The Internet: Research Wonderland or Information Overload?
President Barack Obama gave the commencement address at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia last weekend. To read more about what the president had to say, you can check out the article at The Huffington Post or this critical analysis at Indyposted.
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”
Personally, I am not overwhelmed by the amount of information on the Internet, nor am I unable to sort the nonsense from good information. I’m smart enough to recognize material that’s suspect, and wise enough to know I can’t believe everything I hear and read. If I’m looking for facts, I check more than one resource (and I never rely on Wikipedia, although I find it’s often a great place to start). Yes, sometimes I’m surfing the Web when I should be doing something else. But I love having all this stuff at my fingertips, the bad as well as the good.
I hope he was just suggesting the students at Hampton University use their Internet time wisely and not spend all their time playing computer games.
What I’m Reading Now
I finished Galen Kindley’s Hearts of the Morning Calm. I highly recommend this novel.
My new read is To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis and Clark. This historical novel by Frances Hunter, pen name of sisters Mary Clare and Liz Clare, has won several awards and was highly recommended by Library Journal.
I’ve been a big fan of Kiefer Sutherland and 24 since the beginning, but I can remember one other season when I thought the writers had taken character Jack Bauer over the top. It started to head that way again last week, and this week’s episode left me with my hands over my ears, my eyes closed, saying, “I can’t watch this, I can’t watch this.” If you’re a fan and you have the show recorded but haven’t watched it yet, proceed with caution.
Focus on Writing, Revisions, and Submissions
I have a historical women’s fiction called Wishing Caswell Dead ready for submissions. To tell the truth, the manuscript has been ready for six months. I’m not sure what’s holding me back. I even have permission from an editor to send a partial, and still I’ve stalled. So that’s my first goal. Get the darned cover letter, synopsis, and chapters in the mail.
The second novel is Dead Wrong, a standalone suspense. I’ve finished the first draft and my critique group is still looking at chapters as my turn to submit rolls around. I’d like to have my revisions finished by the end of July.
Am I the only one who bonks at these critical moments: (1) when I’m about one-third of the way into the book and convince myself it sucks, (2) when I get past the first hurdle and finally finish a first draft, and (3) when the novel is ready for submission and I can’t bring myself to get the job done?