Internet Distraction

I heard a quote by author Jonathan Franzen today:

"It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction."

Do you agree?

I think it's a bit strong, but there's certainly truth behind his words.

I admit I can be prone to distraction and the internet is a huge one. I sometime use a computer program to block all websites for a certain amount of time to help me focus on writing.

If you're interested, I use Stay Focussed, a Google Chrome add-on. You can also use it to block only certain websites, to block everything but certain websites, or to give yourself only 5 or 10 minutes per day on time-suckers.

When I'm suffering from writer's block, I like to work on paper. Sometimes I'll send my current document to my Kindle, where I can read it for reference if I need to but can't edit. I have to do everything by hand and though it takes longer, it often gets me unstuck.

As for being influenced by other people, other ideas, other's constant flood of input can dilute your own style and make you doubt what is your own idea and what is not, but you can also use it to gain inspiration and deeper understanding of the human race and the world we live in. Just try to be aware of which way you're using the information overload that is the internet.

I think the most important thing is to analyze how resistant you are to internet distraction and negative influence and plan accordingly.

Melinda Brasher's most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in Nous, Electric Spec, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at


deborah lyn said...

Thanks Melinda - really good points here! "the most important thing is to analyze how resistant you are to internet distraction and negative influence and plan accordingly." We can't help but be influenced by other writers, ideas and opinions in today's information overload, but I surely don't want to dilute my style or purpose. Keeping balance takes careful attention. deborah lyn

Melinda Brasher said...

Thanks. Yes, it's all about the balance. Sometimes easier said than done.

Karen Cioffi said...

Melinda, these are good points. I don't know if it will affect the quality of your writing though. Well, unless you let the distractions get in the way of your writing. As far as being influenced, I read all the time. With the information overload, I'd be surprised if some of it doesn't seep into my writing without intention. But, I don't think it dilutes my writing. I would hope it enhances it.

Like Deborah mentioned, it's about balance. When writing it's important to be focused on what you're doing. If you need to turn off or tune out distractions, you must.

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