A lot of writers swear against having internet connection at all when writing, but personally, I’m all for it. Should you use the internet while you write? These are my 3 reasons fr using it, so hopefully they’ll help you decide.
I love listening to music when I write, and Youtube makes it much easier. It’s a nice, legal way to listen to a playlist of songs you like without paying. Sure, I’ll pay for songs I really like and listen to everyday on iTunes, but I can’t afford to buy every obscure song that matches a scene I needed to write. For example, I can make a great playlist of sad songs on Youtube for that death scene I’m writing. Do I want to listen to those songs in any other instance? No, they make me sad, why would I do that to myself? This way, I can get the mood I need for a scene, but I don’t have to pay for songs that I won’t be listening to often.
Yes, I do a lot of research before starting a story, but sometimes it can pop up where you didn’t think of it. For example, I once had to research how to put a dislocated shoulder back in place and the after-effects for a small scene I hadn’t outlined in as much detail. It’s also helpful to be able to define words you aren’t sure of and get images to help with description. Describing a lion, but you’ve never seen one? I mean, you could buy a ticket and go to the zoo, but Googling it is probably a lot easier. If you’re a new writer, it can also be helpful to research some quick advice on something you are less experienced with writing. Maybe you’re trying to write a fight scene, but aren’t sure how. Some quick reading or video-watching can help you.
Self-Control & Short Breaks
This is where a lot of writers seem to struggle with the internet. It isn’t the case for everyone, but I’m not distracted super-easily. I can see a Twitter notification and choose to ignore it until I’m done writing. For me, it’s just a matter of self-control. I want to write, I want to get things done, so I don’t let myself get side-tracked. And, if I have been writing awhile and choose to take a break, I can make sure it doesn’t turn into hours.
Short breaks (about 30 min or less) on Youtube or social media can be great to have. They are refreshing, especially when you’ve been writing for a long time. You see people other than your characters and think about ideas other than your plot, for a little bit. Doing this can make your writing time more productive, because it makes it easier to write. It’s like studying for five hours straight, versus studying with small breaks. If you study for five hours straight, your brain isn’t putting a lot of effort into it after the first couple hours, and it’s harder to focus. If you study with breaks, your brain has time to absorb the information and is able to work effectively. Writing uses your brain in a similar way, and you need small breaks to work your best. You can take breaks away from your computer, where you’ll be less tempted to click on video after video, but I find that it’s harder to get back to it doing this, because it feels farther away. I like to take short, 10-30 minute breaks on Youtube, either learning something new (ASAPScience and SciShow are personal favourites) or watching something funny. No matter if you choose internet or not, find some way to work small breaks in.
In short, the internet can be great for some writers, but it might not be the best for others. There are benefits to using it, such as for music and research, but you have to have enough self-control to use it effectively. It’s whatever works for you, really.
Do you use the internet when you write? Why or why not?
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With all of this in mind, go out and write your masterpiece!