“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet.” -Unknown
It is common knowledge that the Internet and writing goes hand-in-hand. We use it for marketing, gathering ideas, research, and so much more. However, what if it is the tools we are using that is stopping our writing from a step up in improvement?
Wait, don’t leave just yet! I know many of you are rolling your eyes, but fear not, I am not saying sell off your computer and toss out your phone, just to use your time on the electronics more efficiently.
Not convinced? Here are some studies that might sway you.
- Lack of Attention Span. According to Baroness Greenfield -an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution- too much electronic time not only destroys attention span, but also changes the very way children’s brains are being developed.
- Depression. According to researchers at Leeds University being an internet addict and being depressed go hand-in-hand. Depression also destoys motivation.
- Killing Creativity. What is if told you that the secret of getting creative is boredom, and the major thing stopping this system is your phone? That is exactly what this article and countless studies suggest.
So what are you to do?
Start managing your time better.
For example, 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for alerts even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating(source). What a waste of valuable time.
So what can we do to fix our brains? Here are some tips.
- Consider leaving marketing to once a week(example: Marketing Monday’s). Marketing is nessisary, but can also lead to binge-surfing.
- Only check social media(Facebook, Twitter, so on) in the evening. Checking these things in the morning or day risk you going on a social media binge, again wasting valuable time. I consider doing this as “free time” and only allow myself to do it after supper. You’ll be surprised how hard this will be, but it is far healthier for your brain.
- No “research” excuses. Instead of stopping mid-writing to research something, instead highlight the offending paragraph, and make note to do it after the first draft is done. This will destroy the little excuse that says you just want to go online for “research.”
- Unplug for one hour a day. Write free-hand, work on a craft, garden, cook, draw, exercise, clean, do something. One catch? Turn off your computer, and set your phone face down somewhere and don’t allow any peeking. It’s only an hour. If someone needs to contact you badly enough, they will call.
- Turn off your internet. While you are writing, consider turning off your internet to prevent distractions.
- Schedule free-time. No, you don’t have to quit completely, but instead make it a reward. Save the social media, video games, and T.V. for after dinner. If you want to someday write for a living, treat it as a job now. Write and put your health first during the day, and allow free-time only after dinner.
- Read before bed. Using electronics before bed destroys sleep quality. Instead, set a timer and read a book or magazine(not on a screen)for an hour before before bed. Proper sleep helps creativity, and reading helps writing, so get two birds with one stone.
- Make Careful Exceptions. Don’t feel like writing? Is it still not time for free time? Well exersize and making heathy food are both the only exceptions you should make. These both improve creativity, and put your health first.
If you think of any of these tips as “hard” or “useless,” they are likely exactly what you need.
I won’t lie, I am still strugging with obeying these rules as well, but you won’t believe how much clearer of a mind you will have by at least trying.
Do you have any tips for unplugging? Do you often find yourself on the internet rather than writing? Please let me know in the comments below. 🙂