One of the great things about being an aspiring author in 2011 instead of, say 1982, is the little thing Al Gore invented called the Internet. Yes, the information superhighway is chock-a-block full of adorable vehicles of information. Cooper Minis of query statistics, Honda Odyssey minivans of Publisher Marketplace deals, Subaru Outbacks with blog inspiration and humor, school buses of writers’ forums and discussion groups, and, of course, eighteen-wheelers full of advice.
Recipe for gridlock? You bet.
Somewhere around a month ago I realized that I was spending the vast majority of my non-paid-work/non-parenting time online, perusing the writing world. I read blogs, followed hashtags on Twitter, joined threaded discussions, and researched agents on QueryTracker. All useful endeavors, no doubt. But there was one problem. I was no longer writing. Um, at all. All of my would-be writing time was sucked into the traffic jam on the information highway (are you loving my ongoing use of this metaphor? You are, right?)
So now I’m trying for balance. I get a lot of great stuff from the internet – not just information but inspiration, sympathy, belly laughs, and concrete advice from some wonderful writers who I consider friends despite the fact they live in Korea or Hawaii or Minnesota. But while the internet might be made of awesome, there’s one thing I can’t find there, and that’s my novel. When it’s time to write, I need to pull the plug.
How about you guys? How do you balance time spent (wasted?) online versus time writing? Leave it in the comments – even if I don’t get back to them until tomorrow. I might be writing.