I wish I could tell you those tentacles belong to my Muse. That when I sit down, I create page after page of compelling prose, dragged forward by characters who won't let me go until they live happily ever after, or at least until the need for food drags me away from my chair before I fall over.
But this tentacled time sucker goes by another name, and I think you and I both know what it is.
This wonderful source of information and communication has a sinister dark side that most writers know all too well. Sit down to write? Better check my e-mail first. And my other two e-mail accounts. I'll reply to this one. Oh look, here's a link to a review of that new movie. And while I'm at it, I've been meaning to look up that familiar face I saw on a movie two weeks ago on IMDb (the Internet Movie Data Base, which really is a gold mine). Wonder who's on Facebook. And what's going on with my favorite blogs? Oh, and maybe I've gotten a reply to my reply....
That's the sound of my face being sucked into the computer, along with a lot of my time and very possibly some of my brains.
For a person who often complains about not having enough time, I surrender a lot of it to this brain sucking beast. The thing is, unlike writing -- or doing the laundry or cleaning the house -- the Internet requires almost no effort. No discipline, no prep time, and hey, it'll only take a few minutes. (HA!!) Do monitors have cathode rays that lull us into a near-hypnotic state? Whatever it is, for me, it's way more addictive than channel-surfing.
Now that I've made a public confession, I feel a need to follow through and clean up my act. So here it is: I hereby limit my Internet hours. I'm going to shoot for nothing between 10 AM and 4 PM -- that's when those "quick checks" seem to gobble up the most of my time. 'Course, I'm breaking my own rules by posting this now, but after all, the rules are brand new. Watch me from here on out, and see if I can stick to my guns.
And the same goes for the Internet's wicked cousin, Spider Solitaire....