You’re Such A TOOL!

article-2332051-008168AD00000578-510_634x423We all have various technologies available to us that seem to constantly interrupt and overwhelm our day.

Smart phones are BAD!

Or are they GOOD?

(Recently we discussed the scary, blood filled horrid things writers do each day HERE)

Well… yes.

I like being able to read articles on my smart phone while waiting in line at the bank or the dentist office. Or checking Facebook when I’m stuck waiting for a train to pass.

Or at long red lights.

Or on really loooooong, straight stretches of highway…

Don’t get all up in my grill. You’ve done it, too.

(I’ve seen people on the interstate with a freaking novel open on the steering wheel while they were driving, and others applying makeup while running cars off the road.)

If I'm going to read a book, I prefer old fashioned paper. Small children stare at me in wonder.
If I’m going to read a book, I prefer old fashioned paper. Small children stare at me in wonder.

I’m a bit of a techno-dinosaur, though. I’ve always been pretty happy with my OLD phone while my wife upgraded three or four times to the newest, latest, greatest model. I only get a new phone when the old one rusts up and stops doing anything. Even then, if it’ll take an incoming call, I’ll probably stay with it. I’m loyal that way. I typically upgrade after my wife borrows my phone and can’t teleport to Rigel 4 – whereupon she states: you’re getting a new phone.

In my defense, she can’t work the DVR but I can.

Meanwhile, I’ve been at Busch Gardens and had an epiphany about my story, so I immediately whipped out the smart phone and talk-to-texted myself an email with my insanely great idea. The sorcerer wants to the kill the princess! Oh, and maybe a purple robe for him. Not sure. Might be too Mickey Mouse in Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

 (Read about finding more time to write HERE)

Which I immediately Googled on said smart phone to see what color Mickey was wearing. (Red.)

Later that day, I was able to help a writer friend with a problem. She messaged me through FB chat while I was posting a cute pic of the kid. (Kids are so cute, even when they’re sweating. My daughter could be at stage four dehydration and I’d be like, damn, hold still, that’s a great shot.)

Anyway, I helped a friend via my phone while at BG. What the heck, we were standing in line for the roller coaster. There wasn’t much else to do. (Yes, interact with the fam – we were. All day. Homicides were imminent, okay?) I don’t get an alert ping on my phone when somebody messages me on Facebook; I was already on FB when I saw her message.

Big difference.

And that’s the point.

A tool is in itself neither inherently good nor evil.
A tool is in itself neither inherently good nor evil.

I rarely blame the tool, I blame the user. A screwdriver can fix a wobbly desk chair or pierce the beating heart of a robbery victim on a subway if held in the hands of a drooling madman. It’s probably not the screwdriver’s fault; it was just sitting there minding its own business…

But I do have a friend who has every app on her phone and will reply to a tweet or email or FB post seconds after receiving it, while I mostly prefer to be in front of my computer to do such things.

That works for her.

For me, I’m most productive when I limit interruptions, and I can guarantee there is NO email from my personal account that needs to be dealt with during business hours. But since I have lots of gaps in my crazy schedule, it’s nice to be able to see a 30 minute space and move other work up – or relax and read a post from a friend.

Control is important: control what you can control. Be Disciplined.

A lot of you just went running into the street, didn’t you? Mentally? You did, I know.

Discipline isn’t a bad word for us writer types, even though you believe rules stifle your creativity.

No! I'm a pantser!
No! I’m a pantser!

That’s crap.

Discipline is what allows you the time to be creative.

As a kid, did you have to eat your broccoli before you could have desert? Now you have to hold off on Snapchat until you get your daily word count in. Otherwise a month passes and your book still isn’t written. And those months add up. A year later it’s still not done.

But that shrimp on the treadmill sure was cute!

We decide where we spend our time. If we’re looking down at a smart phone, we could be missing a lot of the world, but that same phone can bring us things we’d never see otherwise. It’s a balancing act. (More on that HERE)

I’m not necessarily more prolific than other people; I’m very efficient, though.

They’re current with the Kardashians and what’s trending on Instagram.

I’m knocking out my next book.

Do what works for you. If you’re hitting your goals, keep at it. If not, consider a change.

What works for you?


Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Send it as a comment to any post or hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends, too.)

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here and check back often for interesting stuff.

8 thoughts on “You’re Such A TOOL!

  1. I’ll probably be the last person on Earth without some kind of mobile communications device. I do recognize all the good potential something like a Smartphone has, but I’ve also nearly been run over by texting and driving idiots on more than one occasion, and I get really annoyed when someone is standing like a statue in the middle of the sidewalk messing with their phone, being an obstacle in my way. But I get it. I really do, and the temptation is there. But…I also like to disconnect completely from the world for part of every day. When I leave my apartment I am completely off the grid. I find a quiet spot and write in my journal (which is a college ruled Mead notebook that I write in with a Bic 4 color pen.) When I’m home, and when I’m writing my blog, I do it on my computer, and I’ve usually got several tabs up at once. (Facebook, Google, at least 2 or 3 WordPress tabs, iTunes, etc.) So I think technology is good and bad, but I guess you already said that didn’t you? Sorry to ramble on so, but I really enjoyed this post, and it got me thinking about my own love hate relationship with technology. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m currently prepping to give a lecture on preparing for Nanowrimo. And one of the things I did was repeat the “track your time for a week” experiment to see where you really spend your time. It’s amazing the difference once you become aware. The first time I did the tracking, i discovered I was spending 90-120 minutes a day on facebook and email. Holy Cow Batman. No wonder I couldn’t write 50K in 30 days. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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