Writing Online: Are You Really Up to It?

Updated on March 17, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of the psycho-philosophy of living and a devoted practitioner of many techniques that enhance personal evolution.

Writing Online---Sometimes the Second Phase of Addiction to Computer
Writing Online---Sometimes the Second Phase of Addiction to Computer

When It All Becomes Just an Addiction

The other day I deleted hundred poems from my total writer's opus of 360 articles/poems written in short time of two years. I didn't do it only so that those internet thieves have less to steal. Although much more radical thoughts invaded my mind when I saw a big bunch of my stuff posted on Facebook by some poor idiot with no talent of their own.

The whole truth being told---I never considered myself to be much of a poet. That didn't change even after a reader generous with praises wrote: "Val, poetry is where you shine". As flattering as it felt at the time, it didn't say much for my main form of expression---articles about psycho-philosophy of living.

So I saved a few poems, not necessarily because they were particularly brilliant, but for the heck of it, to show off with my ability to write a mediocre poetry beside mediocre articles, that back there had an ambition to serve as a mediocre eye-opener to some mediocre folks.

That's basically where I am starting to taper down my writing activities. Besides, not that I was ever naïve to expect some lavish monetary reward from online writing, but neither did I expect one that would look like a mocking.

However, what prompted me the most to gradually quit is the hours consumed by this hobby. My topics didn't require any research since all information came straight from my head. And yet I was catching myself in some other activities obsessing in my mind over the next theme.

It was becoming an addiction, and that's why it had to go, just like my smoking, coffee drinking, beer, and sugar.

An Admiring Look Still Waiting to Happen?
An Admiring Look Still Waiting to Happen?

Praised by Wrong People?

Sitting for some hours at my laptop just wasn't much of an advertisement for the topics of my writing, in which I was clearly suggesting that people get some life---some quality time shared with those they claimed to love.

Besides, it's not healthy---for eyes, back, for circulation, and because of those harmful rays emitted from the screen. There are many other solo-hobbies which don't steal our mind from other important aspects of our life.

For, writers don't realize that their minds are in a constant state of "incubation" in which something is brewing and maturing for the next thing they will write about. Trying to avoid a writer's block, they may desperately keep looking around for an inspiration, not realizing that they are not really present in their life and with those they share life with.

Those accolades and reader's praises are further doing a number on their life, as they don't get that much of it from the people of their life. What was the last time their husband, or wife, or boss, or friend said to them: "Wow, you are brilliant!"?

Those words of recognition are like a magnet to ego, and to some of them even like a mirage in the desert---their life pretty much resembling one.


Passion of Becoming

What follows is my own sound reason for drastically slowing down my writing activity. Just like my bio, and the most of my articles would hint, my main life's passion is exploring my own hidden potential---through meditation, self-hypnosis, qigong, alpha training, some home made herbal tinctures which assist in deepening my meditations...and well, using my own mind.

I mean dehypnotizing myself from the suggestive influences of my early educators and society, from the paradigm the world lives by. There is no bigger purpose of my life than finding out what else I can be, what new models of psycho-physical functioning, and angles of looking at things I can cultivate.

Yes, it is a "solo-hobby" the expression which I used earlier, but it's enormously positively affecting my relationships with those closest to me and with the world. Our kids, now in their forties keep saying how they have never seen or heard of a marriage as harmonious as ours, and I am talking almost 53 years of it.

A part of that harmony was in my wife's acceptance of my passion for books, meditations, and qigong exercises, which were the times when I was not "present" while at home. It took a lot of "accepting" with those over thousand non-fiction books on human nature, and those countless meditations in the last 40 years.

Now, nothing to brag about---I still don't know what's in those other thousands of unread books; and I am still deepening my meditations; and haven't yet become a qigong master, or achieved the third level of self-hypnosis.

Forever just a student, never to graduate at this academy of life.

"The Best of Life Is Free"
"The Best of Life Is Free"

Money So Wasted on Unhappy Ones

And yet, in one way or another, with my English which is the second language to me, I tried to share with readers some of the wisdom of living that has worked for me.

Beside my great marriage, at this age of 72 some are giving me 10-15 years less; I haven't seen a doctor, used any prescription or over the counter medication for the last 10 years or so; I dropped my reading glasses, the only ones I had been using---and well, I could call myself quite a happy camper.

What my readers wouldn't find among my "instructions for living" in whatever form they came was "how to make more money". I always believed in that adage about the best of life being free, and have proven it with my own life.

While reading about the lives of celebrities and rich folks I often catch myself thinking: "Why does money come to those who never attained all that money can't buy?"

Nothing is wrong about having it, even a lot, but not when it's supposed to identify who we are, and be a surrogate for true joys of life, like good relationships, peace of mind, and a self-esteem based on more than a bank account.

I hope it's becoming more obvious why my writing couldn't qualify to match my other passion, and was stealing the valuable time from it.

Comfort Is Such a Relative Concept
Comfort Is Such a Relative Concept

With Minds Closed

I am not one bit inclined to explain that slowly climbing number of views by my rather simple writing style and vocabulary. Not by the classic formula of "blaming others rather than ourselves", but I simply noticed that people don't show much interest in things that are threatening to shake up their comfort zone.

That comfort zone may even be hurting us, but at least it's composed of all that's familiar---as opposed to daring to make an excursion into the unknown and risk having to face all lies we have been feeding ourselves.

Many of us categorically refuse to believe in personal change. Not only that, but so many will see it as their "integrity" of staying loyal to their belief systems which define who they are.

Decades back at the beginning of my eye-opening process, it hit me that I was just a particle of a human mass, thinking, feeling, and acting as they do. By imitating them I learned when it was "appropriate" to feel good, to be pissed, what was considered as a compliment and what was an insult.

Damn it, I thought---how much of me was really me?!

When Sky Is the Limit
When Sky Is the Limit

Challenging Human Condition

Like a man possessed I dove in the studies of hypnotism, suggestion, conditioning, and one shock after another showed me how the world was a bunch of biological robots basically operating out of an "automatic pilot".

On the other side of the chess board I saw all the garden variety of suggestive manipulators---political, religious, medical, business, and hey---even familial.

So I couldn't help noticing that bestsellers in literature and music had sad themes, as masses of entertainment consumers kept buying what was in tune with their inner world, the one of victimhood, unanswered love, passing youth, loneliness...you finish the long list for me.

Someone coined it as the "human condition", and someone else made universal excuse for losers like : "We are only humans".

Well, my life's quest has been to see what's beyond "being only humans". I read about exciting examples of human specimens achieving some incredible feats in their personal evolving. Not talking about geniuses but ordinary folks who simply had that inner drive to grow, to become and keep becoming more than they were last year.

Writing about all this stuff was gratifying to me, as I kept reminding myself and so re-feeding my mind in my pretty much strict mental diet. While trying to explain things to others, I reaffirmed them to myself, and that's probably the most rewarding part of my two years of playing an online writer.

Writing About Life Can't Replace Living It
Writing About Life Can't Replace Living It

To Be or Not to Be

To write online---or to have a life, somewhat reminds of the Shakespeare's: "To Be or Not to Be", and in a remote sense means the same. Writers, those passionate ones--- and they are the only ones that qualify to be called that way---tend to forget that creativity is best used in one's own life, so that it doesn't become something to escape from into fictional creations.

Many will protest that their life is just fine, and writing is just a dear hobby. But, again, it's one of those things like being a musician---it takes hours of rehearsing, and hours of performing in a constant effort to make the next one at least as good as the one that deserved that last applause.

Writing is actually not a hobby, it's a way of life. Hobby is fishing, collecting postal stamps, knitting, cooking---anything that starts without much mental preparation and finishes without carrying over the mood of it on the rest of our daily activities.

Is all this meant to discourage writers, or the hopeful beginners?

Not at all. But it carries a message to all of them to examine their life and how writing is in a sort of balance with the rest of their life where an emotional engagement is a must.

In this article which probably isn't the last one, but one of those more and more rare ones, I tried to use my own case as an example of when writing doesn't really fit in our life style.

Furthermore, I tried to point out that we might try to get recognition from those around us, without escaping on a stage where applauses often come out of sheer politeness and readers' good heart.

As for those few online super-achievers with a full life on the side---more power to you, just keep following your bliss!


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    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 4 months ago from Canada

      Alex---It seems like it's not easy to please online reading public with topics that we are most passionate about. Unfortunately, we might make it more rewarding if we borrowed from library a few books with practical "how-to" contents and just rephrase those advices while forgetting about originality. Libraries are full of information---about nature, travel, cooking, repairing---if that's our cup of tea to write about.

      It's writer's decision whether they want to monetize their work, or write for expressing their views and/or talents. And, in any case, it's up to us to prioritize all our free activities by giving each its proper place in our life.

      Thank you for commenting.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 4 months ago from Canada

      Venkatachari---While writing certainly means a different thing to different writers, it stays true that we individually have to assess how much it adds and how much it takes away from our life.

      Thank you for commenting.

    • profile image

      valkaras 4 months ago

      Gypsy Rose Lee---First of all, I am sorry I missed your comment of two weeks ago; and on an even deeper level---sorry about your loss of your husband.

      I can only imagine how hard it may be to suddenly have to rearrange all life and give it a new meaning, or better yet---looking for the ways to give life ANY meaning. And in all that process, it's understandable how much writing means to you, along with all new friends you got on this site.

      Your example so clearly shows how it was impossible for me to generalize in my article in a hope that I would cover every single writer. We are all so unique with our own inner world that is not squeezable into any universal molds of humanness.

      Something is telling me that you will eventually succeed writing that e-book, and you will surprise yourself in retrospect discovering how far your talent could take you. This is often the case with introverts whose nature unfolds slowly, with always something new coming out to seek its expression.

      I, for one, wholeheartedly wish you all that you are wishing for yourself.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Were it so simple to chose to write online or not. You see there are people like me whose passion is poetry and writing. I am also an introvert so the online world suits me just fine. I lost my husband in August and made the realization that the online world is a life saver for me. I am totally alone now except for my cat Sid. I must change my life entirely but for now I am so grateful for all my online friends, followers, readers and so on that give me the only pleasure I have right now in my life. If ever comes a time when I have a life offline then yes, that would be my priority with some writing on the side. My greatest goal now is to self-publish my e-book of poems and hopefully I can do that real soon. Still a bit intimidated by it but hey, what else have I got to look forward to?

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 5 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's a good decision that one needs to save some of his time on other more important activities of life instead of clinging to the machine most of his life. That's why I have also slowed down nowadays in my online activities.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 months ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      I see where you are coming from. i am not addicted to writing but for me writing about things that interest me is a way to understand them better.

      Publishing my writing forces me to understand better.

      Unluckily the things that interest me are not, as a rule, things people want to pay for. Or even likely to click ads.

      Hopefully this will change

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 5 months ago

      You just reminded me of the time I was playing a board game with my children. They love games, but when my daughter was younger, she was very sensitive. I can't remember what we were playing, bit she was losing the game and getting mad about it. She let her anger take over to the point of throwing a tantrum and making the game less fun for everyone else. So I attempted to explain to her that she should not be a sore loser even when she's being competitive. Her little mind interpreted me as calling her a loser, as in a pit down, instead of a literal person who lost a game. Well, that game ended because she ran to her room crying and I had to go have an entirely different conversation with her. We laugh about it now.

      But I am not hung up on it. Just speaking my thoughts. And yours are thought-provoking to me beyond the loser word. LOL. I would never have thought about creativity being a form of addiction before. More to contemplate.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 5 months ago from Canada

      Hi Shannon,

      It seems you got stuck a little at the word "loser" which I used in the context of spirituality, not in its everyday meaning. In that regard, those folks who spend their lives switched on their automatic pilot, unaware of the fact that their automatic nature is running their show, not their conscious selves---are losers.

      People are not losers because they have human qualities which make them imperfect and bound to make mistakes. Even those highly spiritual individuals who live consciously and awakened make mistakes.

      But losers are those whose whole life is a series of mistakes because they are just pushed around by their emotions and impulses, and then they shrug and say to themselves: "I am just being human". There is no higher, awakened function in the hierarchy of their mental forces to overlook their "humanness", and learn from mistakes, to upgrade their emotional maturity to a next level.

      As for the role that writing online plays in someone's life, well, I am an individualist of my own design and as such I hate generalizing, which always produces a backlash---so, I can't cover ALL online writers.

      Whenever I start with "People are..." I am running a risk of someone telling me "I am not...". I was talking about myself and about some variations of my case.

      And I still think that a great majority of online writers, regardless whether it's a job or a hobby allow their creativity to hijack much of their emotional involvement in other areas of life.

      I also think that all creative activity easily becomes addictive, although we may prefer a more dignifying name for it.

      Addiction is something that forces itself on us, and creative zeal, in order to have an energetic force simply must jump us with its imperative to create, and then we may be only half present in other aspects of living.

      Of course, when it's lukewarm by intensity, then it's also not very productive, and then it's not an addiction.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 5 months ago

      Hi, Val. I agree with much of what you said. Writing online, for me, was a means of supplemental income for some years. But not at sites like this one with ad share for profit. When I sell articles outright myself or write specific content requested by clients, it has potential to be a job rather than a hobby.

      I see what you mean about writing becoming an addiction. The weird thing is that I never experienced that. Writing is simply a part of me. As I got older, I found that if I lose touch with this creative part of myself I feel very off balance and less fulfilled. Although it can be a temporary escape, in a way, as an outlet for emotions and things I contemplate, it is not an obsession in the way you describe. Writer's block never concerns me unless it is a paid gig. I don't need to concern myself with that because life naturally is inspiration. It shows up in least expected ways often enough and then it doesn't require much time or effort to pen a poem. I do that when my children are asleep or in my free time. The only time it became an issue was when I was working for a company with clients that had deadlines and was first come, first get for the assignments. It did interfere with family life and I had to quit.

      Now, we talked a little about differences. . .I have to totally disagree with one thing you said. Saying we are only human is not a saying to excuse losers. Not in my opinion. It's a saying filled with a lot of truth. Because we are all only human, we all make mistakes or...what was your wording the other day?. . . "It could happen to any of us, including me." Well, that's because we are all only human, including you. Yes, there's more beyond that and personal growth is a necessity, but saying we're only human has so many implications and it is not for losers. That's my two cents on that statement, anyway.

      Quick question now. . .do you make a distinction between those who write creatively, in particular, online and those who, say, go the traditional publication route? Not necessarily of great importance, but you had me thinking about it because success at any career involves a huge level of time and commitment that should be balanced with a personal life.

      Anyway, enjoy your family time. See you around. :)