Tag Archives: internet

Seeking A Little Less Noise

 

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I think most of us can agree there are a million things going on in our world to keep us distracted from our writing.  Some are concrete distractions, like our family, our work, or our health. Some are less concrete but certainly no less distracting. I’ve seen variations of the joke above all over and find it to be quite true. Whether distracted by research we might be doing, by news and op-eds, by social media like Twitter and Facebook or by anything else in the expansive network of online time-sucks, sometimes we just need to disconnect.

Shortly after the release of the Avengers-Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon, the movie’s writer/director, deleted his Twitter account. Immediately after, the Twitterverse exploded. Why did he leave? Was it from some of the vitriolic responses to the movie? Was it the negative response to a tweet he sent about the Jurassic World trailer? Was it feminist backlash about the Black Widow character? I, of course, knew it must have been my post here last week about Black Widow. 😉 Hey, Joss, no hard feelings okay?  🙂

I really liked Joss’s response to his exit from Twitter. He essentially said if he was going to get writing done, he needed a break from the noise.  I am sure as a celebrity the noise is on a whole different level, but it’s not hard to see how anyone could be impacted by the onslaught of opinion and activity that is found on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately there’s a lot of highly negative energy along with the fun. James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, posted a message on Facebook asking for a little more kindness out there. But whatever the nature of the noise, kind or hurtful, it is still a lot of noise that can distract from our creativity, like writing.

But even if we aren’t spending a lot of time on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, time spent browsing articles or blogs can be noise too. I try to read blogs, both of friends who I follow regularly and other helpful ones I find on Twitter or though other recommendations. While I can find inspiration and direction for my writing in some blogs, I can also just get really distracted from what I ought to be doing instead – like writing my own blog, or focusing my energy on my current work in progress. When I’m creatively stuck, it’s easy enough to play around looking at what other people are writing instead of doing the hard work of just pushing on through with my own.

Confession time – one of the biggest things that keeps me from unplugging is the convenience and accessibility of my ever present iPhone. I tweet, I blog, I read other blogs, I browse Facebook, I watch videos, I used to play games, I text, I play on the internet and I just generally live on my phone.  My son asked me once if I could go a whole day without my phone. Sadly, no I don’t know that I could. Sometimes though I just have to put the phone down – not just to play with that kid and the other kiddos, but so I can get rid of the distraction. I don’t need the Twitter/Facebook/Wordpress notifications that call to me. I don’t need the instant access to the internet I always have (and love!).

What Twitter and blogs and my phone ultimately have to offer is a lot of noise. I know that I can use a little less noise, especially when trying to open up my creative side.

What about you? What is noise to you? What is most distracting? Or do you need the noise? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.

Have a great week!

The Evolution of Writing – A Personal Perspective

It is three decades this month since I graduated college. In some ways, it seems like it all happened a short time ago and in some ways, well, as if it was a whole different lifetime ago.

A former colleague of mine and I were talking about this earlier this week, but not just to idly reminisce. We focused on how the art of writing has changed just during these last few decades.

As a senior in college, the standard writing tool for a formal paper back in the 80s was still the typewriter, which had been around, even at that time, for 120 or so years. However, I thought I was something special in college, because as a lowly student, I had access to an IBM Selectric, electric typewriter and its moving ball. But, even that seems like ancient technology now.

For me, it was the next year, 1986, when all of technology seemed to change. That was the year I began using the Macintosh Plus and I considered myself ahead of the curve, being one of the first people I knew to buy one. I even forked out $800 for a simple, black and white laser writer. It was all such a marvel!

Aside from not having to struggle with the messy eraser or correction paper, I could do all sorts of formatting with my Mac, of which we take for granted today. The printed pages all looked so clean and professional, even for an amateur, like me. Of course, today, printing articles and stories with a professional look is common place. But, back then, just 30 years ago, I felt like it was a bright new world had been opened. Although I did try, I could not envision back then how much word processing would progress 10, 20 and 30 years later.

Of course, today, computers do so much more than word processing. For instance, who could foresee back then the arrival of the internet and that touch screen technology would move past science fiction within my life time. But, here we are, not that many years later, and touch screens magically seem to be yet another futuristic technology that is common place.

For someone who felt they had been a head of the computer curve early on, I now feel, today, like I am lagging behind with just a laptop. Sometimes, I’m amazed I managed to switch from a desktop at all, which happened, already, nearly 10 years ago. Does anyone even use desktops anymore?

As technologically lagging as I may be in these brave years of advanced gadgets – without an IPad or Tablet – I know a couple of people who have never even discovered a desktop, laptop or cell phone. I mention this because I don’t think it’s just an age thing – and they are older than I am – but a state of mind and a desire to engage socially and culturally through our life-changing apps and internet with the world.

We have, indeed, progressed so far in so few years that I hope I can find my way and time at some point to at least try to catch up closer to the leading edge of this thrilling curve.