Information Overload

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It’s just a truck — this single vehicle that replaces all our other ones. Granted, it’s new, and we expected there would be some changes since years ago when we acquired our previous one, but things like a ‘Centre Stack‘ command module with touchscreen computer wasn’t one of them.

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And yet there it is, front and centre, almost as big as an iPad, telling us everything we need to know, and a lot we don’t. Bluetooth wireless connectivity wherever we go. Sheesh! It takes more programming than our home computers! Thankfully it came with a manual.

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The problem is, we can only read so much before our heads begin to swim with information overload. We forget which feature requires that we touch the icon for more than two seconds until a beep sounds indicating the setting has been saved, and which one will shoot past all the settings if you do more than touch it once lightly.

We’re learning that it’s best to deal with one feature at a time, on a priority need-to-know basis. We sit in the truck with the manual in hand and work through the necessary steps. At this rate, however, it might take until it’s time to trade it in again before we figure out everything.

I recall when some of my writing attempts made me feel equally uncertain. I read so many books on how to write, that when faced with a blank screen I wasn’t sure how I should proceed. Too much information had overwhelmed me and confused the process.

Now I just write. I do it while hoping that I’ve absorbed the most useful techniques enough to use them automatically, but knowing any necessary repairs will happen in stages during a later revision process. I’ll read the finished manuscript through multiple times, looking for specific shortcomings to correct each time. When I’m done, I’ve come to accept it still won’t be perfect, but it will be ready to face the scrutiny of my critique partners, who will undoubtedly offer additional advice for polishing.

I wonder if I could convince my critique group to meet in the truck for one session. They could browse the manual and offer suggestions for programming the Centre Stack display. I’d love some help in finding and setting my favourite radio stations from Sirius satellite’s choice of one hundred and twenty!

How do you deal with the ‘information overload’ syndrome?

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4 thoughts on “Information Overload

  1. Shari Green says:

    “I wonder if I could convince my critique group to meet in the truck” – haha! 😀

    I know what you mean about too much info paralyzing us when we sit down to write. So much to remember, so many do’s and don’t’s, so many helpful techniques we could employ, but ack! Think too long on all of that and my creative self freezes up. So now, having read a ton on “craft”, I take a similar approach to what you’ve said: just write, then in revisions tackle one issue at a time.

    I know a couple years ago, I’d recognized that plot/structure was my weakest area, so I made an effort to study and learn what I could. Now, I hope I’ve absorbed enough teaching that my early drafts do not need as much repair after the fact. Ideally, I hope to write well intuitively, but alas, I see many rounds of revision in my future. 😉

    • Carol says:

      I guess “analysis paralysis” isn’t all that uncommon. As for revision, I don’t think it matters how good the initial draft is, it still seems to needs lots of reworking. Reducing the amount would sure be nice, though, wouldn’t it? LOL.

  2. I’d meet you in your truck. We could go for ice-cream, then brainstorm. Or is that brain-freeze? I have a few weaknesses. These days it seems to be lack of inspiration. I’d rather vacuum. I know, I must be ill.

    • Carol says:

      We all need a change of pace sometimes, even if it’s vacuuming. And yes … ice cream. Or maybe frozen yogurt. I just came across a recipe for frozen lime margarita popsicles that sounds tasty, too. 😉

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