Does internet really harm the productivity of a writer rather than improve it? It’s a question with which I have been struggling for more than a year. Definitely it’s a time sucker- rather a time drinker. It takes away valuable time that can be used for writing. But the real question is whether for the writer the advantages of net are more than the disadvantages.
So what are the perceived advantages of the internet for the writer?
Inspiration and resources or swimming on sand
But how much inspiration do you require? To write script for 1 hour do you need to read script articles for 3 hours? Some times search for inspiration is a ploy to procrastinate. Searching for resources is sometimes a bigger trap.
Writers especially scriptwriters have the tendency to become highly specialised swimmers who have never touched water. There is a whole lot of literature available out there. But when should one stop? When do we become knowledge-able enough to write the script? I think it should be when you have read one scriptwriting book completely. Your education need not end there. But your writing should definitely start there. After that, reading something scriptrelated in the net in the name of ‘education’ should be at least in the ratio of 1:20 in favour of writing. Because the greatest education is writing scripts. And believe me, there is no site or book or article that is going to give you the perfect key to write good screenplays.
Trap of immediate gratification
Writing a script takes around 3-6 months. That too there is no guarantee that some one relevant enough would even read your script. Naturally writing a blog or commenting on random posts is better. You get immediate feedback. Feedback, even negative feedback gives a feeling of fulfillment. A fulfillment of being paid attention to. That too without much effort. In that sense writers are delusional. They sit writing something sacrificing their Saturday nights, losing precious time to be with family, friends and jeopardising their work. All this, believing in something that could turn out to be utter crap. You never know what is going to come out.
So what keeps them going? Its because writer writes due to enjoyment in the primary process of writing. Every thing else comes later. Your script becoming a movie, it actually getting released, and then it becoming successful… All that is secondary. That’s the attitude one should be having. If you are result oriented in terms of money, power, attention you are going to stop earlier. Because believe me, if you really weigh the material benefits, comfort and longetivity of life, your current job is better.
The work of networking
Actually this is the most valid reason according to me for a script writer to use the net. Net has definitely helped me in networking. But again one has to weigh what one has attained and what one has lost. What kind of contacts do one develop through the net? And what is the use of contacts, if one of your contacts asks for scripts and you don’t have more than one or two? How can you sustain your contacts if you cant fire off 10-12 really worthwhile pitches back to back before a word hits the ground? For that you need to work. You need to polish your ideas. Again for that you need to find time. That’s where surfing can become an enemy.
Information about opportunities
This is a strictly theoretical argument for the internet. What are the kind of opportunities that internet provides? I have seen most of our scriptwriting competitions disappearing into thin air after announcement. It may not be a rule. And again the reason may be the lack of good scripts.
But how many scriptwriters in the film industry right now have come through writing competitions or through similar channels? Our film industry is not currently a place where opportunities get posted on bulletin boards. Writers in our industry comes through only one path- contacts and friendships. Even the script most probably is of second priority. I see a lot of requests for scripts and also offers of them in social networking sites. It would be interesting to follow through with them. My best guess is that even the person posting on the bulletin board loses enthusiasm after a week.
So the obvious question is why am I blogging?
I blog because I think its better than nothing in terms of networking. Writing 2 posts per week has given me remarkable amount of exposure (in terms of networking) considering the meagre amount of time I spent on this. But internet is still a devil that I am learning to harness. Because time available is not infinite. A clock is ticking somewhere. The golden hour of ambition is slowly marching on.