Helpful Writer’s Block Solution: An Internet Off Button

So after writing my big I-can’t-stand-writing-middles post yesterday, it still took me a while to actually get my bum in gear and write that 1000 words. And while I was procrastinating, it didn’t take much thinking to find out why I was having such trouble.

The internet.

It’s everywhere. It’s always on. And it’s always entertaining. (New movie trailers! New Flash games! Fascinating Wikipedia articles! Facebook! Twitter! FailBlog!) It also happens to be on the same machine I use to write–the computer.

So I could go buy a type writer (not necessarily the best decision from an editing standpoint), or I could look for an Off button somewhere. I chose to go the Off button route. Basically, I wanted something that would turn off the internet–or close to it–for a set period of time. Something that, once I flicked that switch, it wasn’t going to come back on. Because I know me. And I know how easily distracted I am. I’ll be writing, I’ll come to a part that’s a little speed bump, and instead of getting over it, I’ll check Facebook to “give myself some time to think.” The theory was that if I didn’t have that outlet to turn to, I’d sit and get over the bumps as they arose.

The tool I settled on is Cold Turkey. I chose it mainly because it’s free. You install it, then select what time-wasting sites you want to disable. (It comes with some presets, and you can add as many as you like.) Not quite the internet bomb I ideally would use, but close enough for me to use it instead of some of the paid offerings that were out there. You tell it how long you want to disable those sites, and then you click OK. Once you’ve done that, there’s no going back. Try to cheat it, and it disables the sites for a full week.

Slash and burn, baby.

I turned it on, then closed down my browser completely. No tabs. No anything.

I wrote 1,400 words in less than an hour

I’d call that a success. It worked again this morning, too. Every time I wanted to avoid writing, I had nothing to avoid it with. This is a Very Good Thing, and hopefully it’ll get me through this bump and into the ending of the novel, which will be much easier to write.

Anyway–that’s what I’ve done. What do you do to avoid distractions? Most of you probably have much greater willpower than me. I know. Sad that I have to turn to technological means to keep myself focused. Maybe I’ll get better at that over time . . .

3 thoughts on “Helpful Writer’s Block Solution: An Internet Off Button”

  1. I actually did write my first (long-trunked) novel on my mom’s old typewriter, then re-typed the whole thing onto the computer (which was great for editing). Typewriters don’t let you go back and fiddle with Chapter Three, either…so it was a good thing for me.

  2. I go out to Wi-Fi free cafes and write sometimes. Or I sometimes use Write or Die. I’ve heard MacFreedom is good too…today I went old school and wrote with pen and paper at a cafe, no computer at all!

  3. MK–I could definitely see some advantages to it, but I think I’m too chicken to try it out.

    Kimberly–If I had the cafes and the time to go to them, I’d love to do that, too. I have to squeeze writing in where I can–and that means it has to be at home. Pen and paper . . . my handwriting is atrocious. I’d write it down, then not be able to read it later. 🙂

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