Maintaining Control

The internet is a wonderful and terrible land for a writer. On one hand, it makes it easier than ever to find and stay in contact with readers; it enables research to be done in hours instead of days, and it helps find advice with ease. But, it also serves as a dreadful time suck. You sign online for a legitimate purpose, to research what poison would have been used in an 18th century murder, and suddenly you’re reading about the French Revolution and 4 hours have passed.

When just starting out with trying to write every day, or to finish more work, it can be difficult to de-connect from the internet. I know it sounds silly, but the siren call of the internet can really be difficult to resist somedays. What if you get an e-mail? What if someone tweets you?

There are a lot of ways to deal with this. The easiest ones being 1) Go write somewhere that does not have internet or turn off your internet. 2) Write without a computer. There are a few other options as well

  1. Freedom This software will block Internet access for up to 8 hours to keep you focused if you cannot help yourself (no shame)
  2. Self Control This free app for Macs lets you choose specific sites to block for up to a full day. This is great if you get sucked into Facebook while writing, but still need to be able to do other research.
  3. Rescue TIme This free software will track your internet usage and show you exactly how much time you are spending on individual categories. This can be a real eye-opener. (Fair warning, when I had this one installed Safari tended to freeze and crash)


Those are a few suggestions to help you get use to writing without the internet, but in the end, the follow-through is up to you! Disconnect and write!


1 Comment »

  1. Jeroen Steenbeeke Said:

    I know exactly what you mean! More often than not I look up 1 little thing in Wikipedia, and three hours later I have seven tabs open on completely unrelated subjects. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen that often while writing.

    The programs you mentioned can be good tools to boost your own self control, assuming of course you don’t have extra internet-capable devices lying around.

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