This isn’t what you’re thinking as you’re trying to put the finishing touches and a spell check on an article for a new client. It’s what the White Rabbit said at the beginning of Alice in Wonderland, just before he darted across a field and popped down a large rabbit hole, with young Alice in curious pursuit.
It’s the unusual things that Alice finds in Wonderland that always garner the most attention, but what about the fall down the rabbit hole? Lewis Carroll describes it like this: “She looked at the sides of the well, and noticed they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves: here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs.” Film versions of the classic story add even more distractions and surrealistic bric-a-brac. If you spend the majority of your day on the Internet writing web page content, you know the Internet experience can resemble Alice’s rabbit hole, the only difference being that instead of falling down, down, down, as Alice does, you go click, click, click. The distractions mount: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. And there are days when what you come across online is more surreal than a hookah-smoking caterpillar.
As one web content writer to another, I need to clear the air: the title of this post is misleading—false advertising at its finest. There are no tips or tricks of the trade to avoid falling down the Internet rabbit hole. Sure, I can tell you to allot a certain amount of time each day for checking email and browsing social media, but, come on, the possibility that you’re going to subscribe to that kind of nonsense is about as likely as running into Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum at the supermarket.
Even if time isn’t frittered away on social media sites, the Internet rabbit hole manifests in other ways. You start a writing day doing gov-linked research on tips to avoid distracted driving, only to find yourself, fifteen minutes later, reading the recap of the Dexter episode you missed the previous night, which in turn leads to an article about Ted Bundy’s body being exhumed for DNA testing, which dovetails into a blurb about Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho, who, after another click, and an annoying ad, you just found out wrote the screenplay for the new Lindsay Lohan film, The Canyons; down, down, down, click, click, click…curiouser and curiouser.
The Internet is stream of consciousness. It’s a Russian nesting doll, each link unlinking another link in an endless chain of links. Writers will always find ways to procrastinate. The web content writer, however, has a whole different level of procrastination and distraction to deal with. The only advice I can give: Don’t fight it. Don’t resist. Take the plunge down the Internet rabbit hole. As long as you’re not saying “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late” as you’re trying to meet a deadline, everything will be fine.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.