“Like so many of the key skills of the writer’s life, the solution [to being distracted by the Internet] comes down to (groan) self-discipline. I came back resolved to break my habit of checking email and the Web (even to handle essential, chore-like tasks) whenever the urge strikes. I’ve converted to the ‘no email before noon’ productivity cult and save up any web-based activity for after I’ve done the day’s allotted reading and writing.…
“Now that I’m paying more attention to the insidious impulse to ‘take a little break,’ I see that it hits whenever I’m looking at a project that requires full and deep attention. I know that these projects are both more rewarding and more interesting that what people I barely know are posting on Twitter and Facebook, but trivia can be very seductive. Like potato chips, it’s hard to resist once you’ve allowed yourself ‘just a taste.’ You have to build yourself a cabin, not of logs but of hours, and not in the woods, but during some part of every day. And then you have to lock the door.”
— Laura Miller, Salon critic who retreated to “the fabled cabin in the woods to think, read and even write a bit,” safe from the maddening presence of “the biggest distractor in my life — the Internet.”
Ah. Um. Well…I’ve been browsing the Internet a little too much recently. Actually I’ve gone the whole hog, dropping all forms of defenses – especially self-discipline – and have allowed myself to go stark raving nuts and bananas surfing, surfing, surfing:
– Tweeting like a twattering twittering twotterer
– “Chatting” and emailing as if my intake of oxygen depends upon it. Excuse me while I check my email as I need to breathe
– Facebooking like an excited child (“Yo! great to see you on Facebook! how have you been keeping the past 21 years” is perhaps not the best way to introduce yourself to an old friend, but time is of the essence as I want to check my email and then I want to tweet and then I want to chat and then I want to….pant….pant….GAAACKKK)
Well, you get my drift.
Thankfully, the wake up call came from my Alphasmart Neo yesterday as it was the first time I’ve used it in six weeks. This is why I bought the thing in the first place, to get me away from Web-induced distractedness [slaps forehead].
I respect the way my Neo brings me back to earth. It calms me. It doesn’t take long before I’m back to my usual concentrating self.
William Landay says
The web is every writer’s nightmare, it is so powerfully addictive. But the AlphaSmart is a great weapon. Good luck, Jez.