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Procrastination is a Bigger Danger Than Ever

Writers used to hole up in a room with nothing but a bottle of whiskey, a typewriter, and a pot of coffee. They had it easy. Journalists might travel to location to do some research and take along a pen and paper, but they were there with a prime directive in mind: to research and then write about it. In the digital age, though, writers wield a double edged blade. Whether it’s our phones or our laptops, the very tool that we utilize for research and idea-generation – the Internet – is the same thing that gets us into the most trouble. Who hasn’t wasted a day online? First, you start off with some innocent research on the latest career moves of the Saved by the Bell cast members, and the next thing you know it’s 3 AM and you’ve got a dozen browser tabs open: a Youtube clip of Mario Lopez dancing in neon tights; an excruciatingly-detailed review of the Screech porno; the original “Good Morning Miss Bliss” pilot on Hulu; and the Wikipedia page for “California Dreams.”What the hell just happened?

The Internet is a fantastic resource and it gives the writer instant access to incredible amounts of information, but most if that info isn’t relevant to the tasks at hand.

You’re Not That Special

Being a writer in the digital age is a bit like being an actor in LA. Everyone has a blog. You won’t receive any special recognition simply because you are a writer; you actually have to earn it to stand out from the unruly teeming crowd. But everyone else knows this, too, and they’re going to try to beat you to the punch.

But There’s a Lot of Crap Out There

Being an online writer, running a blog, posting daily content – these, like I said, are common things nowadays and it’s difficult to set yourself apart from everyone else doing the same thing. At the same time, as the sheer vastness of the writing pool increases, the quality of the content seems to decrease. You start to notice a lot of “their/there/they’re” or “its/it’s” mistakes. You’ll notice people use apostrophes to indicate plurality, rather than possession. You’ll probably shudder with disgust that these fools are bastardizing the English language and making online writers look bad, thus proving right those critics who lament the Internet’s destruction of the written word. But remember, you’re not making those mistakes (at least, I hope you’re not), and good writing and grammar will always win out against the bad stuff. There’s a ton of crap out there, but if you’re not adding to it, your name and your writing will be the better for it.

Comments

3 thoughts on “What It’s Like To Be A Writer In The Digital Age – 3 Things You Probably Didn’t Need To Know
  1. ade says:

    Thanks Erik, Nice post. I never thought that a good way of differentiating a blog from others can be a simple as writing good English. But I wish it were as easy as you make it sound.

  2. Jesse says:

    Whiskey, typewriter, coffee. That sounds like an awesome gig.

  3. I find that its like an ‘information race’ whenever something new happens, and by being the first to blog about it can get you loads of traffic – OR – someone else can repost it and make it go viral before you did…

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