Jeff VanderMeer, well known scribe of Ecstatic Days recently made an interesting post on what the Internet, its impact on the industry, and how it’s changing the ways authors approach their work.

(1) Choose your level of involvement with the internet, and stick to it. If you want minimal involvement, create a static website about your book or other creative endeavor. If you want medium-level involvement do a blog. If you want more, do more. But decide upfront what your approach will be, how much time you can spend, and whether you can actually follow through or not. As in any area of life, you will be judged by what you do, not what you say you’re going to do. The disconnect between words and actions will determine how much integrity you have in other people’s eyes.

(5) Contribute to the accuracy of the internet. Under the rules of the new transparency, pointing out errors of fact related to your work or your books is perfectly okay in my opinion. The internet is a lovely place but it is also easier, because of the immediate nature of the medium, to post something that contains inaccuracies. Making the internet a more accurate place is a positive thing. Correcting errors of fact is also a proactive way of protecting your reputation.

(6) Understand the negative aspects of the internet and manage your behavior accordingly. Negative aspects of the internet and our electronic lives include: being trained in Pavlovian fashion to check our email every five seconds, having our Instant Messenger up 24-7, and writing on laptops where we can be interrupted at any moment. Some of these aspects of (post)modern life affect our attention span. Others turn perfectly viable tactics into an unsupportable and detrimental overall strategy. In all things, balance is required. As a writer, I feel the greatest dangers of the internet are (1) equating the constant appearance of new information and new correspondence with a requirement to immediately reply/be instantly available and (2) the constant, daily loss of uninterrupted time not only to write but to think about writing. Many writers and others who depend on the internet find themselves controlled by their involvement with the electronic world, without even realizing it. They still think they are in charge, but they are not: their tactics have become their strategy. If this addiction were an addiction to, for example, alcohol, the results would be obvious and the reaction of friends and society corrective. But when it comes to the internet, we’re nearly all addicted, and we receive so much instant gratification without understanding or monitoring the attendant dangers that we often do not even realize what we may have lost.

If anyone knows about this kind of stuff, it’s Jeff VanderMeer. The whole article is worth reading and can be found HERE.

Discussion
  • Nathan Trader July 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    His whole point about losing time due to internet addiction is so true. I would get so much more writing done if I didn’t feel the need to refresh my LJ friend’s page every few minutes.

  • aidan July 6, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    No kidding.

    If I’m serious about getting writing done (as I should be) I actually have a nearby cafe I’ll go to that doesn’t have wi-fi. It’s amazing how my productivity spikes if I can’t waste time floating around the ‘net.

  • WeariedJuggler July 12, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Aidan great aside. I totally agree with Jeff Vandermeer…unfortunately I’m already hooked. Recently I’ve been dropping my computer altogether when it comes time to write. I just pick up a pad and pen and go at it…

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