You’re sitting at your computer, focused, about to open your manuscript. Your word count goal for the day is planned, and you’re determined to move the story forward. You’re ready because, as recommended by many other successful writers, you purposefully stopped at a “good” spot in the storyline the day before. This could be an area in the middle of a chapter where you know what you want to write next, or maybe you left off in the middle of good dialogue. Now, as you sit there facing your manuscript, all you have to do is take just a second to go out on Google and research something for the next part of your story. It’s right after this particular scene you’re working on and hey, you don’t want to lose the momentum once you start writing.
You click on your search engine, and take a moment to hop on over to Google and type in your intended search item.
Two hours later, you’ve *mysteriously* ended up on some random website, reading about a new facelift technique discovered by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, and from there you *somehow* went on to this particularly intriguing article about what foods to avoid eating to cut down on belly fat, and, gosh, who knew that you could put that product, much like spackle, on the cracked area of your foundation, paint it, and voila! Good as new, a do it yourself project for the spring!
At some point, you resurface like someone waking up from a drunk, staring with glassy eyed alarm at the time. The time! You feel like your brain has somehow gone through this strange time warp period, and what was supposed to have only lasted for a few minutes has now dissolved into hours. Hours.
Despite all of my best intentions, I’ve wasted a lot of time on the internet doing what originally started out as “research” and ultimately ended up like some sort of freakish, uncontrollable free for all of website hopping that burned up irretrievable hours. It’s almost like some sort of hypnotic pull on your eyes when various sites place these very intriguing blinking, winking windows and outlandish subtitles off to the side that have nothing to do with what you need, and everything to do with what all that other stuff you’ve browsed the internet for. Like those summer sandals that ended up in hours of research about the Sandals resort vacations. That recipe for the book club, moves on to watching Bobby Flay cook brunch. The random search on a music artist leads to a YouTube listening and watching marathon of every song ever recorded. A medication your mom wanted you to look up, turns into watching a live surgery of a 100 lb tumor.
In the past, I’ve actually given myself a talking to before I Google. Something like this.
“Don’t get diverted, you don’t need to know about that sale right this minute,” which is countered by the *other me,* “but what if it’s only for today?” As if my very own fingers have turned autonomous, off they go, much to the horror of my very own eyes, while that good ole internal monologue I’ll call “crazy brainspeak” tries calm my increased heart rate with a bland, “Oh, this won’t take but a second to read…”
Like some irrepressible addict of the internet, boppity bop, there I go.
The word self-discipline comes to mind, doesn’t it? Since I started on my new project, I’ve switched up the way I do things. Before I do any research, any at all, I write. Even if I have to put a placeholder in an area where I’ll need to eventually look for additional information. I mark that area with a red bold XXXXXXXX. It’s simple and it has worked. I’ve heard it takes three weeks for a new routine to become habit. I’m passed that mark.
So far. So good.
Are you wasting time on the internet instead of writing?