Stepping Stones Blog

Information Addict

It has come to my attention, as I try to be more mindful of daily activities, that I spend a lot of wasted time in the spirit of learning.

I love to research, and can justify surfing any website that discusses writing tips and advice. I want to improve my photography and editing skills, so I rationalize visits to Flickr, Pinterest, and YouTube as a means towards that goal.  And of course reading other blogs helps me with my writing and cultivates relationship.

There is nothing wrong with any of these activities, if they are conducted in moderation.  But when they begin to interfere with priorities (for me, writing or reading or actually taking photographs), then I believe that crosses the line into addiction.

I read a quote this week that made a lot of sense:

It’s been said that information is to the brain what food is to the body. True enough. But just as you can overeat, you can also over think.

And I think it is time to put my online “research” on a diet.  I don’t think this will mean drastic changes, but rather simple modifications to help me focus on what is important and delay impulses until a more convenient time.

First, I plan to utilize a notebook (I think I have one or a hundred lying around here somewhere) to keep track of thoughts as they come to me.

My typical behavior is to instantly react – which usually involves a web search of some kind.  This distracts me from the current work in two ways:  I stop the creative flow and when I return to the project it takes a while to find the flow again.  From now on, I will write down the idea, and then at a specific time of day (when watching television at night, for example) I will follow through on all notes and ideas without guilt or shame.

Secondly, I will limit social media activity to designated times, rather than always leaving the windows open.  There is no communication from any of these sources (email – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram) that cannot wait.  Of course, quitting cold turkey is painful and could have serious repercussions (a return to old habits rather than developing new ones), so I think I will develop a rewards system:  for every 45 minutes of work, I can log in for ten.

As discussed on my other blog… Baby Steps is key to effective change.  I think these few baby steps will help me realize my goals in a way that I do not feel deprived but rather energized.





  1. cathyensley

    Your ideas about putting reins on your voracious need for information sound great! As someone who, to some extent, shares this malady, I’ve already put limits on my use of social media. Also, when needing an answer to a specific bit of research for my novel, I find it on the internet and then put the link in pocket to return to later, when the information is needed. I dip in and dip out!

    But I still can’t break myself of the habit of reading (nonfiction) in the evening, and I suspect that maybe it’s a habit that shouldn’t be broken. I’ve read a couple books lately that have shed so much light on human personality, and that have given me the very answers to questions I was trying to solve during my writing session that day. Specifically, The Untethered Soul. We seek the information because we need it, however I suppose it’s true that there is a point where we have plenty of ability to forge ahead with our writing. In my case, my novels. I need to be aware of when my reading is an effort to seek answers, or simply as a distraction. But distraction seeking also alerts me that there’s a problem with my novel! A problem that might be solved by reading …

  2. readerbuzz

    Social media is my nemesis. And my best friend. Hate it, love it. Must find a way to put it on a good discipline plan.

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