A Short Stop on My Writing Journey

“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.”

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.“
–Ursula K. LeGuin


Once minute I’m researching religion and the American Revolution on the Library of Congress Web site; the next minute my husband is telling me that none of the TV stations are coming in. We soon discover our Internet service is no longer available, our landline is out, and we can’t access the Internet from our cell phones either. Fortunately, we can still text and call from our cells. I was beginning to panic and wonder what good cell phones are in an emergency if we can’t use them. Not that this is an emergency, of course, but what if? Yes, that’s how my brain goes. And when I’m facing a book deadline, it doesn’t take much to throw me into panic mode.

It made me think about the whole process of writing and research —at least in the US in 2014. Or at least for me–perhaps I shouldn’t speak for others. I have a house full of books, journals, and material I’ve printed out. I also have papers and pens. I can use my laptop, and we have power, so there is not a problem with recharging it. Nothing is actually preventing me from writing, but I’ve become so accustomed to going online to find a citation, to fact check, and to look up material, that I’m almost paralyzed without Internet access. I am writing this now, but I’m unable to post it. Clearly, I can write, it’s focus I’m having a problem with. My soul is being tried, and I’m facing my age of no reason.

I suppose if desperate enough, I could go to Starbucks or my local library to use the Internet, but that would involve driving. And getting dressed.  You might think I’m joking. But one of the great things about being a writer who works from home is I don’t have to get dressed to work. Sometimes I don’t get dressed all day. I can work in my exercise clothes, my PJs, or some comfy sweats.

OK. Now that I’ve revealed way too much, I guess I should go back to my real writing work—at least what I can do without Internet access. My book manuscript is due all to soon. Eventually, my husband who has been on hold with Verizon for about half and hour might find out what the problem is. Until then, I guess I’ll hold off on the fact checking, and open one of these lovely books piled helter-skelter on the buffet behind me. Oh hello there, you wondrous thing! You marvelous book. I could never totally abandon you.


I’m not joking about the book piles.


My research assistant

But. . .oh Yay! We’re back online. I love you books, but I need to check Facebook now.

And the journey continues.

8 thoughts on “A Short Stop on My Writing Journey

  1. I think we bloggers/writers imagine our online buddies are free from distractions and kerflops like you describe. For me lately it is something on email that requires immediate attention, a broken wind-shield wiper, a land-line that doesn’t work when it rains.

    Your humorous post made me smile in recognition. I know you take your work seriously, but yourself . . . not too much! And I have to wonder who said: “Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.” Great line!

  2. Thanks so much, Marian. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I always wonder about people who take themselves too seriously, don’t you? 🙂

    I hope your windshield wiper is repaired (I had one break because of ice–not fun) and your phone is working more reliably.

    I could only find “Anonymous” as the author of that quote when I did a not too exhaustive Internet search.

  3. I know how frustrating it is when there is a technical snafu. This morning I had problems with my post. First there wasn’t a ‘comment’ section. Then, there was another glitch. Thank heavens for time thief of “one cool site” for her advice and support. Until those problems were resolved, I was trying not to have a melt down.

    I also love the Anonymous writer’s quote. It’s a perfect fit for how I feel many days. One thing you and I have in common – besides writing – is I have been known to hang out in my PJs on the weekends. At home, of course. Best wishes on your book. 😉

  4. It is frustrating to have technical issues. I actually received two emails this morning with your post, and I was wondering why. I still haven’t quite figured out WordPress. I always seem to have a problem when I go to post something. 😉

    Thank you for your good wishes. That deadline is getting closer and closer. . .

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