    I am actually extremely grateful for the Internet. Not only for connecting with other writers and find great information to help me become a better writer, but because I use it for most of my research. When I am writing a scene that's in a area (state or country) I've never been to, Google maps is amazing! And when you search the images, you find images that people who are actually there have taken. Just saying, the Internet is a great tool, especially because most authors aren't rolling in the dough, so they don't have the money to travel to areas that they want to write about.

  2. Internet? The greatest time suck ever invented :-)

  3. The support alone is worth it. I don't know any writers in the real world where I live and would be sunk.

  4. Love this!!! It's so true. I have learned incredible amounts of things in all areas of writing and publishing and connecting. The support is incredible! :)

  5. Whenever I sit down to REALLY write, I open a browser to Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia.