Does anyone else find the endless stream of information almost nauseating? For some of you, who may be a little too young to remember a time before the internet existed (yes, I’m going to sound like an old woman reminiscing about the “old days”), we didn’t always have every little bit of information available at our fingertips. Sometimes we had to wait until the next day to read about some event in the paper or see it on the news. We had to go to the library for research. We taped shows and maybe waited a few days, maybe a whole week, to watch it. Not everything required a “spoiler alert” label, because the time to actually read or watch something before everyone started talking about it could be months. All the insight and information from so many sources is sometimes overwhelming. The constant updates about every small detail numb the senses. And yet, I know more about things because I have access, I have this window. It’s a catch-22.
This whole rant was sparked because I saw yet another update in regards to the new Star Wars movie, its shooting schedule. Who needs to know this? The film hasn’t even begun production and I’m already tired of hearing about it. And I’m a Star Wars fan. My sister does not use the internet to the same extent that I do, so for her, most things are still a surprise. And I try my best to keep the many things I learn a secret to keep her in a state of awe. At least one of us should be able to enjoy the pleasures of remaining in the dark, to harken back to the days before the endless stream began. To be surprised. Ah, those were the days. The phrase ignorance is bliss is truly difficult to maintain in such times. Do you know how long I’ve been holding my tongue about Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding?! Or *SPOILER ALERT* that they killed Brian on Family Guy? We’re a little behind on everything in our house.
We, as a whole, are becoming too accustomed to instant gratification. If an internet page takes too long to load, we become incensed. If a blog is too long, we skim or skip it all together. So many creations that are supposed to aid in making our lives easier and in turn giving us more time, only make having more time a waste of time. And I still never feel like I have enough time. I have a love-hate relationship with the internet. It’s a window to the outside world, but also an enormous time sucker. I love that there are programs that make it extra easy for me to get my story down without wasting reams and reams of paper. I can edit as I type. I can find information to help my story in the blink of an eye. And yet…
How does this relate to writing, you may ask? Well, there are a few things to keep in mind. Our audiences are much smarter and worldlier than ever before. They have access to so much, but are also developing shorter attention spans. So we have to entertain them. We have to grab their attention and make them want to invest their time. As writers, we have a wealth of material to draw from on a regular basis; being exposed to a variety of newsworthy topics, cultural differences, scientific discoveries, and any number of amazing facts about our world. I recently heard that scripts should be “easy reads” (breaking up blocks of text and giving it the appearance of a quick read) because whoever is reading it already has a lot on their plate, so they’re more inclined to give yours a better look if they think they can fly through it. Ugh. Really? I feel like sometimes we’re dumbing ourselves down.
So my tip of the day: Continue to be passionate about your writing. Write the story you want to tell. That speaks volumes, but just be prepared. You may have to alter a few things so it “looks” better, but who knows, maybe you’ll end up in that endless stream where everyone is talking about you!
Best of luck!