After one of the season's first storms, my house lost its Internet connection. I stayed home from work the next day awaiting the technician who would come to check out the problem. Sitting at my computer with no online news, Facebook, Twitter, or email to distract me, I ended up accomplishing quite a bit. I made great strides in the editing of my novel, wrote a book review, and finalized a travel article.
In short, not having an Internet connection made me, at least for that morning, a very productive writer! Yet, my creative muse quickly ran out. I began to get itchy, worrying about what was happening in the world. What was the latest news? Were there important email messages awaiting my attention? Did someone tweet to me? From being a very productive writer in the morning, I became a very unproductive writer in the afternoon. Give me back my Internet!
The technician arrived and said that the problem was with my modem router. He said the telephone line was just fine. After he departed, I drove into the city and purchased a new router. Later in the day, I followed the instructions and connected it, but still no connection to the outside world. I called up my Internet service provider. Together we walked through a number of steps, defining the router's properties and making sure the computer was responding correctly. After we finished everything, I told her that I still wasn't accessing the Internet. She said, "Oh, no!" Not exactly a good sign.
The next day I again stayed home from work, awaiting yet another technician. Like the previous morning, the uninterrupted hours were highly productive. More chapters edited, more articles written. And then, my craving for Internet access began building. When would I regain my connectivity? When would the technician arrive? I demand my Internet connection! I simply cannot write without it!
The technician finally showed up at my house, and unlike the one who visited the day before, he determined that the problem was definitely physical; something was seriously wrong with the telephone line leading to my house.
We went outside and untangled the line from weeds and branches that had lowered it until it could almost be touched from the ground. And then the technician went onto my roof. He found that the line had been worn out by the elements. The recent rain, and the previous year's tarring of the roof, and the unexpected snowfall last December - everything had eaten away at the line. My Internet connection had literally been washed out.
A section of cable was replaced, and Internet access was restored. Happiness returned to my home.
The bottom line (excuse my pun when I say that), for me anyways, is that a writer cannot be distracted when writing or editing. But occasionally, those very same distractions are needed in order to clear one's head and enable future creativity.
You can't be a productive writer if you're spending your time on the Internet, but on the other hand, you need some online time in order to be a productive writer.
Does that make sense? What do you think?