Too Much Time Online?


Because of a trip down to San Francisco this weekend, I didn’t get online for a whole four days… four days! Well, that’s not entirely true — I did have to check my work email and send some things out Monday morning — but for the rest of the time I didn’t do any blogging, I didn’t check any RSS feeds and I didn’t even scope out what was new on the New York Times front page.

My mother would say that I am crazy and internet dependent, but after thinking about it, being on the internet has become a part of my livelihood — I research, I blog, and I craft articles. Unfortunately, I am starting to feel that becoming a slave to the internet is taking a toll.

While driving back from the Bay Area, I thought about how long it had been since I had taken the time to actually sit down with my spiral notebook and write with a real pen (last week’s interview notes for an article that I am working on don’t count). How long has it been for you? When we start to work in the online media industry, it’s easy to become lost in the blogosphere. Extensive ideas are reduced to sound bites and experiences are forced just so we can have something to say. Eventually our creative spirit fades and gives way to producing quick content. How does one going about changing that?

I’m not usually a fan of Rick Steves, but today I came across an article by him called the Art and Value of Journaling as You Travel. Now, this article is clearly focused on taking notes as you experience far off lands, but as I was reading it I thought about how journaling in our everyday lives keeps that creative spirit alive, if merely for the sake of reminding us what writing truly is. If you’re a writer, it doesn’t matter if all of your articles need to be emailed by attachment; the physical act of touching pen to paper is still important.

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Abha wrote a blog earlier this year entitled Writing Online: What You Write vs. How You Write. Her question was regarding style versus content, but I would take that one step further to ask in an industry that requires us to think fast and produce sometimes easy-to-digest content, how do we not lose track of initial draw to the writing trade? After all, aren’t we all here because we enjoy crafting a work of art with words?

My recommendation for the day is this: take a moment this week to turn off your computer, be away from the sea of RSS feeds and emails and sit down with a pen and paper. Take time to write about your everyday surroundings and what you see. You don’t have to turn it into an article or a blog, this piece is just for you; a way to keep your creative energies going. Check back with me to let me know how it goes!

What do you think? Has working in online media changed the way you write and engage with your thoughts? How do you keep your creative energies flowing?