Exclusive(ish) Report: Is Your Creativity Quietly Dying?
Over on the New York Time’s Papercuts blog, they do this thing called Stray Questions, where they ask different authors the same three questions: what are you working on right now, what are you reading right now, and how does the internet help or hinder your work? Simple enough. Writers can blabber on and on about whateverthehell they’re reading at the moment, and some are willing to talk about their brilliant but unfinished novels, but it’s that last question that gets me. I like Geoff Dyer’s answer the best. Here it is:
It helps in all the obvious ways but mainly it hinders. Where it used to gnaw and nibble away at my ability to concentrate, now it is taking huge great chomps and I fear that soon I will have absolutely no ability to concentrate on anything, will be floundering in a state of endless distraction for the rest of my days and will never accomplish anything again
Obviously, Dyer is exaggerating quite a bit (he’s written a book about D.H. Lawrence that is mostly about how he can’t write a book about D.H. Lawrence) and he clearly gets a lot of work done. (A book every two years or so since 1987.) But still.
I’m pretty much in a constant war with the internet. I leave my house to go write in a coffee shop that has no wifi only to discover that my mac picks up an unauthorized free signal. Wireless networks are available; goddamn it again. What about everyone else? Does anyone have some kind of solution to the chronic email and news and blog checking problem? How do you balance creativity and curiosity when the internet is out there, ever beckoning?