Spirit of Writing Week 3: The Internet is Your Friend…Use It Wisely.

I tried (and failed) to deny, ignore or refuse to confront the reality of things changing for readers, writers, publishing, publications, libraries and schools. I am a hopeless romantic. There is nothing in this world to ever take the place of that BOOK in my hands, like a first love or pet or house embedded in your senses and memory. In the few years I have jumped on board with some–not all–aspects of the passed-away Digital Revolution now just Digital Age, I am happier to be part of a few aspects of it which work for me. I adore seeing author friends online and reading more writers through online journals. Find what works for you, but make sure to be online somehow.

Many resources exist to familiarize writers with essential and helpful Godsends to writers who really want to join communities, compete for prizes and publication, gain insights on the process and craft, and truly study how to be the best writers possible. Visits or subscriptions are often the boost writers need to keep going, or remind themselves to go! Some great internet sites for writers (fiction) are: www.darkecho.com, www.fictionfactor.com, www.bellaonline.com, www.redroom.com, www.pw.org, www.write-again.com.

Some print publications I believe have managed to really make digital reality and features work to full capacity and enjoyment are: Poets and Writers Magazine, Writer’s Digest, and many major literary journals, including: Granta, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s and Kenyon Review. They created a successful model for younger online publications: overlapping content in print and online, but also featuring content exclusive to both.

I would recommend you read: “Understanding the Digital Revolution in 5 Easy Steps” by Richard Curtis, page 376 of Novel Writing. That’s a great book to order in print or online.

Investigate an Internet writer’s portal, writing publication, writing directory or other resource and actually sign up!  Many sites offer free newsletters and their content features brilliant, timely and valuable food for thought as well as introduction to current working writers. Literary journals can be expensive compared to mainstream and consumer magazines, but it is good to support at least 3-4 if you are expecting for your work to be published in literary journals.  It is nice to support other writers and continue the tradition of the written word in print this way.

I would caution against remaining active on social media which does not have a writer and reader concentration, like WordPress and Goodreads and BlogHer successfully do. The possibilities for distractions unorganic to what you really should be thinking about for your own work are very high. And, it is highly likely many of the connections that naturally spring from posting and participating on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc… may not be other writers or “writer-types” who can help you very much. Writing takes concentration. Breaking away for even a moment to check, digest or observe random and unexpected psychic content can devastate your productivity.

Personally, I am not a fan of companies and products like Freedom Software Company. They sell software writers or other businesspeople can download on their computers to control how the internet will run, what sites are off-limits and when users can be online and when they can not be online. They definitely work, but users can disable them at any time.

Instead, control yourself and love your work like writers of old used to do when all they had were typewriters and pens. You can do it. The Internet is your friend, and your best friends want you working and thriving and doing what you love to do. Do your work first and save the Internet for later, but there is a lot on there you really can use.

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