Is the internet a double-edged sword for writers?

I don’t share much of the rubbish that comes through Facebook, but I had to share this:

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This is because I am the Queen of Faffing About.

I have this little ritual which I do every morning, that I call Checking My Stuff.

It starts with Smashwords for any possible downloads, my WordPress site for stats, Hotmail, Facebook, and finally Twitter to see if I have picked up any new followers.

The internet is a great source of information designed to help us become better writers, and failing that, become better at promoting ourselves through social media.  Unfortunately I can spend hours trawling through them all so the best piece of advice I’ve seen for writers is to ‘use a computer that’s not connected to the internet’.

When I first began writing 21 years ago our ‘social media’ consisted of hand-written letters, phone calls, and conversations that were face to face. In those early years I wrote copious amounts of stuff that I now consider to be my ‘apprenticeship’ in writing.

Very little of it was publishable, but the joy of producing a few well-written paragraphs kept me going.

The upside to having the internet is that if we’re a bit like Emily Dickinson when it comes to approaching the scary publishing houses we can alternatively upload stuff and wait for readers to discover our fine work.

Praise that comes from online readers is the second greatest joy you get from writing – the first being actually writing the piece.

There are other things though, that are just as valuable to do as ever, and that is joining in with any local or group writing activities.

I’ve been going to Port Augusta Writers for a couple of years now, but quite often at meetings when asked if I’ve brought anything or done the homework, I have told them “no I haven’t” because of the many distractions at home.

More recently ‘the guy from the ABC’, Anthony L’Huillier, joined us and as soon as he suggested a writing day I was looking forward to it.

At last a chance to do something for ABC Open’s 500 words project, as I’d spent six months thinking about what I might write without producing one word.

I produced the following two pieces that day.

Before I met your father

Grandma K

And after that came the old joy, the one that comes when you’ve written something you know is good.

(Originally Published 28 Jun 2013 on ABC Open.)