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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Workout: Are You Addicted?

The Workout:
Time for a self-evaluation.... are you addicted to the internet?

What is Internet Addiction? We're writers, we use the internet, we follow industry blogs, e-mail queries, and belong to internet critique groups. That makes the internet a good thing, right???

Not always.

The internet is only good if you use it properly, as a tool to get work done, instead of as a crutch to avoid daily life, stress, or getting work done.

An article in Parenting magazine talked about how new moms, desperate for an identity, will become addicted to the internet, preferring Facebook to face time with their kids. Ouch!

But new parents aren't the only ones at risk. I've seen the same problem rampant in the ever-mobile military community, with new college students far from home, and people who turn from some mounting stress in Real Life to hide out in the internet. They're using a the internet as their security blanket. And it isn't a good thing.

Am I At Risk? Well, maybe. That's why today we're doing the self-evaluation. Authors are always at risk of losing balance. We really buy into the idea that if we read enough blogs, or belong to enough crit groups, or talk to enough other authors we will somehow find that magic key and get published.

It's a nice thought. But nice don't buy rice...

Luckily, there's some easy red flags danger:
A Definite Maybe- answering yes to any or all of these doesn't mean you're addictied, but you might want to evaluate why you said yes...
- You lose track of time on the internet
- You run to the internet when you have a bad day
- You spend more time talking to people on the internet than in real life
- You spend more than 3 hours a day on the internet doing non-work related things

At Risk- answering yes to all of these should make you consider unplugging for a week or so
- You lose sleep because of the internet and find yourself dragging the next day
- You get defensive when someone asks if you're "Getting on the internet again."
- You rationalize being on the internet at 3 am (but I have to see who won American Idol!)
- You follow over 100+ blogs or friends on Facebook (there might be a reason for this)
- Going without the internet gives you withdrawal symptoms.

Get Help- Answering yes to any of these signals you've got a problem
- You text to forums or check internet while driving (passengers excluded, but if you're supposed to be operating the vehicle - no internet!)

- Your child or a child in your care has ever been injured because you weren't paying attention because you were on the internet

- Your relationship with your Significant Other has either failed or in on the rocks because you'd rather be on the internet chatting than in bed cuddling

- You've had an online affair of any kind. This includes going to an online person with secrets and problems before you go to your SO. Meeting someone on the internet is cool. Cheating on your spouse isn't.

- You've lost a job or failed a class because you were online rather than working.

Wrap Up: I'll only say this once- Any addiction is bad.

I don't care if you're addicted to Scooby-Doo reruns, brownies, heroine, or the internet, it's unbalance and unhealthy. As a writer you can't afford this kind of addiction, you need to be out experiencing life, not stuck in a chair living virtually through Twitter and gossip.

Turn off the computer. Get outside. Go jogging. Paint something. Check out the new Indie bookstore downtown. Meet new people. Connect with reality. You and your writing both need it.

Want more? There's a 3-minute online test... answer honestly!


  1. i took that test, but it said i was average! if I'M average, then I'd hate to see what an addict is. or maybe i'm just trying to present well with my score of 50 (although i tried to answer honestly). hmm....food for thought, at any rate. :) thanks!

  2. I got a 27 which means I'm average. I do rely a lot on the internet for research, so it's hard when I have to go without. It's also nice for socializing since I'm not able to get out much, but I'm glad to know I'm not over the top.

  3. I scored a 31... but I know some days I'm on much more than others. The weather determines some of it for me. If the kids are playing quietly and the chores are done and there is no where to go then I log on and browse the internet. It's an excellent time waster.

    Or, like now, the kids are falling asleep and I need 30 minutes down time before I can get my brain to write. So I'll check blogs and read the news until I come out of Mother-Mode. :o)

  4. And then things start to go Boom Boom, right? ;)

  5. *tilts head*

    Actually it sounds like someone is out on the gun range. Very inspiring, I assure you. Things should explode on a regular basis to keep me happy. There's nothing like taking a character to the kitchen to build a bomb to build tension... right?

  6. Wrong sort of tension, L. Wrong sort of tension. ;)

  7. Very good. This is why I'm not on the net as much as I used to be. I'm cutting down so I have room for writing and other things.

  8. It depends on the week I'm having but I do feel that a week's break is coming up. :D

  9. I guess I'm not as bad as I thought I was. My score was 19, which says I am slightly addicted, but I have control over my addiction. Woot! I'm headed to the 'Net to celebrate.