Internet Overwhelm

Broken by Takahiro Kimura

I’ve been struggling with technology…for weeks.  Right now I’m in major overwhelm.  I get up in the morning, boggled with where to start, and then I read a timely blog from JANE FRIEDMAN asking why.  Why are people of my generation so overwhelmed?  So here goes.

I’m 62, more techie than some my age, but still lacking in skills I need daily.  The problem is, I prefer to spend most of my time being creative (writing and art) rather than “learning the tools” to facilitate that creativity.

It’s also true with communications.  I love a good conversation.  However, having one on line can be difficult.  So many new skills and knowledge sets are required.  Unlike tools of my craft, technology keeps changing, getting more diverse, and more complicated (like viruses that are even attacking Mac’s.  OMG!).

I’ve had a blog for over a year, but after spending the weeks to design it and execute my design, I was worn out.  Regular Posts is a hurdle I’ve yet to conquer.  I returned to writing to take a break–which  adversely affects my newly acquired tech skills because when I don’t use the programs regularly, I forget how to.

To make it worse, when I do take the time away from writing to add to my knowledge base of Word Press, Facebook or Twitter, I find the “How To” manuals, blog instructions and videos incomplete, inadequate, or too complicated to understand.  In other words, it’s not well written.

I can stub my toe on a little thing, something I can’t figure out about a particular program or app, and it diverts me for hours and sometimes days, trying to find an answer–often to no avail.

The other problem is that there is just too much of everything on the internet–especially opinions.  I went to a Mac support group last night to get some help with GTD apps (I had to look it up to see that “getting things done” was exactly the help I needed) such as Evernote.

Everyone seemed to be eager to help, but in the end, I was just more confused.  They each had different recommendations, which leaves me with a “new” long list of apps to research to see if it will work for my needs.  I thought I had done that, but many of them pointed out problems and bad experiences with what I thought was a good choice.

After putting in hours researching and trying to learn the app with little to no success,  I’m back to square one.  To make it worse, I now mistrust my own judgement on “anything techie.”  And, messing with all this technology, I’m not writing.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love technology.

I wrote most of my book on the Ipad, using the Cloud to transfer it to my computer (and back and forth many times) for editing.  When it comes to research, Google is the best present I ever got!  Answers to all my silly questions with the touch of a few keys.  But can we trust the answers we get to the important questions?  I think we first must test it out for ourselves.  Again, everything takes time.  And that is the most precious commodity.


Despite the best intentions, technology created to make our lives simpler is at the same time making it more complicated. Dealing with the immense amount of new information poured into our daily lives is backing us against the wall.  How do we cope?

There is no simple answer–except maybe patience–giving it more time.  Not giving up.  And asking for help.

So, Jane, in response to your question, I give you one back.  Can you suggest an effective note-taking app for writers?

Also, is there an online community of tech help for writers (one where occasional answers can be answered for free?  And classes specifically for writer’s needs when we’re ready for more?

I know there are a million out there.  You’re the guru of giving writers information in bite (byte?) size bits so we can absorb it and integrate it into our lives.  If anyone can answer my question, you can.


8 thoughts on “Internet Overwhelm

  1. I know what you mean about technology distracting from writing. I ended up having to embrace a steep learning curve to create a computing environment where everything was intuitive and “invisible” to my writing process. It meant setting up a Linux box and customizing it to make a stable enviroment that I wouldn’t have to struggle with. But, of course, things are always changing.

    I used to be a web developer, but got out of it because keeping up with the changes in technology became a full-time job in itself.

    Finally, I know your question wasn’t directed at me, but I know lots of people who swear by Evernote or (on a Mac) Devonthink. I use Zim myself, because it works for me. Best of luck.

    • Thanks for the suggestions on apps, Dan. I’ll check them out. I guess each of us have past experience that give us an edge. Mine is in the arts. But I’m determined to learn what I need to over time to make the internet work for me.

      For my writing, I seem to manage just fine with Pages. It’s all the Industry research and web browsing that’s difficult to organize. But I’ll figure it out…eventually.

  2. Very thoughtful post.

    I remember a couple of years ago going to a seminar that one of the writers in my critique group generously offered all of us for free, on how to set up a blog. Well, he was a techie, and really smart, but started so far ahead of me that I ran from blogging in favor of easier to use social networks, like Facebook or Goodreads.

    When I can figure out what I want my on-line author persona to be, I plan to get professional help in setting up a web page or blog.

    • Shelley,
      Thanks for responding to my blog. The whole blogging thing can be daunting. I’m struggling my way through, making some progress. I’m planning a series of “Rural Musings” on a weekly basis to go with a slew of sunset pictures I’ve taken over the years in my backyard on topics like PASSION, FEAR, COMPASSION, etc. If you follow my blog, you’ll get them in your email.

      What kind of writing do you do, and how far along are you in your projects? I couldn’t tell from you Facebook page what part of the country you live in. East? Central? West?

      Let me know when you get that blog up and running.

      • We’re neighbors, sort of. I’m in Michigan. I’m currently revising the manuscript of my second book, an historical fantasy about the wife of Siddharth, the prince who became the Buddha. I had a professional editor take a look at it, and I’m using many of her suggestions. My first book–unpublished–has the same setting, many of the same characters, and is currently sitting in a figurative drawer.

        Your idea for a series of blog posts sounds great. I’ll be following!

  3. I came over from Jane’s post because this is a big issue with me, too. Great post. (You and I are in the same early-Boomer age bracket.) My dear old Windows XP computer died last week and I’m learning to use Windows 7 & Office 2010 at once–and this would be the week both my email and Blog programs decided to “update” (i.e. make themselves less user-friendly) So I feel your pain.

    Shelley might be interested to know that even with the new interface, Blogger is a snap to use. I know it’s owned by Big Bad Google, but even a cybermoron like me can set up a nice-looking blog in a couple of minutes. The important thing, of course, is deciding what to blog about and updating regularly. I teach blogging at various writers conferences, and have a book coming out in June with detailed directions for setting up a blog (co-authored with “Pay it Forward” author Catherine Ryan Hyde) The book is “HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…and Keep Your E-Sanity” You can also access the info on the blog I share with Ruth Harris. Here’s a link to the first in my series on “How to Blog for Authors.”

    I don’t know if it will be live, of course, because my knowledge of HTML is limited to about three tags. I’m not sure Jane will ever understand why this stuff is harder for us, but it is. 🙂 Thanks much for this post.

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