If John Lennon had a BlackBerry. . . .

by Jeff Abbott on August 6, 2008

I’m going to interrupt this week’s planned series of blogs to link to an excellent article by the terrific Merlin Mann at 43Folders.com (a very good site on productivity, especially for creative types) on Making Time to Make. In this installment, the ever-insightful Merlin ponders the creative cost of our hyper-connected world and how that connection can cut into, even destroy, the creative flow. His first entry in the series, where he quotes author Neal Stephenson at length, is also worth reading.
At the last two writers conferences I’ve attended (and which are my only ones for the year) I heard a common and surprising complaint: the Internet has become too much of a time suck for writers. It’s gone from being a resource for faster research and a way to stay in touch with other writers to being a burden. Too many emails to answer, too easy a distraction when the writing is going badly, too many research-related black holes to fall into. Merlin asks “are you a writer of novels, or of emails?” And there have been days, recently, I feel more a writer of emails. An email flood often happens when a new book is out (and when you’re redoing a website). But writing is thinking, and it’s hard to think so much when you’re online.
One of my favorite writers, Laura Lippman, says she’s “divorced the Internet”. I’m not at that point yet, but aside from doing my blog, yes, I’m starting a trial separation. Helping me cut the Internet strings is Freedom, a Mac-only application that shuts off your Internet connection for a predefined amount of time so you can get actual work done.

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