The Internet Dies a Dazzling Death

Posted on 05 July 2011

My writing “retreat” got off to a slow start this weekend for all sorts of mundane reasons I won’t go into right now. But then something wonderful happened: On Sunday morning, my wireless internet died an abrupt (if temporary) death. It was fantastic.

The internet itself wasn’t what had been holding me back – even when I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t going online or watching TV or anything like that – but its sudden breakdown gave me the extra push I needed. Just knowing the internet wasn’t there made me want to get to work.

Speaking of work, it’s funny how when you finally sit down to do it, really do it, things start to happen. I’d been fretting over some plot issues in Opal for months now, and I think I had myself halfway convinced that I’d never find the answers. Then I sat down on the couch with the cats, a notebook, and some green tea and found potential solutions to every issue within 25 minutes. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but having this roadmap is a relief.

What’d you do this weekend? What problems did you solve, and what problems did you create?

Photo: Austin Kleon

11 responses to The Internet Dies a Dazzling Death

  • Averil Dean says:

    Ah, blessed relief. I know just what you mean. Over the weekend, I finished a short story and posted it my blog–the nearest thing it will find to publication. And I realized what has been derailing my attempts to get through a novel: I have gotten away from the writing process that works for me. With so many instruction books on my nightstand, all advising plot outlines and index cards and character profiles with the entire life story of the protagonist laid bare from the get-go, I had forgotten that the way I used to write worked just fine. I never gave up on a story until I second-guessed myself out of my entire mad method.

    I’m going back to what worked for me in the past. Straight-ahead writing, revising as I go, letting the plot unfold in its own good time. I feel better already.

    • I’ve known writers who have drowned under their piles and piles of how-to writing books…and never got any writing done in the process. Yes, every writer works differently, and if you’re lucky enough to know what works for you, then you’re already ahead of the game.

      For me, going out to write in cafes still works better than writing at home (even when the apartment is quiet and empty), but in a pinch, the destruction of my internet seems to do the trick, too.

  • Lyra says:

    I do the same thing! I work myself into a state about how difficult something will be when the actual work isn’t nearly as bad as the worry. It’s my own neurotic procrastination.

    And Averil, I have been waylaid more than once by trying to do something the “right” way. Horrible stuff that. I’ve learned to read writing books more for overall feel than actual advice. Whatever my stupid process is, it’s all mine and works for me.

  • Teri says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit how freaked out I become when the internet takes a nap. It even makes me anxious to write that sentence.

    And I wonder why I don’t get more work done.

    Laura, I’m thrilled you found your way further down the path of this project. Every step forward, every single one, not matter how big or small, is progress. I’m proud of you for setting the time aside and just Doing It.

    • Downith says:

      Our phone line was down on Friday so no internet access – I was beside myself. By early evening I was hooked up to my iphone.

  • Glad you got some work in this weekend (even if it meant broken Internet) and had a breakthrough on your novel. I think sometimes you need that long mulling over period of trying out solutions in your head before you can really make it work on the page. The thinking element is never wasted time, just a different part of the process. Good luck with the revisions!

  • Downith says:

    Bum in chair all day Sunday – making good progress. Glad you are too Laura.

  • Deb says:

    Is it a conspiracy? My internet was anemic or unconscious for days. It did make me sit down and write a new chapter I thought needed writing. But then it didn’t work. The possible solution finally hit me this weekend and I started the rewrite. We’ll see…. Glad you are making progress!

  • Lisa Golden says:

    We used to have satellite internet because we could only get dial up, no cable so far out in the sticks. The days when we used up our allotment and had to wait 24 hours to regain our service, were really productive days. And duh! I wasn’t working on a WIP then.

    I just need to replicate that without sending the rest of the family into shrieking fits. My XBox Live is dead! What happened, the calculus video I was watching died! Dang it, I was in the middle of a Facebook game!

    Perhaps I should do this when they all go back to school.

  • amyg says:

    problem solved: my claustrophobic 7-year old daughter got herself accidentally locked in the teeny tiny bathroom of the lake cabin and we were able to get her out before she went into full-on panic mode.

    problem created: i got a fishing hook lodged in the skin beside my thumb nail that my husband ended up having to slice to remove the hook (i guess, that’s kind of a problem solved for him…)

  • You are lucky that all you need is an internet outage. When I had cats, they would sprawl all over my keyboard whenever I sat down at my desk.

    Needless to say, I couldn’t work. Way worse than the internet.

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