Technology is generally pretty awesome—I mean, you're using it to read this blog right now. A lot of us, especially millennials like myself, use it daily to do everything from watch television to pay bills. However, there has been a lot of buzz recently about the effect technology is having on our brains. And there are strong arguments from credential sources on either side of this argument, but what does that have to do with us writers?
Following through on your commitment to writing can be hard in the digital age. Technology is often considered a double-edge sword. It hurts as much as it helps, but I don't think that is an accurate description. Technology, especially for writers, is more like a sword without a handle. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, but if you aren't careful when you use it, you're going to cut yourself. Technology does exactly what is says it's going to do, the trouble comes in how we use it. So what can we do to keep focused and use technology like a master swordsman? We have to give up the distractions we love so much.
Here's some advice from author's claiming they've beat the technological distraction monster. Nick Bilton, author of this article, introduces the struggle we all know too well:
"I was going to start writing this post a couple of hours ago, but I got distracted. At first I checked Twitter — lots of chatter about the debate there. Then I did a side-shuffle to Facebook, where I saw a friend just purchased a lovely new plant! Then Tumblr, to look at some funny animated gifs of Fearless Felix. Then Instagram. Then Twitter again...Although all of these distractions are wonderful for our creativity and sanity, they can also be incredibly unproductive when it’s time to get some real work done."
Of course, avoiding distractions is easier said than done. Recently, I have found a few applications that actually shut your internet down for a set period of time. There are a lot of them out there, but the one I use is Cold Turkey, because it is free—and you can't turn it off when you get weak and want to check your Facebook notifications. I have found that, if I have all my research done, this is a great help to me.
In the end though, you have to find what works best for you. If it's making lists or planning to give yourself enough time to write a few hundred words a day, because that is typically all you can manage before life sweeps you away again, then that is what you need to do. But for those of us who need a little push to break free—there are options out there. Good luck technological swordsman. Let's hope you master your training and start putting pen to paper!