Clearing up the static.
Search for something once and Google will assume that you want to know EVERYTHING about that thing FOREVER AND EVER. If I have to scroll through pages and pages of Game of Thrones clickbait before I get to anything that isn’t related to Game of Thrones, that’s a bit much. Sure, I could tell Google that I’m not interested anymore, but what if I miss that one article that’s actually worth reading? I could weed out all of the publications that only post clickbaity nonsense, but that requires clicking on links, reading what’s there, and then making a judgment call. In other words, it sounds time-consuming. That’s how you end up jumping down infinite internet rabbit holes. Sure, that can be fun, but there’s stuff I need to get done sometime this century.
On Saturday, it finally drove me up the wall, and I told Google not to talk to me about Game of Thrones anymore. Google cheerfully acknowledged my request, and the results drove me straight to the liquor cabinet (or would have, if I actually had a liquor cabinet). Deprived of the opportunity to deliver miles and miles of GoT articles, Google started feeding me miles and miles of articles on writing advice. The top two?
#1: “Yes, you absolutely can and should revise/edit during your first draft!”
#2: “Never, ever edit or revise during the first draft!”
I can only assume that this is Google’s version of payback.
I gave it a few minutes to see if the universe would explode, because I’m fairly certain that if the universe ever spontaneously explodes, it will be because somebody finally exceeded the contradiction critical threshold. Apparently, we’re not quite there yet. But this does illustrate what a bad idea it is to take every last bit of writing advice to heart. If I tried to apply all of the writing advice I’ve ever read, I’m pretty sure that I would spontaneously explode. How do I simultaneously edit and not edit in the same draft? Do I have to edit in one dimension and not-edit in another?
Fun fact: I won a spelling bee with “dimension” when I was in grade school. Well, technically I won with “fulcrum” when it was down to two of us — the other girl missed it, and I got it right — but they made me spell one more word to seal the victory. Which is kind of messed up, now that I’m thinking about it.
Today, my Google feed appears to be fighting over whether you should listen to music while you write. Because, as you know, all humans are exactly the same, so we should always be doing everything one way, the right way, and… umm, no. I have a hard time tuning out tunes, so I don’t even try. If you do your best work while jamming to an 80s soundtrack, then do it! Writing is hard enough without worrying about whether you’re supposed to be writing when the second full moon falls on a Thursday during an even-numbered year…
Fun fact #2: I wasn’t even supposed to be in the spelling bee. I didn’t want to be in the spelling bee. Each classroom sent one person, and I wanted to avoid the spelling bee so hard that I threw the prelim to the guy who’d beaten me in the science fair. I think he knew it, too, because when I misspelled the word, he threw a rather hard stare in my direction. Then he claimed to be sick on the day of the spelling bee, and guess who had to fill in? He looked just fine to me the next day. He outmaneuvered me, dammit.
There’s a lot of static out there on the internet, but there’s some great advice out there, too, and there’s nothing wrong with trying something new. If it works for you, that’s great. If it doesn’t, chuck it.
Fun fact #3: I’m still a little bitter about that science fair.