I’m addicted to the Interwebs. It’s probably pretty obvious for those of you who have any idea how much time I spend on the net and how much time I waste with net things—or don’t waste, for that matter. It didn’t really hit me until I flew in to London last week and spent the better part of a week gallivanting across the English countryside with my fiancé, net not included.
Now, I’m not saying that I was having withdrawals. This post is more about the things involved in my writing that have become dependent on Internet access. Research, for example, is almost always done with Google. I can’t remember the last time I did research via another method, to be honest.
While on vacation, I started writing a new short story (tentatively titled “Waking Odin”) and got to a point where I had to literally make things up because I had no way of getting access to mythological information (it’s somewhat difficult to drag around a collection of encyclopedias, after all). It put a block on my writing, because the information I needed was integral to the story, and without access to it, well, it was somewhat difficult to do anything with the characters.
It forced me to re-evaluate not only how I write, but how I research for my writing. We’ve become a culture attached at the hip to the net, in more ways than one. So much of what we used to do manually (the old “dig it up in a book” method) has largely been replaced by a more “automated” method (the new “dig it up on the net” thing). Most of us do this, strangely enough, and it has to do with the fact that information has become so readily accessible via the net. We don’t really need encyclopedias anymore and most of us stopped using software-based informational programs a long time ago.
But what would happen to us if the net were suddenly wrenched out from under us? Would we as a society (speaking primarily of western culture here) fall apart at the seams? I obviously found that my inability to access the information I needed for a character an impossible thing to work around. It drastically influenced my writing, because the character had to be vague, rather than fleshed out, something I’ll have to go back and change later.
The result of all this is that I am resolved to find myself a software-based, thorough encyclopedia and mythological reference (something that auto-updates entries when you are online would be nice). We’ll see what I can find.
Now I’ll point this to you: Look at your own writing. How has the Interwebs changed the way you write? Do you see an “addiction” too? Will thinking about this change how you write from this point on?