Friday, February 18, 2011

How Much Time Do You Spend Online?

I spend a lot of time on the computer. A lot. At least, I dunno, 14-15 hours a day? And when I’m not on the computer, I have my trusty Droid phone in my right hand – just in case my agent needs me or my editor needs me or Alex Pettyfer needs me. (Kidding, kidding)
How much time do you spend on the computer?
I have a day job, and then I come home and write and do social networking and watch great videos on YouTube (a Tribute to Gwildor from Masters of the Universe, anybody?).
All very important things.
So I recently had the opportunity to read an ARC of AWAKEN, by Katie Kacvinsky. It comes out on May 23, 2011. Here’s a description: 
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.”
I enjoyed this book and it made me think a lot about my own life. In the book, Maddie does most things from her own bedroom, and her dad likes it that way because it keeps her out of trouble and keeps her safe, etc. Maddie’s never been kissed, never been on a real date, never done much of anything.
I have a hard time making friends in real life. I have a hard time going out to dinner with a random group of people I don’t have anything in common with. I even get upset when work colleagues who aren’t friends ask me to get coffee.
It just makes me uncomfortable.
For a long time, I wrote my stories in solitary, with only my husband and my dad as beta readers. I got all my “energy” from myself, from doing the things I enjoy like reading and getting coffee by myself (or with my husband) and eating Mexican food. Sure, I have friends, but it’s best to have friends who share your passions. My passion is writing, so I felt lonely for a long time.
And then I discovered the online writing community, and my world blew up. I talk to so many authors every day. And I enjoy it. I’m comfortable with it. I’m more social than I’ve been in years, since college. What’s even better is that I can control who I talk to and for how long.
What I liked best about AWAKEN is that the author showed that what’s most important is balance.
In that regard, I’ve met some online writing friends at conferences, and I really enjoyed it. It didn’t feel forced. And we got drinks and Mexican Food!, and talked “in the real world.”
I’m still working on finding the balance in other areas of my life, but I am very grateful for the online writing community. I’m grateful for all the great friends I’ve made.
How about you all?
Do you prefer being online, or meeting people in person? What makes you most comfortable?
Can you imagine being a writer and NOT having the online writing community?


Heather Anastasiu said...

I read an ARC of this book and found myself asking myself the same questions! How much do I depend on being 'plugged in'? Does it always mean sacrificing relationships? Like you, I think the important thing is balance. Especially as I've met other writers online that I live no where near (shout out to the Apocalypsies!), it's been an amazing thing! Not to mention that I've never met my awesome agent in person and the whole author process can now be done all online and through email! It's certainly adds a different dynamic to the world than Life Before Internet, but I gotta say, I see it mostly as a positive :-)

alyslinn said...

I spend too much time online, but I do try to limit myself so that I can get other things done, especially writing.

I don't know what I'd do without my networking and writer friends though. I probably wouldn't be even near to where I am with my manuscript.

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