When I first started to write, I was not prepared for hours of sitting by myself, listening to my thoughts, having just myself for a companion. Facebook hadn’t yet caught on and I hadn’t become quite the Internet surfer I am today. Sitting in front of my laptop, meant precisely that. Staring at a mostly white page with three dreary sentences in boring Arial 11.
I accepted this state of affairs. I even started to enjoy it. When I couldn’t write another word or the white-ness of the screen became too much to bear, I’d get breakfast and head out to work. When I’d return in the evening, I'd add a few more sentences, sometimes even a complete paragraph. The silent life of the writer would continue on.
It was a quiet life. It was a pleasure to be comfortable in my own company and bask in its silence. Self-criticism was tough, the self-doubt was even more painful and the constant good cop/bad cop dialogue in my head was excruciating. Yes, I was leading the writer’s life. I felt accomplished going through the writing torture. Even a little smug wondering if this is what the great ones went through in their pursuit of a masterpiece.
Then came the second wave of the internet. Today, in the age of easy wifi and constant tweeting and facebooking there’s no such thing as isolation. I no longer have the opportunity to feel the torture or uneasiness of a scene written in the wrong voice. Whenever I feel doubt, I simply go online to make myself feel better. When I don’t know an answer to a question I don’t think through it. I simply google it. When I don’t know how to write something I look up an example on one of the blogs. Yes, these are solutions. Quick solutions that help us write faster. I don’t have to waste time on doubt. I can feel good about myself. I can even spend a little bit more time on Facebook scrolling through my newsfeed.
We have all become modern writers. We can multi-task as we write. Take ourselves out of the mood and then dive right back in. We are awesome researchers who fix our grammar and read about the anatomy of a scene all at the same time.
I, too, am a modern writer.
I don’t have to dawdle, doodle, daydream while I try to fix a scene. I can simply find a prototype or the advice of a book-editor with a click of a button.
I’m no longer isolated. I have a community. I have people. I have answers.
Answers that bind me and constrict me. That feel like chains around my wrist, around my mind, around whatever it is that makes us put ourselves into our characters’ shoes and write.
So I want to be quiet again. I want to feel free again. I want to be alone again. I want to hear myself think again. Doubt again. Worry again. I want to be a writer again. Just a writer.