Although practically ancient at 7 years old, "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" still seems very applicable to what I'm facing. It's written only two years into the development of the Kindle and they're predicting vast changes in the way we read literature. Though I don't think the ebook had as damaging of an effect on books as people thought, I can certainly say my reading habits have changed.
Our reading has seemed to follow the trend of 'quick and fragmented'. The Fire, a new product at the time the book was published, was feared for its ease in slipping away. With a physical book, you don't have the ability to pop up an internet window to browse aimlessly. But now you could. Even if it was in the attempt to research an unknown word in the text, you could find yourself down the rabbit hole of the internet.
Now I don't have a Kindle, probably never will, but I still can't recall the last time I really sat down and read a physical book. Unless it is extremely captivating, my mind starts to wander, till I eventually fall asleep. The only way I manage to "read" books now is to stay active in a mindless task, like vacuuming and listen to an audiobook.
Now I don't have much a history in writing, but I can tell my perception is shifting a bit. Growing up, if I had ever pictured myself as a real writer, I thought I would just write the book, send it out, and potentially get published. All the things I read online weren't 'real' books. They were free and at risk to be stolen. And I always thought of it as "sort of alright" material on purpose. It was for those not published, or practicing to get there, not for things aspiring to be published. Therefore, if I ever wanted to publish something, I should skip that step and just write the damn thing.
FanFiction was a different story though. That wouldn't take away from the published side. The "original" side that would make me a 'writer'. Because that wasn't mine. That wasn't for the purpose of a payday but for fun.
And it is fun.
Struggling through a novel has its ups and downs, so while I can't quit it, I also can't forget the feeling of actually putting something out there. So I can't get through a novel, reading or writing it. I like the ability for automatic feedback and satisfaction. I don't have to wait for this entire piece to find it's way together and it's way into some semblance of a well-edited and re-edited novel. I can do it now. Right now. After all, if you want to be a writer, then write. So I will.
Not to mention I read a blog that essentially supported what I was already leaning towards.
Most would-be writers begin in the wrong place. They begin by wanting to write a book. Don’t do that.
Start small, maybe with a blog or a journal (you know, Doogie Howser style). Then write a few articles for some magazines, and after that, consider a book. As you take one incremental step after another towards getting published, you’ll find that your confidence builds.
- Jeff Goins, 7 Tips for More Effective Writing
My thought is to keep my extra side pieces to very short pieces. Not another 70k story, but short or perhaps a bit flashy and somewhat experimental. This week I tried a first-person point of view, but a narrator not involved in the story. Twilight has ruined my taste for anything in first person point of view. So I've stayed away from it all together. I do, however, usually stick with limited third person point of view. It can switch from chapter to chapter to show a different person's views on situations, but never literally in their minds.
Then I recently heard a first-person piece that had me thinking about, so off I went.