Coming back online has made me realize I need to stay offline longer. Reading these things called books has made my brain work better.
I’m not just spouting the familiar “How awful this Internet thing is, if ONLY we’d go back to The Page” line. As I’m typing this, I can actually notice a difference in my thinking and writing.
Look, it’s fashionable to bitch and whine about the ‘net. But it’s hard as hell to stay off it when you work at a computer and you have to be online to post, send out stories, correspond, work on your already-available books, etc. It was hard to stay offline at first.
It got easy, and quickly. As I spent days reading and writing (not much, but some) using paper, my brain started to slow down. This may not mean anything to you if you don’t have one of those quasi-ADHD minds.
This is an experience you have to experience to understand. It’s a slow process. It’s all about replacing the ‘net with the printed story.
Someone like me, who wasted so much time online, needed A LOT of stuff to replace all that useless (as well as the useful) online material. In my case, I’ve got a lot of rewriting to do, some crime, mostly horror (and horror-crime).
The idea is to program my brain with horror. Horror isn’t my genre of choice exclusively, it just happens that the stories I’ve sold are horror stories–not the fantasy (with one exception), and the science fiction stories have been horror-sf. Horror seems to be how I’m bent.
This is not an issue for 95% of the writers I know. They love a genre, they write in that genre. It’s not that I’m diverse or ‘not bound by rules’ or whatever self-romanticizing bull indecisive, unfocused writers use to dodge charges of dilettantism. For me, it’s the single biggest obstacle to success. I’m not fighting it (it’s not like I don’t like horror), I’m just going with the flow.
Cut way down on Internet. Cut WAY down on movies. Cut way down on writing.
Real life stuff has been complicating things, but it just might help me get to the real beginning of my reading program. THIS is just the warm-up.
Have you ever taken time off from the electronic battlefield and just read? What’d you read? How’d you feel? Did it impact your writing? I’d love to hear from others who’ve tried this.
My own story college is ongoing. More once it REALLY begins.
Sources for the freshman prep work: