Has our constant online connection broken our connection to creativity?

esc_key Some of you have noticed the “Take My Survey!” link at the top  of the page and have taken it as well (thank you!).

One of the questions I ask is:

“If you write poetry, how do you usually compose?” 


That really got me thinking about how we as poets create and edit our works.  Think about it. Just generations ago, poets used nothing but pen and paper to generate their works.

No computers.

No Internet.

Just the poet.

The solitude of the craft has become broken by Instant Messaging, e-mail notifications, and the temptation to minimize creation and maximize our web browsers.

That being said, according to current survey results, 50% of us create our poetry on computers. I am one of those. In fact, besides short phrases scribbled on napkins during quick flashes of inspiration, 99% of all my drafts are formed through a keyboard.

To those who purposely avoid the computer and opt for the holy trinity of poet, pencil and pad, I commend you for your discipline.

But, at the same time, I wonder if there are any advantages to being online during creativity. Certainly a case can be made for quick access to online dictionaries and thesauruses. What about a quick trip over to to corroborate your witty sci-fi reference to ?

What are your thoughts?

Will Brown

Will Brown is a poet, blogger, and a scanner of all things new. He also currently blogs at Help Desk Helps where he discusses tips and issues affecting the help desk professional.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterGoogle Plus


  1. Julian Conway says:

    Interesting point Will, the computer is a bit of a problem when it comes to poetry. How can we know whether or not to use it? Personally I have used it to write some of my favorite poems but usually the inspiration is from a song or experience. Staring at an empty page on Notepad is not remotely inspirational!

    By the way I really liked the last show of free poetry, nice mix of poems there.

  2. I still prefer pen/pencil and paper, although I’ve used a computer before to compose a poem. I usually write my poetry in random places, where it’s easier to have paper on me than my computer. Also, as for typos, definitions, etc., I don’t even stop to really consider those until after the poem’s done. It’s part of the basic editing process I do.

    Thanks for the question & the ‘casts as always!

  3. Thanks for the comments, Julian and Paula.

    I guess part of fighting the distraction of the computer is focusing yourself on what inspired the poem in the first place. If you really want to write that poem, then you are going to sign out of your IM client and close your browser, etc.

  4. Interesting question. I’m one of those that swing both ways. I’ve been composing at the keyboard for over a dozen years, often in online workshops and poetry forums. I’ll very often type my first draft (and revisions) directly into the submit box on a forum or at my blog. At the same time, I have more of a connection to the actual words when I use pen and paper to write, and usually will work on paper at face to face workshops. I don’t find the internet distracting when I’m writing – my kids are far more of a distraction than the random IM.

    Thanks for the wonderful podcasts and for dropping by my new spot recently! I followed you back here, and I’m very glad that I did!

Speak Your Mind