Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Policing the Internet

Someone was telling me the other day that the internet is bad. They were making reference to the fact that there are so many inappropriate sites tempting people to do bad things on it. It’s true. There is a lot of bad stuff out there. People make choices for good and bad every day. No one has to make a bad choice, and those of us who see bad things and don’t say anything also make bad choices – choices of omission.

The internet, like so many other things, is a tool that can be used for good and bad. One of its curses for those who use it is that there aren’t a lot of boundaries. Anyone can put up anything, interact with whoever they choose, and proceed to make bad choices through the internet.

Writers can spread volumes of hate, prejudice, and inappropriate messages. Thieves can take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Sex is more than a little available (often in unlawful ways) and hackers can ruin people’s programs and wreak havoc stealing identities. None of these things “temptations” have to affect what we do or see on the internet.

The internet can also be used as a tool for good. Christians can spread a message of love, hope, and salvation. Charities can raise funds for good causes, and family members can keep in touch through social networking sites. People can supplement or replace their income in legitimate ways here, and everyone has a wealth of information at their fingertips.

The internet is a tool, and it’s up to all of us to make sure it represents what we want it to, expelling the bad, brandishing the good, and overseeing the task at hand responsibly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Flexible Working Hours

The more you write, the more you’ll get noticed. If you put a lot of energy into something, you’re bound to find out that people recognize you for your talents, and sometimes even ask you to share them. But writing everyday is not easy, and turning out lots of articles, blog entries, poetry, or other snippets can be difficult sometimes.

Working from home is also challenging, with all of those little distractions, and the knowledge that it would be so easy to rest on the couch or change a load of laundry instead of hammering away on your keyboard. It’s good to get up and stretch, even walk around the block when you’re a dedicated writer. And making your own schedule is more than a little worthwhile, especially when you need to schedule medical appointments or take kids to and from school and sporting events.

The important thing to remember is that while your work schedule is flexible, it is not non-existent. You do work from home, and that does not mean that you fit in your work when everyone won’t bother you. It really means that no one can bother you while you are working. There’s a bit of a difference between the two, and if you’re a writer working from home, you know exactly what I’m saying.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Researching vs. Learning

I’ve been doing a lot of research for new articles lately. I go to the library and gather my books, wishing I could actually read one or more of them from cover to cover. Time escapes me as I hurry to collect my notes and develop my article in record speed. Sometimes I even have to think back a day or two later and really try to remember what I wrote about.

It’s the way of the world these days. Everybody is in so much of a hurry that there is little if any time to enjoy the activities we’re so busy doing. We even take shortcuts to get things done faster. I actually checked out videos for some of my research so I could work on crafts for a future garage sale while I was learning.

Then something amazing happened in the midst of all my work. I got interested, not just in the immediate task, but in the actual subject matter. I found myself intrigued by what I was learning, and I wanted to slooowww down and take my time with it. I wanted to enjoy the process and journey of my work, not just finish the final product.

When all was said and done, I didn’t actually quit the race I was in. In fact, I finished my article rather quickly. But when I was done, I chose to read one of those books I checked out, and I’m already on chapter 6. Life is in the journey, and it feels good to be interested in the process of living without having to get anything done about it.